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Leaving Shelby


Shelby suffers from separation anxiety. We're not sure if this will be true if there's another dog around, but right now, when Steven and I leave, she runs around the house barking her head off, and then mopes.

If everyone is leaving...

We've tried everything short of drugs. It will sound like the world is ending. If you give her whole access to the house, she will eventually get over your absence, and start to break some rules. For example, she escaped from her baby gate once, and we found her paw prints on the couch, paw prints on the bed, and 1 dirty sock pulled from the laundry.

When you leave, it's highly recommended that you limit Shelby's access to 1 room, with access to water and her litter box.

If someone is staying...
This is a lot easier. Shelby won't go nuts, if she can see the leaving guests out to their car and watch them drive off. I'm not sure why, but it's tried and tested, and totally works. Every morning, Steven brings Shelby down to the car to see me off to work, and she trotts back upstairs like nothing's happened. If I leave without her seeing me, she goes nuts.

If she does happen to go nuts, getting her attention and making her perform a trick or two for a small treat works really well in getting her mind off the situation.

June 3, 2006 | Permalink


Poor Shelby...She really looks like her world is coming to an end!!! Once its a pattern I'm not sure how you can change it. I was lucky with Kricket..when she was just a new baby she had to stay by herself after breakfast for 3or4 hours 'cause I had to go to work away from home everyday and She just got used to staying in her crate til I came home again..and I never make a fuss about going away..I just say to her and Teddy.."I have to go out now..go to bed and get a treat"..and away they go..and As far as I know they never make a fuss at least the neighbors don"t hear anything. At the same time I did own a male min. poodle who cried and carried on whether he was crated or not and when he was loose, he was very distructive and would get into the bathroom garbage,I guess for our scent..who knows, so I guess what ever works is what ya have to do..and maybe some dogs are just going to be upset no matter what..they must be just built that way..I'm just lucky with my two Pugs..Poor Shelby she does look really upset..It breaks your heart doesn't it !!!

Posted by: Ann Crago | Jun 3, 2006 9:09:12 AM

Our little guy Bruno used to really get upset, barking, whining etc. We have trained him so that he gets a treat when we leave. We put him in the second bedroom with a baby gate and then put a treat in his bowl. He has to wait until we say "ok" before he can start eating. The bedroom is right by the front door, so we say "ok" just as we are walking out. It works like a charm, he eats his treat and then gets in his bed till we return. Now when he senses we are getting ready to go, he gets excited cause he knows a treat is coming soon. He'll actually go in the room and wait for us to put the gate in place!

Posted by: David | Jun 3, 2006 6:35:39 PM

poor girl! i hope she gets over it soon!keep trying different things till one of them works! it's ok shelby, mommy and daddy will come home soon! that's so sad!

Posted by: dana l. | Jun 3, 2006 7:20:27 PM

Beautiful picture, W&S. It's heartbreaking. Really sums up how a lot of dogs feel when the pack leaves without them, even for a while.

Posted by: Manuel | Jun 3, 2006 11:14:25 PM

She looks sooooo sad! You could really publish a Shelby book, Winnie. Just something with pictures and captions, or stories, maybe even directly from the blog. With the proper inspiration, you have become quite the photographer. Or maybe she's just a skilled actress.

Posted by: Randon | Jun 4, 2006 1:50:54 AM

Have you ever tried putting peanut butter on (or in) a kong? We use that for our pug, Lola. She can't eat it out of the inside (no snout, tongue not quite skilled enough?), so we smear it on the top like an ice cream cone. We actually use organic soy nut butter - the vet says it's healthier. But she loves it just as much as peanut butter.

We have trained her so that now when she even sees me spearing the butter onto the kong, she RUNS and dives into her spot (either the crate or her bed, depending on where she is going). I used to say "get in your spot" and walk her over and put the kong in though...

The peanut butter keeps her busy long enough that she doesn't even realize we have left. It's the only way to keep her from being reactive or destructive. You probably have tried this, but if not, I recommend it! It has been our life-saver.

Posted by: Nicole | Jun 6, 2006 4:54:11 PM

How does the litter box work for you? What kind of litter do you use and what size litter box do you use?

I use potty pads for Emma, but I'd be curious to hear about litter box training.

Posted by: beth | Jun 12, 2006 12:00:37 PM

Oh! My Pugs Lee does the same thing! He's a five year old pug, but he cannot be left alone without the world coming to an end. He literally throws himself against the front door! We found a trick though, we put him in the bedroom with food and water and his duck pillow that he sleeps on. He usually just naps and we leave, no barking! Except when we come home, he bulldozes us over in excitement. Silly critters! Shelby is adorable :)

Posted by: Lucy | Apr 2, 2009 2:56:48 PM

Just discovered you! Love your girl Shelby! Our almost 2 pug, Lola, will scream when my boyfriend leaves as though we are skinning her alive, unles, I lift her at the backgate and she can kiss him twice on the cheek. When allowed this ritual she will whine and twirl but not scream. Pugs are truly amazing lovers of their family and never want the party to end!

Posted by: Luanne Remington | Jan 10, 2014 10:02:50 AM

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