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Old dog acting out with new baby

Our 11 year old Australian Shepherd has been a pain in the butt lately. Our daughter was born in September and we made sure to keep the dog active and involved. He is fine around the baby and was fine while I was home, but now that I am back to work, he is getting into everything. 

He is not a penned dog and I don't really want to pen him now, I think that would be cruel. So we decided to keep him in the finished basement, far away from the kitchen and the garbage can! He has broken 2 baby gates trying to get over or through them. Destroyed our kitchen cabinets trying to get to the garbage, broken 3 different types of baby locks (that were used to keep the cabinet holding the garbage closed), and scratched the bathroom door to high holy hell (where we put the can after he destroyed the cabinet.)

So what do I do? He still gets plenty of exercise during the day, attention from us when we are home, and generally seems happy. Would a toy that takes a while to get the treat out keep him entertained long enough? Any other suggestions to keep him in my basement and occupied enough to stay away from my garbage can.

ETA - he goes after the can even when it is empty, just to check. This is all new in the last 2 months since going back to work. 

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Re: Old dog acting out with new baby

  • I'd suspect stress and anxiety.  First thing I would try is rescue remedy or a thunder shirt.
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  • I want to add that crating is not cruel. Dogs are den animals by nature. As long as you introduce it gradually and with positive associations (never use it for punishment), it will become your dog's safe space (which may help with anxiety). 
  • image RedheadBaker:
    I want to add that crating is not cruel. Dogs are den animals by nature. As long as you introduce it gradually and with positive associations (never use it for punishment), it will become your dog's safe space (which may help with anxiety). 

    Thanks. I just assumed it was cruel since he was so old. I wouldn't have any problem with it if he were young.

    I didn't think of anxiety. Thank you both. 

    photo 23_zps55098dc4.jpgphoto 5_zps844d0072.jpg Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker photo rainbows_zpsb95a8e2b.jpgphoto dairy_badge_zpsf1627fb3.jpgphoto gooddrugs_badge_zps46a70739.jpg
  • image Flamingemu:

    image RedheadBaker:
    I want to add that crating is not cruel. Dogs are den animals by nature. As long as you introduce it gradually and with positive associations (never use it for punishment), it will become your dog's safe space (which may help with anxiety). 

    Thanks. I just assumed it was cruel since he was so old. I wouldn't have any problem with it if he were young.

    I didn't think of anxiety. Thank you both. 

    Ditto the anxiety - that sounds like a strong possibility.  I do think something to keep him busy while you're gone could help - maybe a frozen, stuffed Kong or similar?  If you don't already provide mental stimulation in addition to physical exercise, I would add some to his routine - tricks, training, games, puzzle toys, etc. are all great options.

    Also, on the crate issue, as long as you introduce the crate properly (gradually, making it a safe, happy place), I don't think the age of the dog matters.  I crate trained my second dog who was 4-years-old when I adopted him (granted, that's nowhere near a senior) even though he had never been crate trained before.  He was perfectly happy in his crate and eventually earned his freedom once I knew I could trust him not to be destructive or potty in the house.  GL!

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  • Anxiety in dogs can come about when a dog is older.  Dogs like routine and when their routine changes, it takes them a while to adjust and sometimes it can cause anxiety.  Sometimes the crate can make it worse, you could always ask your vet to give you advise.  One of my friends started crating her dog after she became destructive due to extreme anxiety.  Her dog managed to get out of a steel crate and it was very dangerous.  She had to have teeth removed afterwards.  It sounds like when you are with him he gets plenty of exercise and attention, so I don't know what the next step would be.  What about setting up a camera to see how long it takes him to get bored and try to break out.
  • How much exercise IS he getting every day? What seems enough to you, might not be really enough for him. 
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