Help! How To Make Puppy Stay In The Backyard Without Getting Hysterical

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by rubberslipper, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. rubberslipper Member

    Hi there,

    I have a 7-month old doberman. He is crate trained and very well behaved but still very cheeky. My husband and I are now going to start working 8am-5pm jobs and will have to leave him home alone for a long time while we're at work. He's done well when we've left him in his crate for around 8-10 hours (no separation anxiety or accidents at all) but he's growing and the crate is barely adequate for him to be moving around although he still sleeps comfortably in there.

    So we now want to leave him in the backyard so he can run free and do his business out there while we're not home instead of being cooped up in his crate.

    The problem is we think he gets some sort of separation anxiety when we leave him out there. the past few days we've been trying to leave him out in the backyard but he gets really hysterical and runs all around the house trying to look for us and when that fails, he keeps banging on the glass door and barking non stop.

    Any advice on how to go about it? More than anything we are concerned that it is scaring him when we leave him outside. If anyone has had any experience in this scenario we're all ears :)


  2. running_dog Honored Member

    I thought someone who knew a lot more than me would have replied to this by now!

    First I have to say that's an awful long time to leave a dog, especially when you obviously care a lot about him (I read your crate training messages too :)). I'm glad he's so good for you now but as your pup get older he runs the risk of going out of his mind with boredom and developing all kinds of behaviour problems :(. Maybe you could get a dog walker to break up his day or even just someone to call in to say hello to him? I visit/walk some labradors when their owners have to be out all day, I wish I could walk your doberman, they are one of my favourite breeds but my family won't let me have one :(.

    Animals don't see things the same way as us, dogs like crates, they feel safe there so it is a big change to suddenly leave him outside. I'm guessing you have a kennel or shed for him outside? And it is the right size for a grown up doberman? If you are leaving a dog outside this is an absolute necessity and will make your life a lot easier and his life a lot happier. You can make him feel safe outside in his kennel the same way as he is safe inside in his crate and that way he probably won't be scared :)

    You could even leave him in the crate inside the kennel for a just little while a few times each day until he feels that the kennel is safe like his crate, then you can start leaving him for a little longer and then remove the crate and just shut him in his kennel, leave toys for him to destroy and doggy puzzles for him to solve. When he feels the kennel is home you can think about leaving the door of the kennel open while you go out in the car for a few minutes and step it up from there. You know your dog, just don't rush him, it's a very big world to be suddenly left in a yard after his own safe little cave.

    Again I have to say that even if you get him to stay in the yard while you are both at work this is only a temporary solution. You need to think about some way of breaking up those long lonely hours. He's a lovely dog and that is all credit to you (y) so please do try to keep him that way, how he is behaving at 7 months is NOT how he will behave as an adult. I don't want to be a scaremonger but there are a thousands if not millions of problem dogs in shelters on both sides of the Atlantic that started off just being left alone too long... I think you love your dog far too much to risk that with him.

    Please do let us know how you get on... and now everyone else on the forum can tell me that what I have said wrong :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
    JoAnne likes this.
  3. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    I have to agree w/running_dog here. I know you want solutions, not criticism. Doggie door? Certainly look into some one coming over during the day. There a few dogs I 'look in on' m-f; check with senior centers unless you think he'd overwhelm them. I don't know that kids are responsible enough but seniors are. I'll keep thinking.
  4. rubberslipper Member

    Thank you running_dog and JoAnne for your replies.

    He is our first puppy and we love him and we probably are not doing everything right and that's why we try to do as much research as we can and ask people who have had more experience than us to guide us in the right direction.

    It certainly is a big change for him because I was basically home with him everyday since we got him and I only ever left him for a long time once or twice to attend a wedding/ event. And that's why we are trying to get advice to help us transition him into being outside. We can't bear the thought of him in a crate for all those hours :( so outside is the only option.

    We have bought him a dog house for the backyard but because he hasn't really spent a lot of time outside he doesn't go into it. And you're right we definitely don't want him to develop any behavior problems because A. we love him and B. he's gonna be a big dog and it won't be pretty if he has issues.

    We are now looking into getting a dog walker who can come in either once or twice a day because we walk him every morning and we plan to walk him at night when we come home from the office too. It's just a matter of choosing the right one, it's also an issue of security for us, we are not so keen for strangers to have access to the house while we're out but we'll have to do it.

    A doggie door is sadly not an option for us because he's so big (31kg at 7 months) that a person would be able to fit through it lol.

    We will take your advice into consideration and will see if we have other options. And will let you know how we go... At the moment he has dug a hole in the backyard that probably goes all the way to China :eek:
    JoAnne likes this.
  5. running_dog Honored Member

    Thanks for listening! :)

    If the dog is outside then the dog walker never needs access to the house, you can (and should) put a combination lock on your gate so access is limited just to the dog walker and no-one can let your dog out in your absence. An honest dog walker or friend checking in through the day actually increases your security.

    The hole in the backyard reminds me of some of the Dogs Trust advice on keeping dogs occupied. They suggest burying treats and toys for the dog to dig up - it sounds like your dog would love doing that! :D
  6. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Hi - I'm late chiming in, but I work all day, and my dogs are like yours will be - home alone. Mine are a bit older now (5 and 6 yrs), and have a doggie door, and judging by the looks of my bed, spend a good part of their day lounging there. :p Making sure your boy has a good walk before you leave in the morning is terrific. One thing I do is I feed mine their breakfast in a stuffed frozen kong as I walk out the door. They get up when I do, am up for a while, get their exercise (we try to do walks and/or ball before I leave), then when I leave, they get their breakfast - since it's frozen, I know they're going to have to work on it a while, so it will keep them occupied for some time -- and my bet is, by the time they're finished, they'll be ready for a nap. Occasionally I do have to put in 10-12 hour days (thankfully only once in a while) and I'll also leave them a bully stick. Of course they have their toys out, too. Does a kong and a bully stick take them all day? No. But at least I know it takes them a while, so they have things to occupy some of their time after I leave.

    A dog walker coming in is an excellent idea. I was a petsitter/dogwalker for ~8 years. I will say this - if you get a professional dog walker (not someone in the neighborhood earning extra $), they will most likely be bonded and insured (I was) and will take extreme care in your home, with your keys, etc. I had clients who's dogs I walked daily, some 2 or 3 times a week, etc, depending upon the owner's schedule. I came and went, had fun with the dogs, and always took great care to make sure the house was secure, the key was secure in my care (I had many), etc. Do be picky (obviously) about who you hire - but rest assured there are many who take their jobs very seriously, love what they do, and are as careful with your pets and homes as they are with their own (and even more so!). If he likes to play ball (or some kind of game), perhaps since you're walking him 2 times a day as it is, the dog walker could even come over mid-day and play a good game of ball with him for 1/2 hour or so. I can remember a few times I went over to walk one dog in particular (who I walked x2/wk for years), she grabbed her ball and did all but insist I play with her. A couple times I gave in, cancelled the walk, and stayed home and played ball with her. I left a note for the people and told them what I did - they always said it was ok (and laughed). She was soooo ball obsessed. :ROFLMAO: But - I left knowing she had a blast, was tired, and ready for a good nap. Maybe a play session could be an option, and it would certainly break up her day also.

    Since he's not used to being alone, do start leaving him for very short periods - just a couple minutes, and return. Give him something special when you leave (special toys and chews that he only gets when you leave), and pick them up as soon as you come home. That way, they retain their novelty, plus, he learns the routine. It's not like you just disappear. Toys and the great chew or stuffed kong come out, then you leave. You come back, and the toys and kong/chew go away. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat (with varying lengths of time). You may want to leave some great treats in his doghouse for him to find, too. Some cookies, or again, maybe a stuffed kong. And - is there a favorite bed or blanket in the doghouse? Make it someplace he'll feel really comfy when he's out there. Encourage him to go in it, because, of course, if it gets really hot, or starts to rain, you'll want him to go in to get out of any kind of extreme weather.

    Give him some kind of routine - I know with mine, they're so used to seeing those big red kongs (translation: their breakfast) come out when my keys do, it's almost like ... well, finally, you're leaving, we get breakfast, thank goodness! They know the routine, it's ho-hum now. They're so busy licking/working on their kongs, they truly barely even notice when I leave. Once he has the routine down, he won't feel so much like he's being abandoned every day. Give him something to look forward to when you leave, whether it's his breakfast, a chew, something to occupy his time - and make sure you leave in a very low-key fashion (no dramatic good-byes --not saying you do this, just some do). Just a quiet "see ya later", give him something to do, and leave quietly -- and maybe he can relax and get beyond his anxiousness when you leave.
  7. rubberslipper Member

    He's a bit better today. We played with him around his dog house and in his dog house too, it's big enough for me and my husband to fit in lol. And he hasn't been as hysterical as he was the past few days...hopefully he is slowly getting used to the idea of being outside.
    He sure would love that digging game but I don't think I want him to enjoy digging as he might never outgrow it when he thinks it's always fun haha.
    Thanks again! :D
  8. JoAnne Well-Known Member

  9. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Jackie mutts is correct, I'm a sitter for 1 and a half dogs; the half meaning they only need me in the winter and I never go anywhere in the house except from garage door to back door to let her out and I throw the ball or sticks until she walks back to the door which means she's pooped out, (figuritively and litterally).And I have them stuff half a bananna in a kong and leave it in the freezer for me when I leave. Some doggie doors require the dog to wear a collar so only they can go in and not many bandits are going to climb the fence, (because your gate is locked) and crawl into a house with a Great Dane on the other side of the doggie door.
    Here's another thought, what about getting him a friend? Jackie's got two and I had three, four if you count the cat. It doesn't have to be another big one, just get the opposite sex and owning two dogs isn't twice the work it's more like half.
    Digging: if you dump a load a playlot sand and only plant toys and treats in the sand, there's a very good chance that 's the only place he'll dig because that's the only place the treasure can be found. But the hole he dug is an excellent indication of a dog looking for something to do to pass the long boring time alone. If you live in a hot area, you could fill an emply gallon milk jus with water and freeze it. Then put it in his dog house on really hot days as a cooling device. Just watch to see if he shows any interest in eating the jug. Playing with it is fine, maybe even time consuming.
  10. lyka_01 Well-Known Member

    you try using a dog pen for your backyard. this will contain him giving him adequate space to walk around. :)
    Dog Pens - 30% Off & FREE Shipping on Dog Exercise Pens, Dog Pens - Lowest Price
  11. rubberslipper Member

    Just an update, we now leave him in the backyard during the day while we are at work. We give him his favorite snack (chicken necks) in his dog house just before we leave so now he knows to go straight into his dog house when we leave...he hasn't been too destructive in the backyard although some plants didn't survive lol. We also stuff his kongs with different treats and scatter them around the backyard to give him something to do during the day... we think he spends most of his time in his dog house because it has been raining and he's always dry when we get home. Thanks again for all your advices :D
    JoAnne and running_dog like this.
  12. Dlilly Honored Member

    Is that him in your profile picture?
  13. JoAnne Well-Known Member

  14. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    Nice job, I'm glad it worked out for everyone. Tell me more about the chicken necks. Are they raw? Obviously not dangerous for your dog or maybe? I'm not familiar with them but always looking for something to treat Ash with after a busy day of closing doors for me.
  15. rubberslipper Member

    Yup that's him but that photo was taken a few months ago...he's heaps bigger and a lot heavier now :)
  16. rubberslipper Member

    Hi JoAnne,
    Yes the chicken necks are raw (i would never feed him cooked bones) and we get them from our butcher...And we did check with the vet and he said it's okay for him to have chicken necks before we ever gave it to him...I'm not sure though if it's okay for all breeds, because I suppose if they're quite small they can choke on them if they don't chew it properly? Sheikh (my dog) can practically chew through cement so he demolishes chicken necks in no time :) So far we haven't had any problems with them...Might be worth a try for ash, something new :)
    JoAnne likes this.

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