We have recently given a home to a lovely little Tibetan Terrier. She is seven years old and an ex-breeding bitch, who has spent her entire life on a puppy farm. The poor girlie was so traumatised and timid when she arrived, but now after just five weeks she has settled really well and loves all members of the family. She has a particular affection for me as I spend the most time with her and, unfortunately, she cries when I leave the house even if she has another family member with her. This has started to improve slowly and I have faith that, in time, she will accept whoever is with her. However, the real problem arises when she is left alone in the house at anytime, she becomes totally stressed, pacing back and forth. She howls and cries, scratches at the door and rips at the carpet. The damage is not a huge issue, but the fact that she is so stressed is my real worry; her little heart races; she shakes and pants. I am trying to build up by popping out for short spells and making a huge fuss when I come back (if she has been quiet, which she will do for very short spells sometimes). The maximum that I would ever leave her is two to three hours and only occasionally. Incidentally, I can leave her strapped in my car and she is very happy.
Therefore I need some ideas please as to how best to deal with leaving her alone in the house.
She also has a habit of chewing and licking her paws; I read that the breed can be fussy about dirty feet, so I wipe them off when we come indoors. But the biting at her paws does worry me as this may have been a way of stimulating herself when she was stuck in a pen all day. She has no idea how to play and is not interested in dog toys; she does, however, love chews, but only if she has company and is happy.
I would really appreciate any tips on how to make life better for this darling girl, she has made such great progress with housetraining and walking on her lead, so we know she is a clever girl.
Caroline Harris, by email