Buster and Belle are going to be turning 10 this winter. You would never know it. They haven't slowed down a bit. They still play rambunctiously with each other multiple times a day, they go for mile-long walks without any sign of tire or strain. Their eyes are clear and their hearing seems a-okay. Hooray for muddled mutt-DNA!
I want them to stay this way for as long as possible, obviously. So, as winter approaches -- or rather, as WINTER CONTINUES UNTIL THE END OF FREAKIN' TIME -- I'd like to keep them inside during the day when the temperature drops below 20 degrees or it is really windy. Give their joints a little break. (Belle might not like this plan, actually. She loves the snow and cold. She will lay down with her legs spread clear out and her belly in the snow. Weirdo.)
The problems are these: Belle likes to tear apart tissues in the trash and Buster eats everything in sight. (Case in point: we left them inside today and they found wheat berries, fermenting meusli, and sunflower seeds. This ought to be fun later.) They break out of the laundry room to do this.
So clearly, we have some separation anxiety issues here. (They exhibit none of this behaviour when either A. or I are home.)
They don't seem to get stressed out when they are left outside, however. The don't dig, they don't whine, they don't try to escape. They bark their fool heads off at The UPS Truck, but they do that all the time. (What is it with that big, brown truck that makes them go batshit crazy?)
We started Buster on doggie prozac a few months ago to help with his increasing fear of thunderstorms. He became even more high-strung on the drugs! Any quick movement or loud noise sent him shaking. We took him off the meds.
However, maybe, this is about routine? They know the drill - when we leave they go outside. Maybe we just need to condition them to another routine, where they stay in the house alone? If so, do you think crate training would be worth a try?
The current strategy I want to put in place is this: begin gradual and consistent desensitizing and re-conditioning about being left inside alone while very, very gradually introducing crates as an awesome, safe place to be. I don't plan on leaving them in the crates alone until well after I feel like the desensitizing and re-conditioning have settled in.
Perhaps I should put Buster on the anxiety meds again? Maybe he will get better with them since it isn't thundering right now?
Boy, I should have started this in May. Oops.
Thoughts? Advice? Help!