September 15, 2011

Oh, Dear {Squared!}

I went home at lunch to make sure the house was in storm condition, as I knew we were going to get a cold front blowing through later in the day, with rain and high winds. Connor was chilling and we played in the back yard for a few minutes. When I left, I made sure all of the windows were only open about three inches.

As I drove by one of the local colleges, which has just upgraded to university status, I almost crashed the car from laughing at their new lighting scheme. They’re spending a ton of money to put in a new entrance, with stone walls, lots of mature planting, a driveway and these lamps:o dear 002 Can you see that tiny pin-head light on top of that substantial post? The scale is so wrong that it’s laughable!  I can’t imagine who put this lamp in the lighting specs.

Here’s a light from another part of the campus.o dear 001 Much more in scale… I am hoping that the lights are just place-holders until the correct light comes in.

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About 10 minutes after I arrived back at my office, my mobile phone rang with someone asking if I had a pale yellow dog… Uh, yes, I do. The woman told me that she had him. I couldn’t believe my ears! How had he gotten out? How was it possible that not even a half an hour after I’d left home, he was out and back where he’d been found last week?  I tore out of my office and raced to pick him up. His little “phone home” tag on his collar got him back to me right away.

When we got home, destruction was all around. In the window on the right, you can see the blind dangling on the right and left, and on the left window, it’s completely down.o dear 003Connor had torn the blinds off of three windows! I know that mini-blinds aren’t to everyone’s taste, but Connor doesn’t have to rip them off the windows and shred them. This makes a total of seven sets of blinds he’s trashed. o dear 004 I am alternately furious at him, scared out of my mind that he’s going to be killed, frustrated at him for trashing my house, sad that he wants to leave me so badly, and freaked out that he can outwit me. I can’t spend all day at the office wondering whether he’s going to be there when I get home.

After looking around, I realized that he’d managed to nudge open one of the windows, and push out the screen and then get onto the front porch. After that, he could go anywhere, but first he had to cross a busy street.

Lest you think I am an irresponsible mummy, I am not. Never in a million years would I have expected him to open a window and jump out. I am at my wit’s end.

40 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh Meg! Oh Dear Oh Dear...I thought he jumped out the window to chase a deer! The wind was crazy today. The blinds in our bedroom whipped back and blew down a BRONZE sculpture...heavy mother. But Connor opening the window and going mental on the blinds. Poor thing. Wonder what is so exciting outside?

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  2. I doubt that you are posting this to solicit advice, but have you thought of Doggie Daycare for a while? At least that way you would know where he was and in the long run you may save money over replacing the stuff he destroys at home.

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  3. Nelle... what's so exciting about outside is that it's not inside. I always said Connor reminds me of a line from a Jimmy Buffet song: "I wish I was somewhere other than here..."

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  4. Sanctuary... he's been super good until the last week or so. We did doggie daycare at the old house, but he's not needed it here, since my office is so close. I am going to talk to the dog-walker about doing some training.

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  5. I wondered if he just hasn't adjusted to the new house and doesn't like it when you leave.....it has to be so disconcerting Meg!

    xoxo
    Karena

    Art by Karena

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  6. Have you considered an outdoor enclosure with a shelter? He's undoubtedly bored home alone and much too clever, not to mention determined.

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  7. I'm no Cesar Milan, but I think he may be a bit disconcerted by the recent move, and hasn't yet adjusted to the fact that you're not going to leave him, (which perhaps the new surroundings are suggesting to him). How worrying. Perhaps you should call the real Dog Whisperer.

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  8. Oh poor guy, it sounds like separation anxiety. Is there anything you can do to keep him busy when you leave. I always throw Sookie a couple of dog biscuits, it seems to distract her from the fact I am leaving. I also leave the radio or television on for her. It seems to work.

    Hope you solve it soon as buying blinds is gonna get really pricey for ya!
    Di
    X

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  9. My sister has three border collies, one of whom has taught herself to work the doorknobs. Even with those child protectors on them, she lets herself out whenever she wants. Another one opens all the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen like a poltergeist. Maybe Connor is just so smart, he gets bored and starts to explore.

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  10. I agree with the other comments that maybe he is having a late moving adjustment period. Sorry to read the trouble you are having. TV on is a good idea, hope it gets better.

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  11. Have you considered crating him? With dog walking. Dogs can feel safer in crates. Your blinds will be safer too. I love his ingenuity . And I don't believe for a minute you're a bad dog owner ...and I don't think Conner wants to leave you.

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  12. I had a lab mix and they are truly creative and mine kept me on my toes. When we went to work, we had to put our lab in a small room to prevent damage. However, if he's not used to being left in a room, you might find even more damage like chewed woodwork. Dog crates work too and sometimes int the interest of protecting the dog, that's what has to be done.

    I hope you let us know what the fix is.

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  13. I'm for crates...our collie would retreat to hers to get away from the kids...who followed her inside with a book and used her for a back rest. Try opening windows from the top.

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  14. I have to disagree with the crating advice. My dog had anxiety in her later years and created the same type of destruction as Connor. If we had confined her in any way, she would have done serious injury to herself trying to get out. I wish we had insisted on drugs, but there were many other health issues going on at the time and it didn't seem right.

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  15. I have a Newfoundland and fortunately I can take her to work most days which is great. Maybe he can be a therapy dog and go with you :-)

    Just be careful about the TV- I had mine on one day and she ran right into the huge TV because there were kids/dogs playing on a commercial and she cracked the screen. I had to put a bench and ottoman in her path so she doesn't have a direct path to run into it.
    Connor sounds like a wonderful dog. You're so fortunate he was safe.

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  16. Oh my! I must put my two cents in on the side of crating. I still crate some of mine when I leave, just to be on the safe side for all concerned, and they are 5 & 6 years old. But if Connor has NEVER been crated that might be a tough sell. All dogs are different. Some don't mind the safety and security of a crate and others hurt themselves trying to get out. Also, have you tried the "THUNDER COAT" for storm terrors? I just got another email about it a couple of days ago and can share the link with you if you like. They say it works wonders.
    Whatever it takes to keep him SAFE is worth trying to my mind. Bless his heart, he is a danger to himself with these escape episodes.
    Keep us posted!

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  17. I know this may sound completely insane - what about a friend? More is more! Two is better than one! I do feel your pain - our German Shorthair was a runner. I am quite familiar with the are you ok?/I want to kill you feeling.

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  18. Meg, this is such a sad post. I was going to suggest checking if your windows open from the top, just to limit Connor's options for escape. I agree that one of those Thunder coats might be helpful, and I am on the verge of trying something called Bach's rescue remedy on my greyhound, who literally freaks out whenever we go out for a walk and he sees people, or cars, and tries to bolt. Definitely talk w your dog walker and vet, and try a few things to see what will help him. Poor Meg! poor Connor! Each of you are frantic and this has to stop. Even if he does have taste issues with the blinds.

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  19. Hahahaha! Those pinhead lights are just too funny!!! But your escape artist is of great concern.
    Is there anything special about the
    neighborhood he goes to when he escapes? I think its separation anxiety but am not qualified to suggest a fix. Talking to his trainer will probably be the best. Meantime, start buying your blinds at Wal Mart!!!!

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  20. Poor Connor's Mom. When I left Jones with my daughter when I went on a short vacation, he did the same thing. Fortunately their neighbor caught him. After I started taking him to to daycare a few hours a day/2 days a week he has been much more capable of tolerating my absence. Be well. Mary

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  21. Oh, this is a tough situation. How did he not hurt or strangle himself taking down the blinds? He must have been desperate. You definitely have a separation anxiety problem.

    Will your organization allow you to bring him to work with you?

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  22. I'll bet that Connor can sense the barometer falling and it makes him a little crazy. Many people are like this. He needs a lot of attention for a while. Get rid of the blinds. He hates them. Try bamboo roller blinds. I would also get the childproof cords. he might choke himself on the cords. Maybe you could have him go to someone else's house for doggie day care? Or try a dog therapist for a while. Poor boy. too much change. ann

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  23. I have used Companion Animal Behavior
    http://www.petbehaviorist.com with our two labs a yellow and choc not seperation issues but other issues. Companion Animal helps with all typs of issues. So glad Connor was found and is he chipped?

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  24. The lights are too funny!+scary!
    Now as far as Connor is concerned-this can not go forward. Bless his heart & yours. An uneducated guess- would be separation anxiety because of your move. He adores you + the new home,KNOW THAT!
    Try the Thunder Coat,Meg xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  25. Linda @ a design snackSeptember 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    I feel for you both. I am no dog expert and wouldn't presume to know what's going on with your boy but clearly he's very smart.

    Teenagers and dogs have little in common except an alarming capacity to engage in troublesome activities that they mistakenly view as fun or exciting, especially when bored. Having 9 nephews bears this out. The good news is, when both are "dog tired" from physical activity, the frequency and ensuing havoc is dramatically reduced.

    My good friend's yellow lab gets a little too restless if he doesn't get out several times a day for 15 minutes of chasing tennis balls...the further, faster and higher we can slam them the happier he is. You'll need a good racket.

    Hope all is better soon.

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  26. I was thinking the same thing as Linda above. Maybe he doesn't get enough exercise. Can he be part of a dog play group in which he goes to the dog park every day? That way he'll hopefully just want to sleep when he is at home. I know you are a great dog Mom and I also know that after some behavior modification classes, Connor will be able to adjust and not be so destructive to himself and his and your house! Good Luck!

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  27. I have two things that have worked for me; I leave a Kong stuffed with treats....and some "dirty clothes" like a t-shirt that I have worn on the dog bed. I swear, it works.
    And, I agree with Mrs. Blandings. Two dogs are easier than one; and so many need to be rescued! (one around the same age seems to work well)!

    Good luck!

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  28. That's my alma mater with those lights. I agree...pin heads. eek!

    Poor Connor, and poor you. I used to help a friend who did pet sitting and on German Shephard ate a set of blinds! Seriously! I would def get things to make sure all windows lock, perhaps with those cylinders you drill through the frames?

    Being a long term cat owner I defer to the dog owners on the crating. I'd really be at a loss.

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  29. This is awful that Connor has done this again. I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions for what to do, but I just hope he settles down.

    Was this during another storm?

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  30. Having dealt with two dogs who have major separation anxiety, I would recommend that you crate him ... but don't shove him into it when you leave one day ... start with 5/10/15 minutes while you are in the next room. Don't answer the immediate whines. Like with everything else with a dog, gradual introduction is the best method. Before we stopped crating our current dog (because of space issues in our previous house), we could leave him in his crate for 6 to 8 hours and he was perfectly happy. He loves his crate and it was his safe spot! It was never used as punishment and he knew that he could go in it to escape (esp. from the vacuum).

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  31. god, do NOT crate. he is way too old for that now. forget it. it will be torture. i wonder if something outside is drving him crazy - like the mailman? the fed ex man? ok. does he have a doggy door to the back yard? that might help. look into taking him to a doggie day care (if you can afford it that - they can be somewhat expensive) - but it might be best for him. i guess you can't take him to work with you? my heart is breaking for you both. but promise me you won't crate him. just be sure the windows are locked. take off the shades = he could choke. get a dog door to the back - only if it is secure. we have a dog door and its wonderful. maybe give him a valium before you leave? talk the vet about that. call caesar. tell him you are a friend of Nate's - maybe you could get on that show. he's a genius. he really is. did you ever read his first book? it's incredible. he truly is understand dogs on a level we normal people can't relate to.

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  32. what is a thunder coat? i've never heard of it. i guess i'll go google it. a few people suggested it. this really upsets me for you meg. i know you love that dog. we once had a runner beagle that ended up getting run over. my two dogs now = i can leave the door open and walk to my car, get something, and the two of them are just sitting at the front door - without walking outside - just waiting for me to come back. some dogs are runners, but mine are such couch potatoes they won't even run out when the front door is open. i thought yours was a couch potato too?

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  33. Glad your pup is ok. Sorry about the shades.
    xoxo
    SC

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  34. Is it storm anxiety? I had a dog that would literally hyperventillate during storms, and it was so sad. There's got to be something that can be done to help you help him. I know you are worried to pieces that he is going to hurt himself. Blinds can be replaced, but dogs can't, even though blinds can get expensive when you are having to replace them frequently.

    I vote for Doggie Daycare or for finding the Dog Whisperer and getting him to help.

    Best of luck in finding the right solution.

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  35. You can get an invisible fence for the interior if that might help.

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  36. I am not Barbra Woodhouse author of the book No bad Dogs but I would think that tough love is in order. Why does your dog think it is a o k to leave without you. Also when you are home is it quiet, is there music playing , are you listening to books on tape?. Does your dog bark when you are gone? Why are the blinds closed --did you think people would look in --maybe he wants to look out. Does he go crazy if there is a squirrel out there?? I know these are just soo many questions and no doubt you have asked them-- but have the answers been found. Your post is a cry for help. Do you think your Connor would be a good therapy dog to visit with shut ins?

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  37. Anon@10:03... a couple of quick answers.

    The house is almost never totally quiet. I usually have NPR or the BBC on, and I always talk to Connor. I keep the blinds down because all of the windows in the house are on the south side, and it keeps the house cooler. He could care less about squirrels and rabbits, so I am not sure if that's the issue.

    I've not heard reports of him barking while I am gone... I used to live in a row house, so someone would have told me if he barked.

    Also not sure about the shut-ins, because he can be kind of tempremental.

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  38. Now this noise issue or lack of -- is the radio playing for Conner when you are gone?? Is it quiet when you are gone thereby "amplifying" your absence?? Maybe he needs the comfort level of background noise. ???I know I have left messages on the answering machine of households with dogs and I always mention the dog's name and talk to the dog on the message isn't that fun. Perhaps f you phone home and talk to conner on the machine asking him to be a good dog and such maybe that would help him. On the shut in --we all have our limits... but it was a thought... he seems not to be cottoning the idea of being Home Alone

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  39. I was so sad to read this, but also happy to hear that your new call me tag worked. Happy that Connor is once again home safe.

    I am sure you are crazed with all of the advice, all great suggestions though. My only one is talk to the vet, my dog started doing crazy stuff like this in the last year, I am seriously thinking of medication.

    Whatever the course of action, know that all of your followers are worried for you both and just want Connor safe and you to stay sane.

    Have a great week!

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  40. Sorry abt. the pup. Hope you find a way to keep him happy while you have to be away.

    That's MY alma mater too, I'm afraid. If they'd consulted me I'd have advised otherwise, but they didn't!! LOL!! Their loss!

    Whoo-hoo!

    I'm coming back to BALTIMORE next week! CANNOT WAIT!!!

    Love the blog.

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