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Please tell me not to kill the dog!

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Joy posted on Thu, Mar 1 2012 8:56 AM

My son will be deploying soon, so we have his 1 year old dog. Harley is normally a very good dog, but apparently got pretty mad at my DH and I for leaving her for the whole day Tuesday when my DH had surgery. While getting my DH settled in I went to grab a quilt of the quilt rack to cover him with....and it was chewed about 5 inches long and 2 or 3 inches into the quilt. So I said a few choice words and went to get the another one. It had the same chunk taken out! After a few more choice words, I went into our room to grab another, which had about 10 inches taken from the top of the quilt!

It is clear Harley has separation anxiety, but really my quilts??? Why not a pair of shoes or a pillow or anything but my quilts????

I really need some ideas how to fix these quilts and also how to deal with Harley's separation anxiety so I don't ship her overseas with my son!!!


Mooresville, NC

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Please thank your son for his service to our country.  Thank you for the sacrifices you have made--time away from your son (and the ruined quilts!)

Rose Hall

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diane replied on Thu, Mar 1 2012 9:03 AM

Oh, you poor thing!  I'd be in tears for days.

If you post photos perhaps the experts here can offer some advice. 

No, don't kill the dog but do leave her in a confined area whenever you need to leave her alone.  Or maybe you need to look into Prozac?  Half for her and the rest for you!

 Chews Landing, NJ

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Nana replied on Thu, Mar 1 2012 9:04 AM


I would crate Harley anytime that you are gone.   I am sorry to say I don't have any suggestions for fixing your quilts.  I hope hubby's surgery wasn't anything too serious and that he heals quickly.

Vinton, Virginia

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You are going to have to train the dog to be alone and not be destructive.  Put him in the crate for 5 minutes, leave the house and come back.  Then extend the time over a period of weeks so he can be crated and not get hysterical.  Hide treats in the bedding in the cage.  Don't  use foam as a cushion as he may choose to chew and swallow it.  You can't crate him immediately for a long period of time because he will try to get out of the crate and he can be seriously injured or even die (happened to a friend of mine).  You may need to use doggy day care or have a friend stay with him until you can build up time in the crate.  Put some toys in there for him, like the red rubber Kong  toy thing with frozen peanut butter in it or the treats they sell for that purpose.  Have soft music playing.  I'm sure he misses your son and this is a big adjustment for all of you.  A vet can help you with suggestions, too.  Good luck and best wishes

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Diana replied on Thu, Mar 1 2012 9:28 AM

OK, Nana,    Here's my idea.  See what you think.  Trim back to where there is no damage and leave enough for seams.  Take out some quilting if needed.  Remake if you  can just the part on the front that was damaged.   Fold back the good parts. New piece on backing, zig-zag new batting into the area. Even if you have to undo a section of the binding and add new and redo it after the whole body is put back together.  Work one section or piece at a time.  Take it slow and easy and don't get frustrated.

  Please don't kill the dog.  You'll just have to close doors to rooms where the quilts are kept or put all the quilts in one room with door closed when you have to leave him alone.  Or that Prozac sounds like a good idea...or maybe call Cesaer Milan for help....he's the dog whisperer.

Diana in East Tn.  

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Poor puppy, poor Joy.  I'm guessing you are going to keep the dog?  you need to bond with him so he feels he is at home. My daughters dog doesn't even move (she may twitch an ear) when I come to the house when she isn't home.  she used to be quite "exitable" when I showed up even when Sandy was home, not so much now. The crate is a good idea.  Gives the dog a space of his own as long as you don't use it as the "Bad Dog" room.  My little dog used to dump out all the garbages when he didn't get his walk in the morning.  If you just put him out the back door to "go"  and didn't give him his walk, you knew as soon as you got home.  He would come to greet you all excited and you could almost see the thought cross him furry little mind " Oh crap, they'll see the mess, I need to hide under the sideboard so I can bit anyone who wants to smack me"

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Maggie replied on Thu, Mar 1 2012 10:03 AM

Sorry Joy.  I had a Golden Retriever who chewed everything in sight when I was gone.   Started leaving 3 or 4 kongs with peanut butter and other treats inside.   That seemed to help get him over the initial anxiety.  Also left the radio on a talk station.   I did learn to keep everything up -- he liked towels, shoes, clothes, sofa cushions, toys, coats, hats, even chewed the rungs on the bottoms of my dining room chairs.  He eventually outgrew it.  

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Please remember also that at one year, Harley is still a puppy and will be for a while longer.  Her world is also a but upside down right now, but she is young enough to adapt and should do so fairly quickly.  I don't know how big she is, but we use baby gates and keep ours in the kitchen when gone (we have smaller dogs that can't go over).  Get the good, wood frame, metal lattice, tension ones.  Plastic ones can be chewed up too.  I would also think about making her a quilt of her own as she clearly is very courious about them.  It's also a good way to practice any new techniques without committing to a loved project.  A short walk with her to the corner and back, before you leave the house should also help.  An obedience class is also a good way help you bond with her and give her confidence not only in herself and her abilty to cope, but trust in you that you will be back when you leave. 

Best of luck.

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Thea replied on Thu, Mar 1 2012 11:09 AM

Joy - my deep felt sympathy on the destruction of your quilts - If you could show me pictures, I might be able to give you some suggestions on how to fix them.  I know from experience how destructive our pets can be - it is sad but hopefully they can be fixed and a story about Harley and his anxiety will be told for years when the quilts are shown.  He does need training that it is okay that you will be back.  

My 1st white shepherd ate my DH's sunglasses and a camera one time - mine were sitting right next to his and Babe didn't touch mine - it was an expensive lesson to learn that the dog was upset with DH for taking me away as she before had always gone with me.  

I am truly sorry about your quilts but maybe we can fix them so that no tear will show - I made a quilt for my brother last year and as I was quilting it  - I shook it and it landed on a candle that I was burning - burnt a hole in the backing - I had to piece together a piece to repair it - you didn't even see the spot unless I told you about it - so all quilts can be fixed and somehow we will help you to do this.  

I send you some warm quilty hugz - for both you and Harley - I am sure Harley is very sorry!


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Joy I do agreee with making her  a spot that is hers , Wehn myine was young we had a very large cage we set up with a blanket  her favorite toys ,etc, we never colsed the door but she knew it was her room, As she grew older she no longer needed it so we fnally took it down, Angel use to go everywhere with us ,but now she has gotten older and it is very difficult for her to get in and out of the car. So I don't take her as often. Her world as been changed and she is gonna need love and understanding no matter how badly she messed upo the quilts .You might even use one of them as her security blankey since she seems to like them. Good Luck  I hope anthing you decide to do helps . I f you have something there of your  sons keep it with her the scent of hom should help . Barbara



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Oh boy, what heartbreak.  My solution would be to wait until my brain had gone through all the stages of grief and got to acceptance. That's when you've accepted that the quilts are goners. Once you've realized that you probably can't make them any worse, ideas will come. Then find the bright side. You now have room for more quilts. And yes, I too would love to see photos of your "new projects"

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Petsmart has obedience training classes. Perhaps you should look into that.  I you crate him when you are gone for  long time, he will not use the bathroom in his crate and this could cause other problems. Check out obedience training. Does the dog also react with fear during storms?



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Linda replied on Thu, Mar 1 2012 1:02 PM

Joy, Do not kill the dog!! He is just expressing his emotions. His world is upside down. I know he has destroyed your quilts. I have managed to repair quilts that my son's and brother's dogs have damaged badly. It can be done. Some of the holes got heart appliques. Some of the damage just had to be replaced. It happens, it can be repaired or remade into something else. Right now the dog needs comfort and understanding. With care and some training, he will adjust to his new home and you will learn to love him as much as your son does. I have dealt with dogs that have anxiety. It takes time and patience, but it can be overcome.



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Do not kill the dog!  I've fostered/adopted 5 greyhounds (5yrs or older when we adopted them) and if an older dog can learn acceptable behavior then a younger dog can too. 

Try not to think that Harley chewed your quilts as a payback to you.  He's adapting to a new environment.  He may have gotten bored especially if he's not been left for a long time by himself in your home.  He found the quilts and did what a pup does naturally - chew. 

Crating Harley will help him have a place where he feels safe as long as the crate is not used for punishment.  Crating also protects him from getting into something that could harm him.  As others have said, try crating for a short time and build up to longer times. I would not put a quilt in his crate as he'll think the quilt is something he can have...he won't know the difference between a 'good' quilt and one he's not allowed to touch/chew.  If the crate door is open while your home, then you may see him go in there on his own - he'll feel safe if his toys, blankets, etc are there.

PRAISE him, PRAISE him, PRAISE him when he does good behavior!  He does want to please you but does not know what behavior is expected of him.



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