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  • Seperation Anxiety & Behavior Advice

    I'm afraid Brenna is already developing seperation anxiety. Today I went out shopping with a friend and Brenna managed to well, collapse her collapsable crate. You could tell she had been frantic, all 3 of my window blinds were torn apart, though nothing else was chewed up per se. There were nose markings all over the windows and poo on the floor, so you could tell she had been running around probably frantic.

    Her behavior, while touching, has perplexed me. I've only had her just over a week and she had attached herself to me by the very first day. (This being the reason I got her, she was originally going to be my mother's) My mom says she's heard of dogs who do that, they just pick their person.

    Well, she's worse with men, but I had a (female) friend over who she was visibly nervous around, a totally different dog than she is at home.

    I really appreciate any and all advice, I have grown very attached to her within the past week as well and it would break my heart to not be able to keep her. For the time being I put cable ties on her crate to keep it from coming apart. During the week I take her to work with me. I've left her at home before in the crate, and honestly I think it was having my friend over first which upset her, because I've left her for several hours at a time while I ran errands before and she was fine.

    Also, on a side note, if anyone has any blind repair advice, that would also be great. lol Luckily my apartment came with the exact same blinds sold at walmart, but they're $25 each, thats $75. Ouch!

    Right now I'm feeling mopey and sorry for myself because she seemed to be doing much better, but today was very disappointing. Like I said, any and all advice is very appreciated.

  • #2
    I don't have advice because I've never been in your situation, but I have read some things that might help alot is if she gets more exercise. I also think that Cesar had an episode about a little dog with separation problems who barked and whined all day and it was a high energy dog who needed more walking. Possibly before work if you exert her a little, you could always try that among maybe what others may suggest.

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    • #3
      I think in that episode Cesar also had the family leave for very short periods of time so that the dog realized right away that they would be coming back. You might want to try that a few times a day before you leave her alone all day. And don't make a big deal about leaving either. Just up and walk out and she won't really think as much about it being a big event to get worked up about.

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      • #4
        Good reply Crystal, and if you know your going shopping or out with a friend then do that long walk. Fav toys and plenty things to chew. You know the deal.
        Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.- Richard Carlson

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        • #5
          This is long but I hope it helps. Dogs that suffer separation anxiety often destroy the barriers that hold them in. I had a collie a long time ago that suffered separation anxiety. I knew keeping him confined only made matters worse for him, so I tried leaving him in a big hallway with a gate that had nothing in it that he could destroy, or so I thought. He chewed a hole into the wall!!!

          Anyway here goes:
          First decide if it is separation anxiety or just boredom. A dog that is bored will destroy when your home as well as when your not. A dog that has separation anxiety usually is just destructive when you are not home.He is also very attached to his owner. Follows you all around the house when you are home. Sounds like your dog.
          Be aloof when you return home and are greeted by your dog. Ignore him until he calms down then you call him over to greet him.You must be in charge.Don't allow your dog to settle down within close proximity to you. EX. If you are on couch put something in the way so he can not be right by you and he must settle down away from you. Don't let him sleep on your bed. Buy him his own bed. 1st put it at the foot of your bed and then gradually move it further and further away until preferably out of your room.Encourage independant play with a toy that does not require human interaction, like a kong filled with a food treat. Privide a special treat(toy or food or both) when you are not at home. Something he really likes. When you return home take it away.The DAP diffuser works great for many dogs. Leave a tv or radio on. Do not punish him when you get home for destructive behavior. He will not know why you are punishing him. Exercise a dog as much as possible. I once convinced a girl not to buy a husky because she told me outright that she lived in a condo, would never exercise it or take it for a walk, and did I mention we live in Fl. Oh, and she said they were never home. I told her to get a cat! Finally, if all else fails, there are a few drugs that can help. You don't have to keep the dogs on them permanently. Usually if you follow all the other steps you can get them off the meds pretty quickly. Good Luck. I know how u feel.

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          • #6
            aThe one thing I know but I'm sure there are other thing that will help as well. Is to make comings and goings common place and no big deal. When you leave just leave, no goodbys -other than a normal voiced see you in a bit over the shoulder as you walk away. And no tado when you retern no matter how happy she is to see you. The ceaser no touch, no talk, no eye contact untill she is relaxed and calm. This has worked great for my dog but she was not guiet a bad as what it sounds like you are dealing with.

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            • #7
              First, let me start by saying this is a lucky dog to have chosen YOU to he her owner. A lot of other people would have given up on her after the destructive behavior started.

              I agree w/the others who say not to make a big deal of your coming and goings and to not greet her until she settles down. She also sounds to me like she needs a LOT of socialization. That can be a daunting idea since she is not terribly social, but saturating her w/the things that frighten her till they become common will probably be the way to go....same w/leaving her alone. Take baby steps and gradually make them bigger steps. Lots of exercise and toys and maybe leave a tv or radio (I think this was sugggested) to help ease the stress of being alone! Good luck and thanks for taking the care for this special baby!!
              SheilaB from SC

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              • #8
                all of the above advice is good, but what has worked for me is getting another dog. the last dog we adopted had severe separation anxiety and the vet hospital was uncertain they could adopt him out. he came into our household with 5 other dogs and it took a day and we have never had a problem with him. it also worked when we only had 2 dogs and one passed away. we began having sep anx with the other dog until we got a puppy. i realize this is not the answer for everyone, but it is the remedy that has worked for me.
                Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
                "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887

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                • #9
                  Maggy- I am going through the same exact thing as you with my standard. He busted out of the cages, I tried the plastic tie wraps also but the old crate we had would not keep the bottom in and he slid it out and chewed all of the carpet. I got a brand new cage and it had a plastic bottom. Somehow he got that chewed up and got one of the doors open and was roaming around when I got home. I am just starting to try the go out for a bit and make it longer each time thing and pray that it will work. I do get less destruction though when he is not caged. when I locked him in my bedroom with my other dog he chewed the blinds, he has chewed several remote controls, picks up items of mine when I leave him out and alone and gathers them at the stair landing. I came home to a pair of pajama bottoms, a belt a few shoes and a sweat shirt of mine on the stairs. He does not ruin any of it and it is all my stuff. My husband and daughter have plenty of stuff around that he can get but he chooses mine. WE NEED HELP!
                  What does a dog do on it's day off?

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                  • #10
                    all great points - i was going to reply the same - lots of exercise before leaving her ... leave her with a peanut butter kong .... no dramatic hello/goodbyes... leave a radio on, etc.

                    which reminds me of another point that i try to make with customers. people can be kind of ridiculous when leaving their pups with us and also when picking up - especially when leaving/picking up for boarding. it is so obvious to me that this only makes the dogs MORE anxious & nervous.... and as mom apologizes relentlessly for "leaving my poor baby here!" the dog feeds off of it & whines/shakes more - of course while mom is kissing & petting the pup which only reinforces this behavior & nervous state of mind.

                    I try to make things humorus & say something like .... "oh boy, he really knows how to work it! way to make mom feel guilty!" and usually they laugh but it of course happens every time. Does anyone ever feel the need to mention this to their clients? for the dog's sake?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DogChic View Post
                      all great points - i was going to reply the same - lots of exercise before leaving her ... leave her with a peanut butter kong .... no dramatic hello/goodbyes... leave a radio on, etc.

                      which reminds me of another point that i try to make with customers. people can be kind of ridiculous when leaving their pups with us and also when picking up - especially when leaving/picking up for boarding. it is so obvious to me that this only makes the dogs MORE anxious & nervous.... and as mom apologizes relentlessly for "leaving my poor baby here!" the dog feeds off of it & whines/shakes more - of course while mom is kissing & petting the pup which only reinforces this behavior & nervous state of mind.

                      I try to make things humorus & say something like .... "oh boy, he really knows how to work it! way to make mom feel guilty!" and usually they laugh but it of course happens every time. Does anyone ever feel the need to mention this to their clients? for the dog's sake?
                      When ever a dog is very anxious and clingy to the owner and the owner can't understand why their pet is so afraid to come in and the owner is clinging on to the dog as tightly as the dog is to them, I flat out tell them that it is their fault!! That's that. I tell them if they want to see a drastic change in the dogs behavior the next time they bring the dog in just hand him over and don't say a word. I tell them that they are sending the wrong message to their pet. Why are you holding on to me so tight? Why are you so afraid of letting me go with these people? We all know that dogs have great instincts. I have had an almost 100% turnaround in dogs like this. People just can't believe how much easier it is on their pet by just keeping their own emotions in check.

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                      • #12
                        Maggy, a lot of people will tell you that your dog is suffering seperation anxiety. A lot of people are probably wrong.

                        Seperation anxiety is a state of anxiety created by the anticipation of being left behind or seperated from their comfort zone; the owner. DogChic and Goldiphlox described it perfectly; owner comes in, clinging to the dog and acting anxious about leaving little Phydough. Phydough becomes anxious, anticipating what's coming next.

                        What comes next is you prying Phydough away from his owner, and taking him back to be groomed. Have you ever noticed that their anxiety usually goes away or diminishes a great deal once their owner does? That's because the thing causing their anxiety has happened, so they have nothing to be anxious about.

                        What usually causes the behavior you described is fear. Fear of being confined, fear of not knowing how to behave when left alone. What are the rules when I'm on my own? Who's the leader, now that the leader is gone? What am I supposed to do?

                        What you have to do is teach her what she's supposed to do when she's left alone. You can start by desenstizing her to her crate. Toss a treat into it, and let her go in to get it on her own. If she goes right in and gets it, praise her and let her come out. If she doesn't go right in, just leave it in there and let her think about it. When she's thought about it enough, she'll go get it. Praise her.

                        Allow her to go in and out several times without closing the door. Then start closing the door, but immediately opening it again. When she's comfortable with that, close it and wait. If she remains calm, let her out. If she kicks up a fuss, tell her to be quiet and wait until there's a lull in the fussing. Then let her out.

                        Increase the amount of time she's in the crate until she understands that what she's supposed to do is lie down and be quiet. Then start leaving her alone for brief periods of time. Crate her, pick up your keys, tell her (once only) "Quiet" and walk out the door. Then walk back in. If she's been quiet, tell her she's a good dog and let her out. If she hasn't been quiet, tell her "Quiet" and walk out again. She has to be quiet if she wants to come out of the crate.

                        Dogs are wonderful problem solvers. You just have to allow them to solve the problem. If you take a little time to teach her you expect her to be quiet in the crate, she'll solve the problem quickly. If I want out of this darned contraption, I have to stay quiet.

                        Oh, by the way, it's probably cheaper to replace the blinds rather than have them repaired. Even if you have to replace them one paycheck at a time.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks everyone, you all had great tips! I read through them, but I'm going to go back through the thread and write all the ideas down.

                          Helly, I'm not sure if she has a problem with confinement. She actually LOVES the crate, she goes in there on her own all the time, she will only eat a full bowl of food if she's crated. If I act angry (like if I'm telling my beagle NO about something) she goes to her crate for security. Though I agree it may not nessesarily be seperation anxiety like I had thought.

                          Really, what seemed to set her off is my friend being over here, because I had left her crated in the past and didn't see so much as a sign that she moved let alone panicked and acted very upset. She has a bed in her crate and hasn't chewed it up, she has a knuckle bone which she chewed on when I first put it in there, now she ignores it for the most part. In fact, she's in her crate right now because she had the runs all over my carpet last night (I can probably kiss my security deposit goodbye at this point) and it's soaked in cleaner which I don't want them running through. She hasn't made a peep, sometimes my beagle groans or one of them changes positions but otherwise it has been silent since we've been home.

                          I got a tension curtain rod and put drapes up for now. When I go to move out I'll put new blinds in, there's no sense in buying a new set every so many weeks/months. lol This is a lesson learned, I think in my future apartments I will just take down all the blinds, store them away, and put them back when I move out. :P

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                          • #14
                            Is it possible something happened while you were gone that frightened her? A thunderstorm? Someone pounding on your door? Cats fighting outside the window? A car backfiring?

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                            • #15
                              Its possible, but she did the same thing before when my parents were here. This was before I had her crate so I put her in my walk in closet (which has no doors) with two baby gates up so it was too high to jump over, and we went out to dinner. She knocked the bottom one down and she had done the exact same thing but only to one of the blinds.

                              The thing that sticks out in my head both times is that I left with somebody that she was nervous around. Like I said, the perplexing thing is that I've left her before and she's been fine, but all those times I was by myself when I left.

                              Is my dog just a bit 'off' in the head? lol You can tell me, I'll still love her.

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