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Dog anxiety

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Nick Hudson, May 11, 2021.


  1. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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    I have a 5 year old coonhound and lab mix and he’s alway been an amazing dog and he’s super intelligent. But I went away for college and found my wife and had a child and unfortunately he’s stayed with my grandparents for 3 years. I just bought my first home and finally got to a point that I can give him the care and attention he deserves. This is my third day with him in the house with the family and he constantly whines and whimpers and has an absolute come apart when I leave for work. He howls for nearly an hour afterwards. I have a thunder shirt and cbd treats for him already and help a little but doesn’t quite smooth him completely. What else can I do?? Also any tricks to keep him from trying to dart out of the door every time someone opens it??
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Did you just bring him to your home and then leave him go to work?
     
  3. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums VIP

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    It takes time for a dog to settle in a new situation and, although he's been your dog throughout,it sounds like your situation is very different to what has been his home for the last three years.If you look at it through his eyes,so to speak,you might see how different it all is.I don't think there are any quick fixes that work in the longer term,to setting a 'new' dog in.Time,familiarity,establishing a routine that works for him are all important.
     
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  4. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    I presume he’s not been left alone for extended periods in the last three years? It really doesn’t surprise me that he’s suffering separation anxiety. He’s going to be anxious, anyway - the life that he’d got used to over the last three years has been taken away. He doesn’t know why and he really doesn’t know what’s going on. I suspect he’s terribly stressed right now. The best thing would have been to spend time with him while he settles down. You do need to spend time with this poor dog.
    He is probably behaving like a rescue dog in that he may have latched onto you (rescue dogs often find one person they feel they can trust and stick to them like glue), so your departure is particularly traumatic for him. Is the rest of the family at home with him?
     
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  5. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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    Yes my wife is a stay at home mom and my kids are too young for school
     
  6. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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    No I picked him up on Saturday so I spent the whole weekend with him.
     
  7. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    That really isn’t long enough tbh.

    It took about 3 weeks to settle my rescue into his new home.

    Honestly, I’d take him back to your grandparents and wait until you can take enough time off to get him settled into 1) living without them and 2) a strange environment and 3) being left alone in that new environment.
     
  8. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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  9. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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    He’s never alone my wife is a stay at home mom and my kids are too young for school
     
  10. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    What does your wife do when he whines and howls?

    As above, it really does take time for a dog to settle in to a new home, and after 3 years with your grandparents, this is a new home for him even if you are known to him.

    The first 3 or so weeks he's going to be unsettled and disoriented, that's normal. You and your wife's job is to reassure him, help him learn the routine of the house and start developing some predictability for him.

    He needs plenty of opportunities to blow off stress through physical and mental activity.
    What does his daily routine look like?
     
  11. He doesn't know your wife and your kids so needs to be treated similar to new rescue dog.
    If he was happy and settled with your grandparents and they are happy to continue take care of him is it an option?
     
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  12. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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    My grandfather passed in February and my grandmother is scared she’ll hurt herself trying to take care of him so that why we had such a sudden exchange of him
     
  13. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear about your grandpa.
    I think you need to take a step back and - as has been suggested - treat your dog as if he’s a rescue. He needs time to settle in after all the upheaval. If you think of it from his point of view, he’s no idea what’s going on. He’s gone from the only home he knew (really) to some strangers (whether or not he remembers you yourself is somewhat immaterial) with small children (and many dogs find small children difficult to deal with.) There’s a LOT going on, a lot of change. So, help him by just letting him settle down. I know Coonhounds are energetic dogs, but I’d be tempted not to take him out to exercise - just play with him in the garden (if you have one) and let him settle. Get him using his nose and his mind by hiding some treats around the garden/yard/house for him to sniff out. Dogs find ‘sniffing’ relaxing so that will help.
    I do suspect he’s latched on to you - perhaps because he's got some dim memory of you from the past, possibly because you just seem like the guy he needs to be with - so, your disappearance after a couple of days, to be left with complete strangers may be doubly painful for him.
    What does your wife do when he starts barking, howling, or whatever? I’m not suggesting she does, but shouting is certainly not the answer - that’s liable to make him more anxious. This poor guy needs some gentle handling.
    It takes time for dogs to settle in to new homes - see the attached poster to give you a rough idea.
    I’d also try and train him to get used to you coming and going by leaving for just a couple of minutes (or less) to start off with, slowly building the time up as he gets used to it. You can give him a stuffed Kong to keep him occupied (licking - also good for helping dogs relax). If you can, leave and return through different doors. Also, avoid any routine before you leave. For example, if, efore you leave for work, you pick up your keys, say “I’m going to work now” to your wife, grab your jacket and leave through the same door, break that routine because gell start anticipating your departure which will add to his anxiety. Do things in different orders - it’s hard because we’re creatures of habit, but have a think about how you can vary your routine. Like I say, use different doors if you can. Vary it.
    Also, when you leave, don’t make a big fuss; same when you get home. Just walk out or walk in: “no big deal, I come and I go; but I always come back”. That’s what you want to drill into your dog’s head. If he destroys anything because of his anxiety, take a deep breath, don’t make a fuss, do NOT tell him off or punish him - he will have no idea what he’s done wrong but he WILL start fearing your return potentially.
    The ideal situation would have been to be with him for a good few days while he just settles, but that sounds like a busted flush, so you’re going to have to manage his anxiety as best you can. Remember: it’s anxiety, and punishing him (shouting, or worse) is certainly not the answer.
    Good luck.
     

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  14. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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    My wife is amazing with him and she used to work for a shelter so she has a better understanding of what to do than I do. She never yells at him and I don’t think she has the capability to do so. I greatly appreciate your advice, a lot of the other comment seem kind of hateful about me taking him back but it worked out for my grandmother that I was looking to get a pup.
     
  15. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    What does your wife do to help him settle when he's howling?
    What is is usual daily routine like as far as outings, training, exercise etc.?
     
  16. Silverpaw

    Silverpaw PetForums VIP

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    So sorry to hear about your grandfather.I hope your grandmother is ok.It must have been hard for her to have to make the decision for the dog to come to you but she couldn't do anything else if she thought she might get hurt.
    I'm sure things will settle down with your dog, it's amazing how resilient they are.There are some really knowledge people on here in terms of behaviour.The only advice I can give,based on having rescue dogs,is time,patience and an understanding that the dogs behaviour is meaningful to him,even if it's hard for anyone else to understand.
     
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  17. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear about your grandad.

    The dog just needs time to adjust to the change and, as has been mentioned, he’s latched onto you specifically during this big adjustment.

    BTW I don’t think any responses or comments have been hateful.
     
    #17 Lurcherlad, May 11, 2021
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  18. Nick Hudson

    Nick Hudson PetForums Newbie

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    My wife takes him and my daughters on long walks through the park and around our neighborhood while I’m at work. I’m pretty active myself so we’ll go for runs and play in the creek when I’m off work or on the weekends. And he’s police trained from Louisville, ky. ( not an old police dog, just police trained)
     
  19. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Police trained as in tracking?
    He might really love doing nosework and playing hide and seek with the kids. That will keep his mind busy, engage him with the whole family, and let him use those instinctual drives.
    I'd wait for him to settle first though, but once he's feeling more settled may be worth looking in to a training group.
    If you're in the Louisville KY area, I might be able to find some contacts in that area.
     
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