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 Post subject: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:14 am 
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Drinks Wild Tofurkey
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Ever since we moved (almost two years now) our dog has had really bad separation anxiety. Nothing has worked-training, a thundershirt, medication. Any one have any tips?

Here's a picture of what she did when my boyfriend was out yesterday.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:12 pm 
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I don't have any tips but I'm sorry you are dealing with that and I hope she didn't hurt her teeth!


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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:15 pm 
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When I moved 4 years ago it coincided with making a clean break from my ex-boyfriend with whom I'd been sharing custody of Amos. I think the combination of losing his 'dad' and the change in surroundings brought on some separation anxiety. He shredded the vertical blinds on my sliding glass door a couple of times before we got his anxiety under control, and also scratched up the door jamb to the front door.

I used a pheromone diffuser for awhile and I really have no idea whether or not that contributed to calming him or not. I think the best tip I got was not to make a big production of leaving or of returning home. It was hard not to shower him with pets and affection when I got home from work, but what I was reading was that making your comings and goings very uneventful was key. So I'd get home, let him out into the yard to pee but basically ignore him for the first 5 minutes or so until he'd calmed down and sort of forgotten that I'd just gotten home. It made me sad to just leave without smooshing on him and come home without smooshing on him, but it really did seem to help. It took a few months but eventually he caught on that he wasn't going to lose me too and he's been fine ever since. Nowadays I still keep leaving as low key as possible; I just give him a kiss and tell him that I will be back, but we are back to happy homecomings.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:32 pm 
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We tried that too but she makes it very difficult. As soon as she figures out we're leaving she gets frantic. We did the whole getting ready then not going out, then going out for a minute and gradually increasing it. She was better for a while but lately had been bad. I'm sure part of it is I'm away and when I'm upstate I'm home all the time and my boyfriend is working overtime. But we're worried she'll hurt herself. We're thinking about trying medication though it didn't work before. Using it while we work on training again.

The pheromone diffuser is a good idea- I might try a collar instead because we have cat diffusers everywhere. Thanks MT.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:02 pm 
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It sounds like your schedule has a lot to do with her anxiety. I wish I had some advice for that. I have been home with Amos since I got laid off in November and I am worried that we may see a recurrence of his anxiety when I go back to work.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 1:39 pm 
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Resurrecting this thread cause I don't really know what to do about Bigby! He is totally able to chill away from me on the couch while I'm on the computer or in the shower, which is good. Or at least he's able to not bark while I'm away from him in the house. He was standing in front of the bathroom door when I got out of the shower and then he followed me around a bunch after that, but I tried to just ignore him and get on with my getting dressed and stuff.

The first 2 days we had him, he didn't do this. I actually had to leave him for 8 hours on his second day and he was fine, but that won't be normal because usually my husband will come walk him in the middle of the day. Even so, he'll need to be able to be alone for 4-5 hours at a time.

I'm worried I made things worse by trying to stop him from barking when people are coming up the stairs in our building, which obviously happens ALL DAY. Now I'm trying to ignore him when he barks so I don't reward that behavior with attention, even if it's negative attention.

The last 2 days he barks non stop when I'm gone. I did 2 errands this weekend grocery store and target and kind of assumed he stopped barking after a bit, but then I did a test where I left the house for 15 minutes and stood downstairs in the parking lot and he barked the entire time. I took suggestions from my thread about him and left him in the gated laundry room when I got back and didn't give him any attention or let him out till he calmed down. I'm worried about him and I'm worried about my neighbors!

Right now my plans include taking him to the vet asap so we get the vaccines he's missing and a fecal so that we can possibly sign him up for day care and getting a consultation with a trainer asap. I also just panicked and ordered some herbal spray stuff from spirit essences that is supposed to help. I'll fall for anything if it's not harmful and there's a slight chance it might work.

He was previously crated at his foster home without issue, so I'm sure this is just related to him having a new environment and the stress that comes along with that. We maybe shouldn't have adopted a dog yet because we both just started new jobs and can't take time off yet. It might be possible for jason to take him to work in the crate until we can get him used to us being gone.
I'm working today on trying these tips by leaving for short amounts of time. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual- ... on-anxiety

Sorry for the essay! Thanks for reading and absolutely any tips would be appreciated. Oh and I also emailed the woman from the rescue and i'm waiting for her to get back to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 10:20 pm 
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I had a bit of luck today with getting him to be behind the gate with me home and a few times he actually sat in the bed. I was baking cookies in the kitchen so he could see me, but i only looked at him out of the corner of my eye and didn't talk to him at all or anything. i was able to leave the house for about 2 minutes and he barked a few times and then stopped. I wnted to come back in before he started barking again, so he could see that i would be there for him.

I have no idea what to do tomorrow, but I think Jason might try to take him to work and crate him there, so at least he'll be with someone and if he's barking a lot in the crate he can at least just take him home. He's so cute and sweet at all other times except for when we leave! I feel so guilty that we have no choice but to leave him. Unless the rescue was straight up lying to me, which I don't think they would do, he was previously crated, so I have hope that he'll come around!

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 10:28 pm 
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oh and i made cookies and brought them to all the neighbors and left our phone numbers with them in case the barking gets out of control. they were all super surprised and super nice about it. one neighbor has a dog, downstairs people are CONSTANTLY yelling and their smoke blows up into our house so i'm kinda not concerned about them and the next door people have a baby, so they were like we get it.

oh, btw one of the suggestions from the rescue was a bark collar as a temporary solution. i don't think i could do that... another suggestion was to get another dog. that could either help or make it twice as bad, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 5:51 am 
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What kind of no bark collar? We tried a citronella one that sprays a blast of citronella in their face when they bark but that didn't work. Then we tried a device that emits a sound only they can hear that they don't like but that also didn't work.

When I moved into my last apartment I tried to crate train Bonnie and she just barked nonstop. My neighbors weren't understanding. We have up on the crate training.

I wish this was more helpful. Getting a trainer will be the best help.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 6:39 am 
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Definitely seek advice from a local (positive reinforcement/force free) trainer who can spend some time with your dog directly!

I would recommend avoiding aversives (anything that makes noise/shocks/does something the dog doesn't like when it barks).

Additionally (or alternatively if you have trouble finding a trainer) any videos or advice from: Victoria Stilwell, Kikopup, Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Jean Donaldson, will be worth looking at.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 6:41 am 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
I had a bit of luck today with getting him to be behind the gate with me home and a few times he actually sat in the bed. I was baking cookies in the kitchen so he could see me, but i only looked at him out of the corner of my eye and didn't talk to him at all or anything. i was able to leave the house for about 2 minutes and he barked a few times and then stopped. I wnted to come back in before he started barking again, so he could see that i would be there for him.


This is really encouraging and shows you'll be able to make progress with training baby steps! Tell the trainer this and put a routine in place and stick to it religiously (both of you!)

Consistency is the key - you want your pooch to realise that you're always coming back, and that fun stuff happens when you're gone (e.g. peanut butter stuffed into Kong toy, a really high value chew toy, etc).

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 9:25 am 
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If you're looking for a local trainer, I highly recommend Ahimsa. Grisha and her staff are awesome. They are in Fremont but maybe they can recommend someone like-minded on the East side. They may also have some resources on separation anxiety on their website.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 9:29 am 
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^^ Another vote for Grisha - her book is excellent!

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 7:00 pm 
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update: somehow (magic maybe?) he didn't bark when my husband left him today and then my husband walked him at lunch and now i'm home and he wasn't barking when i came in. i let him out, but ignored him till he settled down in his bed and then i pet him. and last night i started teaching him to sit and he's doing pretty well with that considering he's 3 or 4 and has never learned any commands. now he's just laying on the floor while i'm on the computer. so, things are good today! we gave him some of the apawthecary tincture stuff and sprayed pheramones and i left one of my shirts in his bed, so hopefully that all helped to calm him/comfort him.

I will check out that trainer and their website. Motley Zoo animal rescue has a trainer that offers classes in our neighborhood, so we may do a consultation with her and see how it goes.

thank you guys for your responses and support! it's so weird that on saturday he couldn't be left alone for 30 seconds and today he was ok for 4 hours. We did a lot of work over the weekend though, like ignoring him when he's hyper and making him sleep in a dog bed at the foot of our bed rather than in our bed. i think all that probably helped.

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 7:27 pm 
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Oh hurrah! I hope this means that Bigby is feeling secure and happy! And that you can relax and enjoy your pup, without needing to bake cookies for all the neighbors. I really thought that was the nicest gesture - way to be an awesome neighbor!

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 7:32 pm 
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jennyg2207 wrote:
Definitely seek advice from a local (positive reinforcement/force free) trainer who can spend some time with your dog directly!

I would recommend avoiding aversives (anything that makes noise/shocks/does something the dog doesn't like when it barks).

Additionally (or alternatively if you have trouble finding a trainer) any videos or advice from: Victoria Stilwell, Kikopup, Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Jean Donaldson, will be worth looking at.


Thanks for this list! I used to watch victoria stillwell's show a lot before I had a dog. she's great.

and thanks, tofulish! i hope so, too!

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 12:19 am 
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an update: the separation anxiety has gotten so much better! he barks and whines a bit, but we can leave him while we go to work and he's fine and doesn't bark the whole time. this might be because it's my husband who is leaving him and not me and he's not quite as attached to my husband. So, that's a good thing! but now we have to focus on his other issues like being startled at every little noise including our farts! just generally being scared and the way he almost bit the vet. he got so scared there that he snarled and tried to bite just when they tried to touch him, so we have a trainer coming on Monday who specializes in fear aggression.

You guys have helped a lot! the ignoring thing works really well! we also stopped letting him into bed with us. he;s in his own bed at the foot of our bed and that's working well. I've been watching a ton of victoria stillwell episodes, too. Those actually make me feel better because those dogs are so insane or the people are so insane, so i feel like it's not hopeless. He just needs some time and some training. we've been able to teach him to sit and lie down. we're still working on it, but i think just doing that a lot in the morning and evenings is helping him with mental stimulation.

thanks for your help!!

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 4:01 am 
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Orion used to bark a lot when we left for the day, and that has mostly stopped. I can't tell for sure if the things we did changed his behavior of if it's aging / becoming more chill, but: 1. We leave the radio on as background noise. It reduces his reaction barking as he can't hear so clearly neighbors and street noises. 2. We got him a Kong and we stuff it just before we leave. He has become an expert at emptying it in minutes, but at least it keeps him busy at the time he used to be the most bark-prone. It's actually kind of hilarious, some mornings he brings us the Kong as if to push us out of the door!

You seem to be doing the right things, and it's great that your neighbors aren't bothered.
I second the recommendation for Kikopup's videos, they were a lifesaver during the first years with O.


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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 7:38 am 
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Glad to hear he's settling in - sounds like you are both doing a great job :) It's so worth it to have a pooch that's happy in your home!

My dog has HUGE fear aggression issues. I worked gently with positive reinforcement training for around 18 months until I got to the point where I accepted her as she is. I manage and workaround her problems, walking at quieter times and in quieter places, and she has a Yellow Dog bandana. She is a sweet little love bug once you get to know her, but she still barks and lunges at strange men, so I just try to avoid those situations as best I can!

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 Post subject: Re: Separation Anxiety in Dogs
PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 10:21 am 
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Thanks! It's very reassuring to hear that other people have similar issues. I watched a million kikopup videos yesterday and we started working on some counter conditioning with knocking on the door.

When we got a dog I was so excited to be able to take him to the amazing dog park we have or bring him to outdoor cafes with us.

That might not be possible, but that's ok. The main things I want are to be able to have people over eventually and be able to have a pet sitter come so we can go on vacation.

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