Anyone have any ideas about my dog?

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I have an almost 7-month-old male black lab that I’ve had since he was almost 2 months old. He’s not my first lab, nor my first puppy, but I’m having problems with him that I’ve never had with another dog. When I leave the house he gets into my things, only mine, no one elses. Yesterday, for example he ate my cell phone, ripped up my magazines and some books (actually took them off the bookshelf), and dragged my dirty clothes all over the house and peed on them. In the past he’s eaten my glasses and other things. If I’m home and not paying attention to him, or sleeping, he’ll drag dishes out of the sink and chew things like spatulas and plastic items. At night, he will pull carpeting up, chew woodwork, pull off baseboards, and gnaw on furniture. He has toys and bones that I rotate on a regular basis, so he doesn’t get bored, but he’d much rather eat my stuff. Outside, if I’m more than 10 feet from him, or he can’t see me, he will bark and howl non-stop.

Potty-training is not going well either. I can be outside with him for 2 hours and he’ll come in and pee and poop on the floor. He pees everywhere and poops at night. I let him out about 11 and at 6 again when I get up. I’ve tried kenneling him, and he gets the runs and it’s just a mess. He will not ask to go out, and when out for a walk will go potty, but will go just as much in the house.

I’ve had him to the vet to rule out any physical problems, and he got a clean bill of health. He goes back in a couple of weeks to be neutered. I’m hoping that will make a difference, but I just don’t know. Needless to say, this is causing me A LOT of stress. Wondering if anyone had behavioral problems like this and what they did…if obedience classes will help. I honestly don’t know how to deal with this, as I’ve never had a dog behave this way before.

I feel like such an inadequate dog owner…what am I doing wrong with this particular dog?
Just to add, yesterday’s fiasco was done in the space of about 40 minutes, so he must start right when I leave the house. And he seems to know what he’s doing is wrong, because he hides under the bed before I even find any mess!
I do walk him once or twice daily, about a mile each time, and I take him swimming almost everyday for a half hour or so…does he need more exercise than that?!
Separation anxiety could be it. I noticed a couple of days ago, when I ran back to the porch to grab something before I left, that he was howling.

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    9 Responses to “Anyone have any ideas about my dog?”

    1. Wascally Wabbit says:

      From what you have written I would definitely say your problem is separation anxiety. I recommend crate training to solve your issues.

      Check out a book from your local library on crate training. When you start this behavior training be sure to leave an item of yours in the crate with your dog that has your scent on it, like a an old t-shirt.

      Good luck

    2. Abigail says:

      will when u leave ur house put him in a cage comfortable for ur puppy’s size and at night also put him in the cage if he howls just give him a busy bone they keep all dogs busy. and the potty training take him out every 2 hours it helps and if he wont go the bathroom in the yard just take a quick walk down the street and back cause he might want a new smell and the reason why he is going all around the house is because he new to all these smells and take him on walks around the black everyday maybe once a week take him to a local park labs have lots of energy so u have to let them roam once awhile and u are probably wondering how i know this will i did these steps with my dog

    3. tj says:

      Crate him when you are gone. I have a dog that is a trouble maker (lol) when I ‘m gone and sometimes when I’m home a while as he is sneaky, but I put him in the crate now to tell him I’m the one in charge. This way he can’t get into anything there and there is no problem later.

    4. *~amanda~* says:

      well i think that maybe your dog could be just severely bored! it could be lack of stimulation for this breed of dog. they need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and be a good dog the potty training method you are using now may just be not reaching the dog so try something new. watch him closely and if you see him sniffing the ground or about to use the bathroom pick him up and take him outside set him down in the grass and say go potty. when he does use the bathroom praise him and pet him and tell him what a good dog he is! 🙂 when he uses the bathroom on walks do the same thing he will eventually get the point that you are happy when he uses the bathroom outside and start going outside. also to help keep him stimulated look up some tricks you could teach him on google and try that and see if it helps. i hope i helped out! and good luck!! 🙂

    5. daa says:

      First off, this is all very normal puppy behavior. A 7 month old puppy is too young to be left loose in the house when unsupervised. Your puppy doesn’t know he’s done something wrong – he’s simply learned that when you get home, you get mad at him so he hides to avoid you. This makes him *more* likely to display stress behavior, such as chewing, when you leave him alone.

      You must either be actively supervising him to prevent chewing and potty accidents, or he must be confined to a safe place – a crate or a puppy-proofed room/area – at all times. Once he’s older, house-trained, and past the chewing stage, you can begin to give him more freedom.

      It’s likely that your puppy also isn’t getting enough exercise and/or mental stimulation. A beginning obedience class will certainly help, as will more exercise each day.

      Good luck!

    6. Lis says:

      Your dog is not liking it when you leave and leaving him behind. You may try crate training him to stop the destruction. Give him lots of toys he can chew on., Be firm and consistent with your training, to show you are the alpha.

    7. just peachy says:

      It sounds like separation anxiety. You might want to keep him in his crate when you are not home or have someone take him for walks while you are gone.

    8. Aphrodite says:

      My puppy used to do the same thing.
      It turned out that it was just lack of exercise for his particular breed and not enough stimulation from me. I took him to doggy day care, took him on longer more frequent walks and gave him all my attention when I got home from work.

      He is 10 months old now, and about 3 months ago, we could actually leave him to roam the house now and he doesn’t even touch our stuff. He wont’ even touch a McDonald’s bag on the coffee table! lol

      So try more exercise and more play time!

    9. Erika says:

      It does sound like separation anxiety. There are a few ways to deal with it, one would be to confine him to one room – not a kennel initially. Like baby gate him in a kitchen. That will lessen the destruction. Doggie proof it too.

      Make your leaving low key – almost like he doesn’t know that you’re leaving. The cue of just picking up your keys can get him stirred up.

      Also consider trying to leave him for short periods of time with a cue word that you will use to let him know you will be coming back.

      Here is a good tip sheet to help.

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