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Unread 06-10-2009, 01:50 AM
 
357 posts, read 847,986 times
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Unhappy Separation Anxiety - Has anyone beat it?

We love our little baby so much!! But his separation anxiety has got us feeling down!!!

We need some encouragement!

Basically we can't leave Radar by himself! He goes insane! Paces back and forth.. Becomes destructive.. Defecates, then steps in it.. Next thing you know poop is everywhere!! Worst thing of it all is his constant barking! He barks from the second we leave to the second we come back!! A few of our neighbors left us some nasty letters on our door! His personality changes DRASTICALLY! it's crazy!

We haven't left him alone for a full month now! We have him going to doggy day care at the local petsmart.. $21 a day is starting to kill us!! I'm wondering when we should test him again.. We've tried little things like leaving the house for a few seconds, but we hear him going nuts!

I'm just losing my mind over this... and my savings is slipping away..



What do I do??
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Unread 06-10-2009, 03:04 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
1,464 posts, read 2,557,172 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bench Warmer View Post
We love our little baby so much!! But his separation anxiety has got us feeling down!!!We need some encouragement!Basically we can't leave Radar by himself! He goes insane! Paces back and forth.. Becomes destructive.. Defecates, then steps in it.. Next thing you know poop is everywhere!! Worst thing of it all is his constant barking! He barks from the second we leave to the second we come back!! A few of our neighbors left us some nasty letters on our door! His personality changes DRASTICALLY! it's crazy!We haven't left him alone for a full month now! We have him going to doggy day care at the local petsmart.. $21 a day is starting to kill us!! I'm wondering when we should test him again.. We've tried little things like leaving the house for a few seconds, but we hear him going nuts! I'm just losing my mind over this... and my savings is slipping away..
What do I do??
We have the same issue with our Pit Bull and she can make a mess! I am home with her all day for the most part but there are times when I have to leave her in our Master Bedroom which has a living room suite type thing attached, master bath...nice big area with big windows. If I forget and leave the bathroom door open..she gets the toilet tissue and anything else that might be in the wastebasket. I tossed an old head for an electric toothbrush and she fished that out and chewed it to bits. Because her jaws are so strong, she can trash just about anything she grabs. She has chewed books, socks, toilet tissue, pens, pencils..ugh.

When we first got her and she went into heat, I bought her these panties with pads made just for dogs. Well, I put them on her and when I came back in the room to check on her, she had them off and half chewed. So, I put what was left of them on her with a pad and forgot and left the box of pads (just like people pads) on the floor next to the dresser. Well, back in I go to check on her...she has the panties in pieces and there are pads stuck all over the wall, dresser, bed, rug..what a mess.

What I do when I have to leave her now is shut the bathroom door and give her a couple of treats and tell her, "I'll be right back"....for the most part it works. I have talked with trainers and they say to go in and out of the room several times and assure the dog that you will be back...kind of love them up while you are in there and then leave again. Your dog sounds like a tough case, but I do think you can get him to stop being so destructive...just takes a lot of time and patience. Have you tried professional training? You might end up saving money by having the dog trained instead of sending him to daycare. Good Luck.
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Unread 06-10-2009, 05:30 AM
 
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It CAN be done, but it takes a LOT of time and work and patience.

Take a look at Pat Miller's 'The Power of Positive Dog Training.' I'm pretty sure that there's a chapter on separation anxiety and how to work with it.

Best of luck.
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Unread 06-10-2009, 07:08 AM
 
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My dog has never suffered from separation anxiety b/c I have always (well, 90 percent of the time) taken her with me wherever I go. Unfortunately, I will not elaborate b/c I don't want to deal with the contingency who insist that a dog can't go with you in a car, etc. But I have found that most people whose dogs suffer from separation anxiety leave them alone in the house every time they go out. I take my dog with me (it's more difficult in the summertime), and when I do have to leave her at home alone, she's fine.

Another thing that you can try is to get a companion animal for your dog (I got a cat for my dog.) Supposedly, it eases separation anxiety as animals have a pack mentality and are less likely to think that you are abandoning them if another member of the pack stays behind with them. Also, you can leave an article of clothing or other item that has your scent on it with the dog, as this can also comfort them.
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Unread 06-10-2009, 08:02 AM
 
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Not sure how old your dog is but would start by taking several short trips out each day - I would just totally ignore the dog when you leave and come home - by reassuring them, petting them, loving them, you could be reinforcing that they have a reason to be nervous - just a quick goodbye (once they're settled in their crate or another room) should suffice - before I'd do this, I'd try to take them for a walk etc and would get a couple of kongs that you can freeze w/ low-fat p.butter or yogurt, something to keep him busy when you go out - leave the tv on or a radio - and like I said give a quick goodbye and when you come home, would ignore him too for 10 minutes - eventually he'll take your comings and goings as matter-of-fact and just part of his routine. You could also get one of those plug-in pheromones (sp) from PetCo or PetsMart that are supp. to help or give Rescue Remedy - it may be trial and error, Rome wasnt built in a day - consistency should help. Im sure it can be frustrating, it sounds like he just needs some confidence being on his own a bit - best of luck.
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Unread 06-10-2009, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal
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Surprisingly enough, Artie does not suffer from separation anxiety (I do ) but a friend of mine's dog truly did. He said that Clomipramine worked beautifully.

PS. While searching for the name of the medication, I came across this website which is really interesting reading: Separation Anxiety

Good luck!
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Unread 06-10-2009, 09:00 AM
 
Location: ROTTWEILER & LAB LAND (HEAVEN)
2,395 posts, read 2,708,872 times
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Talking Save your money...

BENCH WARMER...

Do you have a kennel/cage ?
I don't know what size dogs were dealing with, but this is what I do...have done with 100% behaved dog.

I've only had to do this a few times inover 25 years, but a few of our Rotties had the same problem as yours. They all beng rescues...we never know what has been in their past, but obviously not much of it very good.

Our vet at the time... told us to kennel the dog when we went out. Safe for your home, but more importantly safe for the dog.

You have to start with baby steps. Putting the dog in cage/kennel only for 5 minutes at a time...do this several times a day when starting out. Start on your day off or have nothing going on that day. Maybe do it 8-10 times a day...but just for 5 minutes at a time. If the dog does well go to 10 minutes at a time. At the beginning don't let the dog hear or see you. YES...the dog may throw a fit, but it will eventually calm down. Some dogs are easier than others to train this way.
YES...it's a pain in the neck...but you will have great success...eventually.
Next day or the day after go up to 15-20 minutes.

Each time you leave the dog, give the dog a kong with peanut butter inside of it to keep it busy.
Wouldn't take very much PB at the beginning, but eventually as the time increases, you can add a bit more PB. If your dog doesn't like PB, then stick a treat of some kind in the kong. Or just throw in the cage/kennel a few pieces of kibble.

Remember to be strong... your not hurting the dog...your keeping/training the dog from hurting itself.

Make sure the kennel/cage is large enough for the dog to relax in. Put his kong in there with him. No tennis balls, or he might learn to tear the felt off it. No stuffed animals...nothng with a squeaky in it. You don't want to have your dog tear up the toy...and in turn danger himself with it.
No water... he'll be just find not having any water for an hour or so while training your dog.

Make a game out of it. Praise him everytime he goes in & out of the kennel. Leave the kennel/cage door open at all times. If your pup gets scared, it just might go into his kennel/cage. He will feel safe there.

Eventually your dog may not ever need a kennel/cage again, which is what we all want for our babies.

Good Luck and YES...have patience. iF YOUR HYPED UP...IT'S A PRETTY MUCH FOR SURE THING YOUR DOG WILL TOO.
Anyway...this is what we have had to do in the past & to this day we never know if we wil have to do it again. Hope not, but one never knows what these poor babies we love so much have had to go thru before they finally reach their forever loved home.
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Unread 06-10-2009, 09:17 AM
 
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The very first step to working with separation anxiety is to CHANGE your habits prior to leaving the house. Dogs are very perceptive and know that when you go to the coat closet, or pick up keys, you're going to be gone shortly.

So what you need to do is pick up your keys, for instance, and then sit down to have breakfast. Or go to the coat closet and sit to read the paper.

And then when you go out, you must INSTANTANEOUSLY come back in, closing the door for a millisecond. I won't go into all the steps, but Pat Miller outlines them BEAUTIFULLY in the book I recommended.

And the first part of crate training is NOT to put the dog in the crate with the door closed for five minutes. Start by feeding the dog in the crate. EVERYTHING WITH THE DOOR OPEN. Look at this site for crate training procedures: Crate Training | The Humane Society of the United States (http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/dog_behavior_tip_sheets/crate_training.html - broken link)

Putting your dog in a crate with the door closed, even for a short period, could easily make things worse. Crate training is a PROCESS and takes time.

Please check some of the references - they're gold mines of information. Above all remember that however unpleasant this is for you, it's truly agonizing for your dog.
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Unread 06-10-2009, 10:58 AM
 
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hi, bench warmer, what i'm about to tell you is similar to what silly pups told you and probably similar to viral's recommendation but it's a little different so i think it's worth mentioning.

i've used this technique with two different dogs and it worked really well...and was recommended by either our vet or a trainer, i can't remember which...

you can use this with crated dogs or non-crated...one of our dogs was crated, one not.

okay, the steps...

1. prepare to leave as usual. tell the dog goodbye once, no extra loving, no kissy kissy, no baby talk. just goodbye, i'll be back later.

2. walk straight out the door, lock behind you. stay outside for 30 seconds. (you may or may not hear radar go crazy. doesn't matter, but be absolutely silent.)

3. walk back in. be happy to see him, get him a treat if you wish. but don't go overboard. you want to remember that you are training him that this is a normal occurrence. treats, kisses, and "happy talk" all make them think something special is happening, and you don't want that. nothing special is going on here.

4. turn around, tell him goodbye, walk right back out. this time stay outside 1 minute.

5. again, turn around, say goodbye, and walk back out again, this time staying outside 3 minutes.

6. repeat, this time staying outside 5 minutes.

7. repeat, this time staying outside 10 minutes.

8. repeat, this time staying outside 20 minutes.

9. repeat, this time staying outside 40 minutes.

important: don't leave! just take a book and read outside where he can't see you, or pay bills, or listen to music, or something else silent on your part. stay where you can hear HIM, though, because you need to be able to understand when his levels of anxiety start to increase/decrease.

for example, is he okay when you're outside for 5 minutes and screaming when you're gone for 10 minutes?

b/c if that happens, then you want to drop back down to the increment of time right before he gets anxious and work that increment a couple of extra times before you increase again.

of course the opposite could happen...with my dog, i was actually able to stop the sequence entirely after the 10 minute increment. everything went absolutely silent at 10 minutes and when i peeked in the window (something that is actually NOT recommended at all b/c you can really screw the whole process up if they see you), he was asleep on the chair.

at 40 minutes, you're ready to actually leave him. this time, hop in the car and drive around the block. then come back and check your house.

if everything is okay, drive away several more times over the course of the day, extending the amount of time you're gone each time.

if everything is NOT okay, if you see signs of damage...start the sequence over and slowly work through it again.

oh, and it's better if you can do this when you have a weekend or another two days off so that you have time to put the effort in and don't feel rushed.

good luck! hope this, or another method, helps!
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Unread 06-10-2009, 11:05 AM
 
357 posts, read 847,986 times
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Radar is a 10 month old Manchester Terrier. He's about 21 lbs. I'd say he is at his full size! We do have a crate for him. It's big enough for him to stand, and take a couple steps and turn around. He has no problem with going in his crate and laying down. In fact, he sleeps in his crate with the door closed. He makes it through the whole night no problem.... But he wants out first thing in the morning.. He makes sure he's out of the crate by 7am.

We are with him all but 4 hours a day at the most. I leave for work at noon, my girlfriend is back home by 3:15pm 99% of the time. He can't handle being alone for that short period! It's crazy! We tried crating him to minimize the destruction, but then he poops in his crate, rolls around and steps in it.. gets it ALL over himself, and the wires of the crate.. It's ####### terrible.. It's a pain in the ### cleaning him, and the crate..

Once you let him out of the crate, he runs around franticly. Which spreads themess worse.. its hard to clean him when he is in that state..


We've tried leaving a radio and tv on.. We've tried leaving him out of his crate.. we've done the 5 minute tests..

it's so wierd.. the very 1st thing he does is poop.. WHENEVER he gets NERVOUS he poops.. every time i drop him off at day care, the first thing he does is poop.. it sucks!!


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