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Old 03-31-2014, 01:27 AM
 
13,265 posts, read 25,418,195 times
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I got an 8-year-old shepherd/hound boy from a rescue transport two weeks ago. Lovely dog, very mild-mannered, very bonded to me (and was very bonded to his former family- but the new husband just plain didn't want him around). He is successfully taking medication for a seizure disorder. He loves to sit with, sleep with me, follow me around.

WHen I have to go to work (third shift) the other dogs know it's time to go to sleep for the night, after their last out time. But Bentley gets upset. He's run out the door a couple of times, trying to come with me, but comes back into the house without a problem. In the morning, when I come home, there had been some destruction (clearing the tables) which has stopped, but there is always some poop and pee. He doesn't have accidents when I'm home. He does drink a lot of water due to his medications, but he goes out frequently, and doesn't have accidents when I'm not working.

He apparently did fine in a crate in his former house, so I bought a big crate for him. When I went to work, I could hear him yowling in dismay. He was able to get out of the crate no matter what I did (tied the openings closed with ties, etc.) so I returned the crate and take my chances with him loose. (Tried the bathroom, and he pooped and pulled down my bathrobe and shredded it).

Of course, he is thrilled when I come home in the morning. That's when they eat their main meal. I had hoped the other dogs would communicate to him that it's time to sleep and that I come home in the morning, but so far, every morning, there's poop and some pee (not the huge volume that he does outside).

Is he adjusting? Do you think he'll calm down about my going to work or will I be cleaning up poop/pee every morning after work for years?
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:19 AM
 
Location: interior Alaska
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I assume this was one of the mesh crates? I've yet to see a dog that can get out of one of those heavy-duty plastic airline-approved crates.

I'd recommend getting a sturdier crate, and spending some time on actual crate training. If the crate is a cage you stick him in when you're doing something he dislikes (going to work), of course he will view it badly. If it's a den he is comfortable in and has good associations with, it can be a comfort to him when you are not home. Putting a tricky kong or other puzzle-type treats in there may also help keep his brain occupied while you are out. Some dogs also find the chatter of tv or radio comforting.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:55 AM
 
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YES YOUR DOG WILL GET OVER IT.
Our now 13 year old dog had his problems when we got him and it did take 3 moths for him to relax.

Thanks for taking him on.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:02 AM
 
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Separation anxiety is the most difficult problem to correct in a dog. You must be consistent and creative. I would say yes, definitely get a new crate - a hard-sized crate will make him feel more secure. Feed him in it. Play crate games. Etc.

Every night, stuff a kong with mashed up banana and wet kibble or whatever he likes. Seal it with peanut butter and freeze it. Then stick it in the crate with him. He's going to freak out, but the kong will calm him down.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:14 AM
 
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Hi brightdog! -- I had a lab foster last year who bonded to me way faster than I thought he would and, consequently, developed separation anxiety. To prepare him for transport (which I ended up doing) and adoption, I used the method with him that you use with puppies when you're leaving them alone for the first time -- the minute increment system.

The way I did it with him was leaving for 1-minute, 3-minutes, 5-minutes, 7-minutes... working up to extended periods. By doing this you teach them that it's okay for them to be alone, and that you're coming back. By starting with the very short minutes, you catch a dog you already know has an anxiety issue before he/she gets in trouble. Good luck!
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Canada
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I agree with Frostnip and abbara. Get a better crate and he will get over it. Good for you for taking on a rescue.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barndog View Post
Hi brightdog! -- I had a lab foster last year who bonded to me way faster than I thought he would and, consequently, developed separation anxiety. To prepare him for transport (which I ended up doing) and adoption, I used the method with him that you use with puppies when you're leaving them alone for the first time -- the minute increment system.

The way I did it with him was leaving for 1-minute, 3-minutes, 5-minutes, 7-minutes... working up to extended periods. By doing this you teach them that it's okay for them to be alone, and that you're coming back. By starting with the very short minutes, you catch a dog you already know has an anxiety issue before he/she gets in trouble. Good luck!
Good advice. I have heard dog trainers suggest this and also not to make a fuss over your dog before you leave and when you come in.
To do so only creates anxiety.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:39 AM
 
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Block access to things he could destroy.

Desensitize him to your departure cues. This means practice picking up keys, putting on coat, whatever you normally do when leaving the house, and then just sit on the couch and hang out. You want him to get to the point of no longer having much response to the departure cues.

Short absences are very helpful. Leave the house as normal but just drive around the block and return without fanfare. Departures and arrivals should be low-key. We don't want to associate heightened emotion with your coming and going. The ideal way to get a dog over separation distress is to start with these very short absences and gradually increase time away. Long absences do impede progress but mixing them with very short ones helps. This dog has been abandoned at least once already. He has that experience in his his history so he is predicting he will be abandoned again. When you leave and just drive around the block and return, it helps convince the dog that when you leave, you likely will come right back so no need to worry.

He'll be better off if he has something to do while you're away. I know this can be tricky when there are multiple dogs in the household. Maybe if they each got a Kong stuffed with frozen peanut butter it would keep them all occupied for a while. BusterCube or puzzle games are worth looking into as well. We want him focused on something other than his separation distress. (Note if he is interested in the stuffed Kong when you are home but not when you're away, this indicates that the anxiety is pronounced.) If he is willing to enjoy the Kong or BusterCube while you're away, it is a good idea to only offer him that special item when you are leaving and put it away when you return. This way we form a specific positive association with your absence.

Film when you're away to monitor progress and also to determine how the other pets are influencing the situation.

Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap have been helpful for many dogs, however you’d have to be sure your dog is not going to pull it off and chew it up!

Leave a radio on for your dog. Classical music is best. There are even CDs specifically for calming dogs. (Through a Dog’s Ear CDs)

You may want to look into DAPs (Dog Appeasing Pheromones). Some owners have found them to be effective for calming their dogs.

Some owners find that leaving dirty laundry (worn by the family) where the dog can smell it is helpful when the dog is left alone.

Play the magnet game to reinforce the idea that calm behavior brings you back to him and anxious behavior keeps you away. Once he catches on to that concept, raise criteria and require longer and longer periods of calm in order for him to earn his reward of you returning. Here is a general idea of how to play the magnet game:

1) Dog is tethered, owner stands at a distance.
2) Calm behavior draws you to him like a magnet.
3) Hyper or anxious behavior repels you.
4) When your dog remains calm long enough for you to make it all the way to him he gets a soothing massage.
5) Reset and repeat.

No commands are given. The dog learns that his choice to behave calmly is what earns him the reward.

Avoiding eye contact may help your dog remain calm. Try this if your dog is having trouble catching on to the game. Act very casual and observe him from your peripheral vision.

Initially, reward the slightest try in the right direction. If your dog goes from straining on the tether to not straining as much, reward that with a step toward her. As he catches on to the game, gradually raise your criteria as to what qualifies as appropriate calm behavior.

You can use a variation of the magnet game if the dog is particularly bonded to one person. That person can go outside the house while a helper observes the dog inside. As soon as calm behavior is exhibited the helper alerts the owner to return. I use walkie talkies for this exercise. Again we'd gradually increase the length of time calm behavior is required in order to bring the owner back.

Overcoming separation anxiety is a process. Try to minimize stress in the dogs life in general. Never punish for destruction or accidents that happened in your absence. Increase exercise. Over time he'll realize you are always coming back and will not abandon him. How long that takes depends on the individual dog and your skill and effort at working through this issue.
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Old 03-31-2014, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
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I woild also try giving the dog some bendryl .....
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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speaking of separation anxiety. today we left the girls at home (spring break) while DH and I ran some errands and had lunch out. When we got back the girls told us Lucy shook the entire time by the door to the garage. She is 12 years old and we have had her about 8 years. She has another little dog, Toby, to keep her company and it makes me sad to think she is miserable the entire time they are left alone. And she even had two loving little girls to keep her company.

Now I have to admit we do have some suitcases out for a trip DH and the girls will be taking soon. Maybe she is anxious about that. But dogs don't always outgrow separation anxiety. She is a Bichon and they are notorious velcro dogs so I'm thinking the suitcases are making her very nervous.
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