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Thread: separation anxiety???

  1. #1
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    separation anxiety???

    Please, I need advice! I adopted a dog about mid July. She is a border collie/black lab mix, and is 3 years old. I don't know her history as she was a stray at a shelter. For the first month, I went to work everyday and she was a very good dog at home- only once did she have an 'accident' on the carpet. Also no chewing, etc. I was then laid-off from my job (early Aug.). Now I am home a lot and take her with me when I leave as much as I can. The problem is this: When I have to leave and absolutely CAN'T take her, even if it is an hour or two, I come home to her having 'done her duties' on the carpet. I always make sure she goes outside to do so before I leave, so I know she is not being made to wait too long. She has also started doing some chewing that she never did before. She is a dog that follows me everywhere, even inside the house. She has to be in the same room with me all the time. She has a crate that she sleeps in during the night next to the bed (we have cats that run around and she likes to chase). I don't really want to put her in a crate all the time when I leave, since she is in there at night, but I have had people say it would be fine..........The main thing I want to understand is if this is maybe separation anxiety, and what I could do about it, or is it something else? It is puzzling to me because she was fine at first when I was still going to work everyday. Maybe she is just getting spoiled by my being home, etc. so much? ANY ideas &/or suggestions would be welcome, because I don't know what to do and I Love her a lot!
    Kedi, Wylie, Rudy, and the dog Scout!

  2. #2
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    yorkster...
    The only thing I can say FOR SURE is to not
    listen to anybody that says"it would be fine'
    to leave your dog in the crate when you have
    to leave.(If she stays in a crate at night)
    There are experienced behavior people here at Pet Talk who can give you a more detailed answer to your problem.This problem is very
    solveable. Crateing to much won't help..
    Good Luck to you in finding the right
    answer...
    I've Been Boo'd

    I've been Frosted






    Men, it has been well said, think in herds. It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
    Charles Mackay, Scottish journalist, circa 1841

  3. #3
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    What we did when we first got Simba, was he stayed in his cage while we were gone at school and work, and he was out 24\7 when we were home.... I think its is fine to keep them in the cage, i always left a snack in there with him but never leave a bone (it could become soft and they could choke and u would never know) And to keep him occupied we kept a mirror between the wall and his cage, he would sit thre for hours staring at the mirror looking at himself! We also played with him a while befor we left, so he wouyld calm down and want to sleep, but now he is such a good boy his cage is collapsed and under my bed and he stays out 24\7!
    KayAnn And Simba, the super duper "Wunduh Mutt"

    Go Buccaneers!

  4. #4
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    Yorkster, I just read your profile and you have 2 cats and 1 dog, just like me! Our dog is a standard poodle, 8 months old. She has been housebroken for many months now and as soon as we felt confident that there would be no more potty mistakes she was allowed to sleep in our bed at night. You mention that she loves to be with you wherever you are, so I really doubt that she would have an accident overnight if left loose in your bedroom. Our Bella never leaves the bedroom at night because she wants to be where we are too. If the kitties are a problem you might consider temporarily shutting the door until some sort of bedtime routine has been established. Most likely once your dog is asleep the kitties will have a little peace and feel free to do their nighttime roaming without fear of being chased. I actually never had to close the bedroom door and my cats quite often come sleep on the bed beside her, once they know she is "out like a light."

    During the day we have to crate her if no one is going to be home. This is just because she still occasionally gets "into trouble" with her chewing, although we are even seeing improvement there. Since I only work part-time she is never in the crate for extended periods of time during the day and usually only 3-4 days per week. The minute someone is home she is out and free!

    Not knowing your dog's history regarding cats is probably a bit of a worry to you. That is where maybe I have had an easier time of it. Bella was only 8 weeks old when she came to live with us so she grew up with the cats. Also, the cats had lived previously with dogs so we felt confident that there would be a peaceful co-eexistence.

    I am not very knowledgeable about separation anxiety, although I know it is a real thing that dogs experience. Aly, one of our Pet Talk friends, has had some experience with that with her poodle, Reece. Fortunately with much patience he is now over that hurdle. Hopefully Aly will see this thread and be able to help you out there. Aly, any thoughts??

  5. #5
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    I would start by putting her in her crate while you are away and leaving her out at night. Maybe babygate the bedroom off with her in it. I was the exact opposite when I got Shaianne, I wanted her in the crate when I was gone and not at night. She did very well crated.
    Keeganhttp://www.dogster.com/dogs/256612 9/28/2001 to June 9, 2012
    Kylie http://www.catster.com/cats/256617 (June 2000 to 5/19/2012)
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    "we as American's have forgotten we can agree to disagree"
    Kylie the Queen, Keegan the Princess, entertained by Kloe the court Jester
    Godspeed Phred and Gini you will be missed more than you ever know..

  6. #6
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    There was a thread just last week on separation anxiety which Aly and myself addressed in detail. It was:

    How will I break my dog from me leaving the house? http://petoftheday.com/cgibin/ultima...c&f=2&t=000209

    You can refer to that thread for extensive updates on separation anxiety and some things you can do to hopefully correct the situation.

    [ September 20, 2001: Message edited by: Dixieland Dancer ]

  7. #7
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    We crate two of our dogs when we are away from home, but because of my husband's work schedule, they are rarely left alone for more than 4 hours at a time.
    At night, we either close our bedroom door or put a baby gate in the doorway.
    All four dogs don't mind going into their crates, but we like the idea of them being able to stretch out a little more and relax at night. (they are often belly-up and all stretched out during the night - in Buddy's case, that's about six feet!)
    We have found crating to be a wonderful technique. Just don't give any food-type products that the dog can choke on, such as bones, rawhides, etc. If you give a kong, only stuff it with smooth substances, like craemy peanut butter, fat-free cream cheese, or liverwurst. Also, take you dog's collar off when you crate him. If the dog gets stressed and bangs around inside the crate, it can get its license/tags stuck between the bars - a serious strangulation hazard.
    Good luck!
    Jessica and the Tack Pack: Paula, Buddy, Pup, and Boo!
    <img src='http://images.snapfish.com/336%3C%3B36323232%7Ffp6%3A%3Dot%3E2326%3D7%3B%3A%3 D42%3B%3Dxroqdf%3E2323387635497ot1lsi' border=2>
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  8. #8
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    Hi yorkster, you're absolutely right that this is seperation anxiety and it was triggered when she got used to being around you all the time. Refer to the post Dixieland Dancer showed you and that will offer some great tips.

    I think an important thing for you to do is be aloof with her while you are training her out of it. I know its hard! I had to be aloof with my Reece baby from the minute I brought him home and it nearly killed me! It will be worth it though if you won't have to worry about seperation anxiety anymore. Try not to let her follow you from room to room when you are home. Maybe give her a stuffed kong or something really great in the kitchen or another room. If she tries to take it to the room where you are, take it away. Only allow her to have it if she's in the kitchen alone. You may want to use baby gates to help you with this. Also try the ignoring her 10 minutes before you leave and after you get home.

    I know this is one of the hardest things to deal with (been through it twice this year!), but if you stick with the training, you should have great results. Be sure to look at that other post too, as it goes into more detail. Good luck!
    Alyson
    Shiloh, Reece, Lolly, Skylar
    and fosters Snickers, Missy, Magic, Merlin, Maya

  9. #9
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    Thanks everyone for your advice- I'm going to start letting my dog (Scout) sleep next to the bed. Her Crate is next to the bed too, but I don't think she thought of it as being 'with' us. So now it's crate when we are gone, sleep with us at night. I will have to figure something out to do about the cats, since they can get the door open. Next I will take your suggestions about keeping cool & firm when I go to leave and return home- that is going to be a tough one!!! One more question: is it okay for her to sleep on the bed?
    Kedi, Wylie, Rudy, and the dog Scout!

  10. #10
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    Yorkster,
    If you only knew the can of worms you just opened up with that question! LOL There are many differing opionions on that subject and some of them are quite passionate, mine included!

    Both my dogs sleep on the bed and I love every moment of it. I miss them when they are not there!

    However, that being said we need to consider the problem you are having with separation anxiety. Until you get this under control you need to make the dog know you are Alpha (leader of the pack) and that you are not going to abandon him. Your pup needs to learn to be content by its self before you can invite it to sleep with you. Take the measures discribed above by letting the dog have "time alone" while you are near but don't make big fusses over him. Make him sleep off the bed for the time being. Set up a comfortable place that is the dogs alone and let him stay there until you think the problem is better. It may take a couple of months but that is better than having the problem forever. Once he does okay when you are not around you can start out gradually to invite the dog onto the bed if that is what you want.

    Carrie,
    I know you are cringing at this advice. But I did recommend not sleeping in the bed for awhile! LOL

  11. #11
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    Ok.....I'll start having her sleep next to the bed this weekend- maybe I should get a dog bed? I have been working at being more firm with her about stuff. She is also just started obedience classes, which I hope will work. My husband is a problem though sometimes- he lets her get away with even more than I do! I doubt he will change much though, but I guess it's okay since I'm the one that is with her most of the time and takes her to classes. I get the feeling that my dog is also kinda.....I don't know what the word would be but the closest I can think of is angry, and maybe more like frustrated. Yesterday I was gone for several hours (school & B.day shopping) and could not take her with me. When I got home, I played ball with her for awhile. That is usually when she 'does her duties'. Well, she went potty, but about 10 minutes after coming in the house, she did a doo-doo on the carpet in the living room! I was in the other room and didn't catch in the act. Why would she do that? She had just been outside!
    Kedi, Wylie, Rudy, and the dog Scout!

  12. #12
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    It seems like the advice you are getting is literally all over the board. First, what I would like to say is to look it all over and then stay tuned in to your dog. You know her personality better than any of us who have not seen her or lived with her. Not all dogs are alike and different things seem to work with different dogs. Now that I've said that, I'm going to proceed with my own advice, with the qualification that I am not an expert.

    I think your dog would benefit from a fairly consistant routine. I would start by making sure you and she have some special times together....say maybe a walk in the morning and playtime in the afternoon. Be consistant and at approximately the same time of day, so she knows that these are her special times that she can count on. They don't have to be really long, maybe 20 - 30 minutes. She will also be getting her exercise and you can work on getting her used to associating a word with urinating and pooping. I have a dog who literally "forgets to go" while she is outside, so before she comes in, I can ask her, "Did you go potty?" and if she hasn't gone, she will turn around and "go" because she knows what I am talking about.

    As noted above, there are those who do not believe you should let a dog sleep on the bed. Well, there are those of us who believe that unless the dog is exhibiting a very dominant personality, sleeping on the bed is one of the most rewarding pleasurable experiences for both the human and the dog. Your dog has NOT been sleeping on the bed, so this problem cannot be blamed on that. In my humble opinion, your dog could get more of that together time she craves and will be denied during the day, at night.

    Some dogs seem real comfortable going to their crate for short periods of time during the day. If that is the case, then use it. If not, and she barks and seems agitated when you put her in her crate and you walk out the door, then I would feel using the crate would be exacerbating the problem. I frankly do not like the idea of using a crate for any length of time, i.e. while you are gone all day to work. In lieu of that, is there a kitchen area where she could be somewhat confined so she not get into as much as she could in the whole house? My ultimate solution for a dog with separation anxiety is not always practical...it's another dog! Please keep up on what is going on with you and Scout.

  13. #13
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    That is funny Rachel that you brought up about your dog that 'forgets' to go.....I think that is part of what happens with my dog. Everytime I open the back door to let her out, or go out with her, she thinks 'ball-time!' - either that or 'beach-time!' She gets sooo exited and won't do anything except BEG me to play with her. Sometimes she will stop and do her duties while we are playimg fetch (if she has to go REALLY bad, like in the morning), but otherwise it seems like all she can think of is playing ball! I have tried saying 'did you go potty?' and then taking her to her spot. If she goes, I say 'good potty!' But, so much of the time she does not go, and just stands there or jumps around wanting to play. I am not working right now, and go to school a couple nights a week, so she gets plenty of time with me. I take her on a run &/or play ball with her at least 3 times a day. She does not seem to mind going in her crate, as long as it is only for short periods of time. Last night I had her sleep next to the bed (no crate) for the first time, and she did fine. The only problem I have with that is that we have to shut the bedroom door because she will chase the cats who are up running around a lot during the night (one is 9 month old kitten still). I miss having my kitties in there with me, but the cats and dog have not worked it out yet- I know that will come with time. Either way, she will spend less time in her crate than before, which was most of the night when we slept (the crate was right next to the bed, so I thought she felt close to us, but maybe I was wrong). Anyway, I am hoping that sleeping with us, and not in her crate, along with some obedience classes and a more regular routine, will help. Thanks to everyone for their advice- I'll keep you posted on how it goes in the next few weeks.
    Kedi, Wylie, Rudy, and the dog Scout!

  14. #14
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    I'm very sorry, I have only just caught up with this thread.
    As you can see there are many ways that people think of their dogs and what their dogs are telling them. Many also misunderstand the classical terminology that is attatched to dog behaviour - the most common misunderstanding is the use of the word dominant.
    Your dog is doing it's very best to take on the dominant role in the house as you are giving it signals that you are unable to cope with the role. It therefore believes that it is responsible for your wellfare at all times and when you leave it alone it is unable to take care of you in the way that it thinks it should. To try and cope with it's panic it is marking it's territory VERY well in an attempt to make the home safer and better protected from the outside world. It is chewing and destroying furniture to further release it's feelings of stress and panic.
    The only thing you can so to help your dog is to take away the responsibility by becoming a more dominant animal than your dog is. Your dog has taken on it's role because every pack needs a leader to survive as a pack - as nobody else has taken the role your dog feels it has to. It has no idea how to carry out this role in a world of humans.
    I suggest you get a behaviourist to help you as soon as you can - crating your dog will confine it's panic and worry not end it.

  15. #15
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    Allowing your dog to sleep on your bed will add another, very strong, indication to your dog that you are confirming it's belief that you see it as the leader.

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