Separation anxiety in dog

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Feder
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Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:13 am

I got a dog on Friday, a bit spur of the moment. Stopped at the local shelter on Thursday, meet two dogs and went back and took one on Friday.

He's 10 months, maybe a bit younger. Smaller, 40 lb and typical high energy puppy. At shelter he showed many good things - playful with other dogs through dense, interested but not overly crazy, went into dog igloo on his own many times when too much activity, second visit came to me when called. Overall seemed like normal puppy things plus easy to crate train.

He's been home three days. He is an amazing dog - super smart, easy to train, maybe too smart!

Ok so the issues
1. Loves his crate but can't be shut in. Sleeps in it, stores his toys in it, feed in crate. But shut the door and he flips out. Size is appropriate, maybe a little big. He broke out twice when left in crate.
2. I think he has separation anxiety. I can't leave him alone without risk. Since I cannot close crate I did my best to puppy proof my room and leave him there. He alternates between wining and scratching the door. When he's quiet it doesn't last long. He won't play with his toys, ignores food (think peanut butter filled kings, bacon treats in Kong) but will mess with my things (pulled laundry basket out).

So any suggestions or success stories, the shelter was not optimistic on retraining this out of him. We are talking daily but they are ready and ok to take him back. Currently not working, so have some time to train him. But interviewing and hope to be working soon.

He's such an awesome dog when with me, it's very hard to think about taking him back. And to add to his awesomeness, he's great at farm around horses (until I get on and try to ride).

nightlace
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby nightlace » Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:10 pm

We had a dog who developed severe separation anxiety. It was truly awful for her, our home, our barn, and us. She would shake uncontrollably with the first signs of our leaving. She was horribly afraid & panicky. She was very destructive when we left her alone. She tore open her cage, broke windows, chewed through wood, etc. It was awful.

Besides Ace (which knocked her out), the ONLY thing that helped her was a Gentle Leader Collar. She IMMEDIATELY calmed down when we put it on her. Laid down quietly. We started putting it on her before we started to get ready to leave. She laid down quietly during our preparations and, we assume, while we were gone. Because the destruction stopped.

After about a year, she felt comfortable with us leaving her alone at home, and we stopped using the Gentle Leader. But, for us & our poor dog, the Gentle Leader Collar worked a miracle.

Chancellor
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Chancellor » Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:32 pm

The gentle leader collars work on the "calming" acupressure point on the nose. Although, I sincerely doubt those are meant to be left on without supervision.
You might try a little sedative to help get through some of the separation anxiety. Eventually he may learn that you WILL come back. Don't make a big deal of leaving. Just walk away. If you are upset, so too will he be. Talk to your vet about this too.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Fatcat » Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:05 pm

You might try a ThunderCap or ThunderShirt. More about them here: www.thundershirt.com

Feder
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:15 pm

Getting a thunder shirt to try - thank you had not thought of that.

Today is slightly better, leaving 10 minutes at a time and then coming back. He's still not happy, but less destruction. Just don't know what to do, haven't left him more then two hours, I can't always be around.

Otherwise he's smart! Mostly housebroken, knows his potty spot outside, walking is going much better.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby khall » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:13 pm

For your crate training issues http://www.sithappens.org/PDFs/LoginAre ... eGames.pdf

Thank you for rescuing him and I hope it works out. I have dealt with separation anxiety before in an older dog, got worse as he got older, no fun.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby PNG_Pony » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:55 pm

He's only been home 3 (4?) days--his life has been turned upside down. Don't worry, it will get better! (Whether or not you have the time to work through it is another question and perfectly legitimate, so don't feel guilty. Rescue dogs have baggage that take time.) Thundershirts are good; I'd also try "rescue remedy" which helps with calming stressed dogs.

Since he hasn't actually had lots of experience with the crate, you'll need to do some training so that he trusts it, instead of potentially associating it with the feeling of "being trapped and abandoned" from the shelter. That link is a good one; google will help with other ideas. If you have a kid's play pen/exercise pen, I would put the crate (door open) with him in that so he can go in and out at will, but can't just roam through the house. Slowly decrease how much space he can move outside the crate, and eventually the door will be shut. Is it a wire crate or closed (solid-side) crate? Covering it with blankets so that it's solid-sided can really help some dogs; other dogs need to look out.

10 min at a time is good (for being by himself). Before putting him away, definitely get him tired so that his puppy energy isn't adding to it. I would also start by putting him in an exercise pen where he can see you, but not right next to you. Don't respond to the whining--but do let him out and play with him when he stops. Slowly increase the time (and the distance) he's in the pen until it's eventually out of sight. He won't play with toys because he's too stressed. I'd also start leaving him alone (briefly) when you feed him so that his hunger can overcome some of the stress and he can start associate being alone with good things.

Good luck!

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:11 am

Thank you for advice... It's helpful to me, still struggling.

Thunder shirt - helps calm him in high stress situation, like when he is over excited on a walk. But not a huge difference with the separation anxiety.

Crate - easiest dog to crate train, last two nights slept in crate with door open. Tonight sleeping with door shut. However, if I am not in the room he goes nuts. Shirt on, food, toys, door sprayed with no chew, cover with sheet, calm music, lavender calming spray, rescue remedy Nothing helping, made it 20 minutes out of room- but he was not calmed down, just stopped barking.

All meals are feed in crate, he won't eat if alone. He's not super food motivated. Have one bacon treat he will eat, all else ignored.

Today he ate my stick shift in the car, so the car and truck are no longer safe. Left for half an hour in room, was quiet... Too quiet. Had pulled clothes off of hanger to make a bed next to the door. At farm he could see me, tied up while I rode. Went nuts - barking, jumping, fighting rope.

Mostly venting now. I can't be with him 24/7. Not sure what to do next. Tonight sleeping in crate, don't know what tomorrow will bring with him. Feeling terrible, I know it's an adjustment period but I don't know how to get through if I can't leave him at all. So sad tonight.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby gypsy still flies » Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:09 am

What about Bach Rescue Remedy? There are pet versions that are alcohol free.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Sunshine2Me » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:20 pm

Pulling your clothes down made me think.....what about if you take the sheet off your bed that you've slept in for a few days (so it smells strongly like you) and put that it the crate? Perhaps it will be comforting.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby khall » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:21 pm

I still say look at the crate training PDF I linked. It will take time and investigate clicker training, please!! He needs to learn calm behavior. Drugs might help while getting over the hump, find a treat that he likes, chicken, cheese, p-nut butter, steak, hot dogs something he likes not just buy in package treats.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:17 pm

khall wrote:I still say look at the crate training PDF I linked. It will take time and investigate clicker training, please!! He needs to learn calm behavior. Drugs might help while getting over the hump, find a treat that he likes, chicken, cheese, p-nut butter, steak, hot dogs something he likes not just buy in package treats.


Thank you, I have looked over the pdf and several others sources. The issue is I don't have 24/7 available to this dog right now. The crate is not the issue its the seperation. It's just me, I have to leave at times.

This am we went to park, no other dogs. Let him run around and then in 10 minutes trained him to come to me with yummy treats. He's smart, trainable.

Came home with tired dog and worked on being tied or tethered to something. Witht me in the room or nearby he did figure it out. Calmed himself, laid on his bed, ate his breakfast (out of Kong toy) and then napped. Great, right. But then I need to leave the house for an hour and I have no clue what to do with him. I can't leave out, for reasons I'll leave out of this I cannot have damage to the house. So he goes in the crate with blanket, lavender water spray, toys with his fav treats, thunder shirt,etc. but can't calm down. So frustrating. I adore this dog, but can't seem to make any progress on the seperation issues

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:59 pm

After talking to shelter trainer, I have an appointment with a vet to try drugs. Trainer said I was doing all the right things, it's just time time and more time.

So we'll try drugs and if not change then he'll go back. He's a super cool dog and will end up in a good home, one that can deal worth his issue.

Thanks for all the advice, I tried all and it's certainly helped with training him, still working on anxiety.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby PNG_Pony » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:33 am

I hope for your sake the drugs work (hopefully it can stop his mind from spinning so he can actually associate being left alone with pleasant things instead of revving himself up until he's unreachable). But if it doesn't work like you need it to and you need to bring him back, I hope you won't be too discouraged with yourself--you really are giving this a valiant effort!

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:28 am

PNG_Pony wrote:I hope for your sake the drugs work (hopefully it can stop his mind from spinning so he can actually associate being left alone with pleasant things instead of revving himself up until he's unreachable). But if it doesn't work like you need it to and you need to bring him back, I hope you won't be too discouraged with yourself--you really are giving this a valiant effort!


Thanks PNG. I am definitely struggling with taking him back. I am one of those dogs are my family, do anything for my dog kind of person. But I am just not in a place to do that right now, nor do I think it would help with this one. Coming to terms with this. It's a no kill shelter, so he's safe and would be placed with better knowledge now. So the meds give him one more shot, plus give me a little more time to accept if he's not meant to be with me.

nightlace
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby nightlace » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:10 am

Did you try the Gentle Leader Collar? It worked a miracle on our dog with severe separation anxiety. I've recommended it to at least 12 people whose dogs are destructive when they leave them alone. All were most grateful for the advice. Simple solution to a heart-breaking problem for these dogs. Of course, your dog might be different. Good luck with your dog.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Sat Oct 24, 2015 6:26 pm

I am hesitant on the gental leader as they are designed for walking and not leaving the dog alone. This dog will chew and can get out of a harness left alone. I did get a thunder shirt, which helped with some training, especially walking and leash manors but not on anxiety.

nightlace
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby nightlace » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:10 pm

We had absolutely no problems leaving the Gentle Leader Collar on our dog with severe separation anxiety. Our dog with severe separation anxiety makes your dog look like he loves being left alone. Our dog ate her way out of a metal wire cage; broke windows to get out of our brand new cabin; chewed a huge hole through a 3" thick oak wall; destroyed furniture; and destroyed a log in our cabin. Plus other stuff to numerous to mention. I felt so sorry for her. She shook violently at the first indication that we were going to leave.

We tried all kinds of things, from a behavioral vet (absolutely no help) to ace (great for knocking her out so we could leave for a couple of hours). Only the Gentle Leader Collar helped.

In fact, the Gentle Leader Collar worked a miracle on her and probably saved her life. She immediately calmed down when we put it on her. No shaking. No chewing through walls. No clawing out of a pen or through windows.

With the Gentle Leader Collar on, she was calm and relaxed. She curled up on the sofa and went to sleep. And she acted okay with us leaving. And she was calmly happy to see us when we returned.

I have recommended the Gentle Leader Collar to others who have dogs with separation anxiety. All of them reported positive results.

I discovered the wonderful calming impact of the Gentle Leader Collar at a pet store. I tried it on her right in the store. She immediately laid down and relaxed. So I immediately bought it. Best purchase ever.

Do what you want with your dog. But your dog's life may depend on your helping him overcome his separation anxiety. Separation Anxiety is horrible for both the dog and his/her owners. Best wishes. I hope you find something that helps your dog.

nightlace
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby nightlace » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:14 pm

Feder wrote:I am hesitant on the gental leader as they are designed for walking and not leaving the dog alone.


I do not see how the dog could chew out of the Gentle Leader Collar, unless it was not fitted properly.

The Gentle Leader Collars work great on dogs who pull, as our current strong-willed puppy will do. We use it on her when we want control, like at Rolex and other events.

Good luck with helping your dog overcome his separation anxiety. His life--and quality of life--may depend on your success. Best wishes. I would never want another dog with separation anxiety.

nightlace
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby nightlace » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:16 pm

Knowing what I know now, if I had a dog with separation anxiety, I'd put him/her on a high quality magnesium supplement. Magnesium improves brain function and helps with anxiety, if the creature is magnesium deficient. Best wishes.

Feder
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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:33 am

Magnesium is a great idea!

Dog is doing better with meds. Will continue this week with meds, lots of exercise, and training. This weekend will try to reduce meds and see if training sticks. He's not knocked out on meds, but the edge is taken off and I can leave him. Today for 4 hours! Trick is wether he can come off meds or reduce and retain.

He's not in danger, if I have to return it's a no kill shelter, they have a lot of good info to help place him and he's now got a ton of training. To stay less emotional I am looking at him as a training dog.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Chancellor » Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:38 pm

Feder wrote:Magnesium is a great idea!

Dog is doing better with meds. Will continue this week with meds, lots of exercise, and training. This weekend will try to reduce meds and see if training sticks. He's not knocked out on meds, but the edge is taken off and I can leave him. Today for 4 hours! Trick is wether he can come off meds or reduce and retain.

He's not in danger, if I have to return it's a no kill shelter, they have a lot of good info to help place him and he's now got a ton of training. To stay less emotional I am looking at him as a training dog.


It might be better to give him a little more time with the meds before reducing them. Let him really get the idea that you DO come back and he DOESN'T have to panic. I'd give him a solid month on meds before reducing.

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Feder » Sat Oct 31, 2015 2:25 am

Good update.... Meds are working and training is going better. not only do they help with leaving, but helps with training and dog park. Just takes enough edge off him. Today we went the the park twice and I was so proud that he ventured into a large group, played nicely and could tell which dogs would run, which would play and which to just leave alone. Huge progress in two weeks!

And Tonight I left him for two hours with no additional meds (had both pills this am) and I came home to him sleeping in the closet all happy. So I think this will work out.

Now I have to figure out how to post a picture so you can all see his cuteness!

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby PNG_Pony » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:54 am

Oh that's great news! Rescue dogs can often take a longer time to settle in anyway (compared to dogs from a breeder/good home situation), much less dogs like the one you've been working with, so that makes sense. I'm delighted to hear the positive steps forward!

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby nightlace » Sat Oct 31, 2015 1:01 pm

Happy to hear he's making such great progress in such a short time. Way to go!

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Re: Separation anxiety in dog

Postby Racetrackreject » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:46 pm

I'm glad that the meds are working.

Years ago, I watched a training video on how to work with dogs with separation anxiety. It's been awhile, so I don't remember everything, but it seems they recommended a long process of you going out and leaving the dog, but coming back before the dog got upset. So, you would gather your stuff and walk out for maybe 30 seconds to start. Then you would gradually increase the time at a rate that the dog's anxiety allowed. The point was to return before the dog expected you to return and gradually increase the time it took for that to happen. I didn't explain that very well, but it did seem to work well in the real life situation they presented.

My JRT loves his crate, but he's not crazy about the door being latched either. What happens if you leave the crate open when you leave the dog? Will he lay down inside it on his own? That's what my dog does. Well, he alternates between that and looking out the window, watching for my car to drive in..lol.


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