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Thread: Puppy stressed out by deployment :(

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    #1

    Puppy stressed out by deployment :(

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    Hi folks,

    My husband just deployed with the USNS Mercy for 5 months. It is his third deployment, and my first!

    We recently got a wonderful 5-month old terrier mix from a local rescue - kind of a deployment present, but we'd been talking about getting a dog for a long time. We've only had her 3 weeks but she bonded very quickly with my husband and I am worried about the effect the upheaval of his departure is having on her. As well as him leaving, our building's dog relief park (her regular potty spot) has been closed for refurbishment. I've also hired a professional dog walker to take her out for a pee break during the day because I work 20 miles away and am gone for 10 hours - but needless to say this is another change, for a puppy who is timid of new people to begin with.

    Anyways, I'm starting to see some unwanted behaviours again that we had almost got rid of (leash biting and tugging, nipping) - plus she has had two accidents in the house over the weekend. She has previously held it for 10 hours (despite being offered a pee break) so I think it might be stress and anxiety.

    To help with her being afraid of the dog walker I'm having him come in the evening a couple of days this week to just 'hang out' in the house so she gets to know him (advice from our puppy trainer). In the meantime I'm going to drive home on my lunch hour to let her out but given the distance this isn't sustainable long-term.

    Has anyone else experienced this when their SO deployed? Any advice on how to reduce her anxiety?! I find myself worrying constantly about her and the barrage of information on the internet is very conflicting :/
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    #2
    Shortly after we got married, my husband an I adopted a puppy. That dog quickly bonded with my husband. Right after we adopted him, my husband had to leave on short notice for training for a few months. The dog did fine. I mean, he was still doing bad puppy things but I don't think it had anything to do with my husband being gone.

    Since you just got this 5 month old puppy, I have a feeling this behavior has more to do with the fact that's it's still a puppy that needs a lot of training rather than it being sad your husband just left.




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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by idratherbehiking View Post
    Shortly after we got married, my husband an I adopted a puppy. That dog quickly bonded with my husband. Right after we adopted him, my husband had to leave on short notice for training for a few months. The dog did fine. I mean, he was still doing bad puppy things but I don't think it had anything to do with my husband being gone.

    Since you just got this 5 month old puppy, I have a feeling this behavior has more to do with the fact that's it's still a puppy that needs a lot of training rather than it being sad your husband just left.
    Yes, I'd have to agree. Puppies need a lot of structure and training or they act up a lot. Plus you have only had her for a few weeks so any stress and anxiety she is having may be from having a new family, new rules, etc
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    #4
    A lot of what you're describing honestly sounds like normal puppy behavior nor separation anxiety or anything like that. Honestly with a dog that young you may want to consider a dog walker coming in 2x a day if you're gone for 10 hours until she's a little older.

    Chewing and nipping is puppy behavior that needs to be trained out when she does it just correct her or redirect her to a toy. I would also highly recommend crate training while you're at work all day if you aren't already doing that; dogs tend to get overwhelmed in large places and a crate makes them feel more secure and there for less likely or able to destroy things by chewing.

    If you start noticing separation anxiety type behaviors (constant crying/whining, trying to get out by any means etc) from what I have heard and learned all you can really do is make them feel safe and let them know you won't leave forever. With your DH that may be more difficult since he's already gone but I know with our dog DB actually would put on his coat and shoes and sit on the couch for a few minutes before leaving. And on weekends he would "practice" leaving and try to get her not to freak out. Our dog still has issues with separation anxiety but its gotten a lot better over the past year since she knows he will always come back.
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    #5
    Thanks for the advice - this actually makes me feel a little better as I am far more worried about how she's coping with deployment than I am! Regular puppy behaviour I can live with. I was just worried as she hasn't had a single accident since we got her until now. Her foster dad (who I am still in touch with) said they would leave her with her foster bro (a Doberman) up to 8 hours a day. I don't want to do that myself though until she's older.

    With the deployment I am feeling more anxious myself about things in general so maybe I'm reading too much into it Hopefully she will get used to the new walker and we will be in a good routine soon!
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    If you are anxious around her, she's going to sense that and feed on it, so that could be part of this. These sound mostly like general puppy things. Be a firm, confident companion to her. I don't buy in to the old ideas of alpha leaders for pets, but I do think they sense anxiety and that can cause them to be insecure and anxious. So being a calm, confident puppy parent to her is going to help her feel secure and comfortable with you, and like she knows what to expect.

    I'd be more concerned with how she'll react to your DH when he returns that I would be about her missing him. She's spent relatively little time with him, and at a very young age. By the time he gets back, she isn't going to know him. She is going to adjust just fine to his departure, and by the time he returns, she's going to be perfectly fine with just you, as long as you pay attention to her training and meet her needs. As she grows, she'll likely need lots and lots and lots of exercise. In general, terriers are not low-energy, though it depends greatly on the type. Keep that in mind.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    Oh she already does! We reckon she's a Jack Russell given the energy level. I'm trying to take her to the dog park at least 3 times a week. I'm a runner so I hope to be able to take her out on shorter runs once she's over a year - she has little legs, but boundless energy, and I'm not very fast...
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by thatbritishlass View Post
    Oh she already does! We reckon she's a Jack Russell given the energy level. I'm trying to take her to the dog park at least 3 times a week. I'm a runner so I hope to be able to take her out on shorter runs once she's over a year - she has little legs, but boundless energy, and I'm not very fast...
    I take my mini dachshund on 3 mile runs with me and she absolutely loves it, and she could keep going if I wanted to. That's my favorite way of getting her energy out. It does sound like just normal puppy behavior, because she only knew your SO for a short while. I got my puppy with my ex who I lived with, and when we broke up (8 months into having puppy) she definitely noticed and would cry at the door for about a week. But, she didn't do anything behavioral.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by thatbritishlass View Post
    Oh she already does! We reckon she's a Jack Russell given the energy level. I'm trying to take her to the dog park at least 3 times a week. I'm a runner so I hope to be able to take her out on shorter runs once she's over a year - she has little legs, but boundless energy, and I'm not very fast...
    some of the behavioral issues may be from not getting enough exercise too. I volunteer for an animal rescue and for a young, small dog we recommend between 1-2 hours of exercise daily. This can be longer walks, she's prob old enough for SHORT runs, and of course lots of dog park time I also highly recommend doggy day care once in a while to work on socialization and so that she is comfortable with the facility should you need to board her in the future (obviously that would mean using a doggy day care that also does boarding)
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by thatbritishlass View Post
    Oh she already does! We reckon she's a Jack Russell given the energy level. I'm trying to take her to the dog park at least 3 times a week. I'm a runner so I hope to be able to take her out on shorter runs once she's over a year - she has little legs, but boundless energy, and I'm not very fast...
    You might try more exercise, even at this young age. Longer/faster walks are a good place to start. How long does your dog walker take her out (time and distance)? Are you also taking her on walks morning, after work, and at night? How long? She's getting older, and that means she has more energy. That could help explain why these behaviors are getting worse--she has more energy to get out now than she did even a couple weeks ago.

    A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Exercise her until you can tell she's tired. I'd do a long morning walk, the mid-day dog walker outing, a shorter walk as soon as you get home, and another long walk at night. (Dog park is probably a good substitute for any of these, assuming she is they type that really runs around a lot while at the park.)

    You can also look in to getting her some puzzle toys to keep her occupied while you are gone or otherwise occupied. Are you completely opposed to crate training?
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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