View Full Version : Feeling guilty!

14th August 2007, 01:36 PM
Hi everyone, looking for a little reassurance. We brought Molly home 10 days ago and all has been going very well (she's now 9 weeks old). I'm currently off work and so have been able to stay at home with her. I mentioned in a previous post that I will be returning to work in a few weeks and have concerns about this. Today I had to go out for 3 hours as I had a meeting I couldn't get out of. I thought this was too long to crate her so left her in her exercise pen with water, her bed, some toys and a puppy training pad. She was not happy!!!! It seems she really doesn't like being confined to her pen - she barks and whines for ages!!! I've popped her in there now while I quickly wrote this message and she's going mad!! I'm assuming that when I leave the house she will settle down after a while, but I just feel so guilty. When I came back this morning she had had a wee and a poo on the floor (not used the pad). This is no big deal and I was half expecting that she would, but just wondering if there's any way of encouraging her to use the pad when she's in the pen. I'm starting to get very stressed out about going back to work - even tho I'll be home by 2.30pm and I've employed a dog walker to call in for an hour while I'm gone to feed and walk her. The guilt when I left her this morning for the first time was terrible as she seemed so distressed!!! I don't want to undo all the 'good work' she and I have been doing re: house training either when I start back at work. Any reassurance and advice greatle appreciated http://www.irishdogs.ie/Forum/smileys/smiley19.gif

murphy's mum
14th August 2007, 01:44 PM
As you are off at the moment are you spending every minute with her?

You could try popping her in her pen when your in the room for short periods, ignoring her when she's noisy etc. Then start leaving her alone for a couple of minutes, before popping back in.

Its upsetting to see the upset I know, but once she learns that you will always come back hopefully she wont get so upset:)

14th August 2007, 01:51 PM
I have been with her pretty much 24/7 since she came home which is obviously why she was distressed when I went out today :( I'm going to have to start getting her used to being on her own a little at a time - I really felt like I just abandoned her today. I will start putting her in pen while I'm in room - tho I always feel like such a witch when I do this! Will just have to perservere with the puppy pad and hope she catches on!

14th August 2007, 01:53 PM
Yep that's the right advice -- you need to be working her up to longer periods when she can be happily confined, and have her get used to being confined when you are still arround too, rather than suddenly put her in a situation where you leave her alone. Puppies will always complain if left alone -- it is a built in response, Mother Nature making sure a puppy doesn't get abandoned. But you need to work to train your puppy to accept being left alone (as canids do in the wild by leaving puppies alone for gradually longer periods).

There's advice on how to do this in this post in the Library section of the site:


murphy's mum
14th August 2007, 01:57 PM
We used the pads with Murphy when he was a pup, sometimes he'd get it, then other days he'd pee right beside it:sl*p: don't worry she'll get there in the end.

I still feel bad when I go out to work, I get watched as I leave with the huge eyes telling me to hurry home

14th August 2007, 02:34 PM
I know it is really difficult to leave them alone but she will have to get used to it slowly.

When my Molly first came home (as a rescue) she had major separation anxiety and would howl and scream if left alone even for a few seconds. I gradually built up the time until I could leave the room and she would stop barking quite quickly then I would go back in and praise her. This way she got praise for being quiet and quickly realised that I always came back :D. She's doing really great now and I'm sure your Molly will be the same soon.

14th August 2007, 02:54 PM
As a working mum, I feel guilty every day for leaving my little Jordi at home :( , but he is getting better and better.

He still makes a fuss whenever we leave him, he is especially bad if he can still hear us or see us outside. After a while he calms down and starts playing with his toys or falls asleep.

He is hyper when we come back home at first (that's when I really feel guilty!) We make a fuss of him and praise him for being a good boy when he calms down a little.

In the beginning he used to reck the place and have lots of accidents, but he is getting better. Lately, we can leave him almost all day on his own with almost no accidents, provided we take him out to the back garden or for a walk as soon as we come back. If we get delayed, then obviously he can't hold it any longer and may have an accident.

We have started giving him a treat right before we leave the house. He gets distracted for a few minutes, so we can sneak out without him seeing us and going mad. Seems to work! ;)

Gingers Mommy
14th August 2007, 08:28 PM
If its only for a short time, I would leave her in her crate with a few treats, so shes distracted and you can sneak out of the house. I did this with Ginger and now at 1.5 yrs old, she goes straight for her crate when the treats come out in the morning. I presume she stays in there and naps because when i get home, shes still in her crate, stretching and yawning as she just got up!!!
When she was a bit older, I put her in a pen situation, a small area though, with her crate, water and a wee wee pad. It worked out well. Gradually we moved her to 1 half of the apartment where her crate & wee wee pad normally stay, and she uses the pad when she needs to, has her crate & toys, can lay on teh couch, and has water. Shes always fine and excited to see us when we get home.
Again, i did leave her in her crate till she was up to about 6 months old when I wasnt home. I was only gone 3 hours at a time though.

14th August 2007, 08:44 PM
Sound advice already given here so not much more to add other than at only 9 weeks old she will most certainly miss her litter mates and your company when you go out, but you have to get her used to you not being there 24/7! I would advise that you maybe leave an old jumper etc that smells of you in her crate so that she feels comforted by your smell!

She will soon catch on don't worry! My litter is now 7 weeks old (today!) and are so interactive with each other, it's pretty understandable that when they go from all that companionship to having to spend a few hours on their ownsome that they will fret to begin with, believe me it doesn't last as long as it seems!!

14th August 2007, 08:50 PM
As for the puppy pads, place & praise! Mine got it in less than a week when she was brought home at 8 weeks old. You may need to surround the pad with the pen to teach her that it MUST be the pad! It's exactly the same as teaching a dog to go outside in a specific spot. It's easy enough if you pay attention to her & look for the signs.

Cathy Moon
15th August 2007, 02:37 AM
I used Kong toys, like the treat dispenser ball and the kong you can stuff for my pups. You can put her meals (measured kibble) inside the dispenser ball and it will keep her occupied, especially if she is a little hungry. You'll need to teach her how to get the food out. You could put canned dog food in the kong. These are both good things to distract her with right before you leave.

16th August 2007, 10:35 AM
I think I've decided to go with crating her when I'm out - this should be ok when I go back to work aswell as the dog walker will be calling in for an hour in the middle so she'll only be confined for 3 hours at a time. My only concern is that she'll start feeling a bit frustrated if crated during the day as she's crated all night aswell. Also, is it ok to leave her without water for those 3 hours as long as she's given good access before hand and afterwards - just I have her bed in her crate and no room really for a water bowl. Plus I'd be worried she's have an accident in her bed if she drank too much!

16th August 2007, 11:02 AM
It really is tough when you first have to leave them and I'd reckon most of us would have experienced your same feelings of guilt. You have obviously gone way out to ensure that Molly is safe & happy when you have to go to work, so try not to beat yourself up too much about it.

As everyone else has said, start now with leaving her in her x-pen for a little while & build up.

As to the poops. I think they tend to lose the plot a little when they are stressing out, so perhaps this will settle down once she is a bit more relaxed about being left.

One little tip I did hear about recently and I thought made good sense & I am currently implementing was: Don't make a big fuss when you are about to leave the house. So you put them in their pen with their toys & some bickies (if that is what they have) and then you just leave. Also when you return you should try to return calmly as though you had only been in the next room. Apparently this is something to do with separation anxiety. Seems that if you make a big fuss on leaving & returning, the dog gets to thinking that it really is a big deal, hence something to stress out about.


16th August 2007, 11:06 AM
An ex-pen might be a good idea for when she's older and toilet trained. It will give her a bit more space. I bought mine in DTI and it slots right on to the crate.

I make up a kong the night before and give it to them when I leave in the morning. I put a biscuit and some low fat cream cheese in the kong and put it into the freezer. The minute they see me putting on my coat they run in to their pen cause they know what they will be getting :razz:.

You can get water bowls that catch on to the side of the crate.

16th August 2007, 11:08 AM
I think I've decided to go with crating her when I'm out - this should be ok when I go back to work aswell as the dog walker will be calling in for an hour in the middle so she'll only be confined for 3 hours at a time.

Why not clip her x-pen to the front part of her crate and then she can have the best of both worlds.

Also, is it ok to leave her without water for those 3 hours as long as she's given good access before hand and afterwards

No I would strongly advise against this. Should something go wrong and you and/or the dog-sitter could not get back to the house (say there had been a big accident on the road or something) you would be absolutely hysterical knowing she was at home without water. Dogs can go many days without food, but water is a different matter.

16th August 2007, 11:29 AM
Think I'll go for a dish that clips to the side of the crate for her water (thanks for that!). My decison to go with crating her and not leaving her in the x-pen (which I have aswell) is to do with her housetraining. I've done a lot of research, spoke to trainers etc and my objective is to not let her have the opportunity to go to the toilet in the house when I'm not there. I've been advised that by leaving down papers/ puppy pads I'm only training her to do something that I'll later need to untrain her to do. Crating her will prevent her from having accidents in the house and encourage her to 'hold it'. Please let me know your opinions about this as I'd be interested to know what people think.

16th August 2007, 11:30 AM
I'd really suggest looking into getting a puppy pen (you can order directly from www.dogtrainingireland.ie) and place the crate inside that, with the door removed. Then your pup can move around and in and out of the crate, can use a puppy pad if you wish, access food and water (a dog MUST have access to water at all times during the day) easily, and will be able to play. IMHO it isn;t great for an active puppy to be forced into a crate for a full day, 5 days a week, even with a midday break -- they cannot play inside a crate or move around much and puppies are full of play energy.

While crate training is very important I think a solution other than leaving a dog in a crate all day long is always prefereable. I like to see a solution that confines the pup or dog safely but also allows for more movement and activity than a crate.

My dogs have the run of a room when I am out. All however are crate trained and are comfortable sleeping in a crate at night, for example, or for travel and so on. So I stress I am not talking about the issue of crate training, but the use of a crate all day. :thmbsup:

16th August 2007, 11:38 AM
Thanks Karlin, I'm a member of another 'dog' website and was advised on there to crate her so I was little confused. I already have a x-pen set up for her - how do I encourage her to use the puppy pad. Have only left one down on one occasion and she wee'd everywhere except the pad. Worried about confusing her - ie wanting her to go outside when I'm there, on the pad when I'm not. I've found dog training Ireland a great help since we brought Molly home - Tara came out to us last week for the 'puppy hour' which was so helpful and she's been great at answering all my questions. There's just so much conflicting advice out there that I'm a little baffled to be honest!!

16th August 2007, 12:21 PM
Hey Ali

I think at this early stage, the most important thing is to have Molly comfortable & happy. If she poops in the corner of her x-pen rather than on a puppy pad, it isn't such a big deal and I think is a small price to pay for her freedom of movement. I understand where the folks are coming from about having to train a dog not to use the newspaper later on, and I would agree if you were home with her. However when she must be at home alone, she needs to be able to go to the toilet somewhere. As she gets older she will be able to hang on longer, but even an adult can have a bad day or get diarrhea and then it is truly horrible if the poor things can't get out of the crate but must do it in there & then have to lay in it.

All of my dogs are crate trained & sleep in one during the night, but I feel really sorry for the dogs that are crated during the day when their owners are away. If they start to get distressed in there, someone really needs to be around to let them out right away.

I'd definitely go with the x-pen. If it is one of those ones that opens up, you can bolt it to the front of the crate, giving Molly heaps of room and the freedom to swan in & out of her crate as well. If not, then you'd put the crate inside and as Karlin mentioned you need to take the door off the crate.

16th August 2007, 12:27 PM
Thanks a million for all your responses, I know I'd feel much better knowing she had some sort of freedom while I was gone. She already loves her crate and sleeps the night in there no problem, but as you say it is far from ideal to leave her couped up in there all day aswell. The x-pen it is then :)