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Newbie with seperation anxiety problem

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by summer71, Jul 29, 2009.


  1. summer71

    summer71 PetForums Newbie

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    Hello,

    First of all I have been reading though the threads on here and have found lots of help with seperation anxiety and other stuff on here, you all seem very wise.

    My situation is this I have three dogs who I have had for 18months plus, they are no problem, all get on, are left in the utility room when we go out, sleep out there - no problems.

    I then heard about a dog in a local dogs home who had been there for several months and wasn't handling it at all well, in fact they had only just been able to get a lead on him and take him for a walk after three months. He had gone completely in on himself and was just terrified all the time. He had been put on the unhomeable list to be put down. Anyway, to cut a long story short we are fostering him.

    He is a great dog, lovely in the house, great with my other dogs, children etc, clean - the perfect dog. Except when we try to leave him, first we tried leaving him in the utility room but he barked all the time we were out, chewed the door and was very stressed.

    He barked all night too so he now sleeps in my sons room which is fine, he just sleeps on the floor all night. He doesn't mind who he is with as long as he is with someone.

    Now I have read loads on the subject and I have set up a crate for him and he has his meals in it and a kong, he will lie quite nicely in it but does whine a bit, we don't have to be in the room with him. He appears to be used to a crate so I suspect he has used one before.

    I have set it up in the dining room which is the quietest room of the house, from external noises, we do hang out in the dining room a lot so its a family room in his eyes (hopefully). I also thought I would leave the tv on when we are out - its on most of the time anyway thanks to dd! And I have instructed the kids to ignore him for 5 mins before we go out and when we come back.

    We haven't left him in it yet, but we are going to have to go out tommorow for an hour or so, do you think he will be okay? I am fully expect him to whine and bark but am hoping he won't get as stressed in there as in the utility room.

    It is very early days with him, we have only had him for four days. I have read on here lots of advice and help but does anyone have any sucess stories to encourage me or any timescales of how long it can take.

    The family are really falling in love with this dog and we are talking about keeping him but I'm not sure I could cope with him with this issue. Many years ago we took on a rescue dog with similar issues, but much worse, it sadly turned out she had a brain tumor and we had to have her put down, but in the meantime she caused us loads of heartache, damage and complaints from the neighbours and I really don't want to go through that again.

    The dog is 6 by the way, labxgsd.

    Look forward to any advice you may have.
     
  2. rona

    rona Guest

    I hope that some one can be off help, unfortunately I have no experience of this.
    Well done for fostering him :)
     
  3. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Hi, well done for taking him on :)

    How much time during the time you are home is the dog spending with you?

    Reason I ask is most cases of SA I have come across occur mainly because the dog is only ever expected to be shut away when everyone is out.
    The best way to start would be to have him in the room next to the one you are using, seperated with a baby gate.
    Ignore any whining/barking, or attention seeking. make sure he can be comfortable in this room, cover his crate to make it like a den, make sure there are comfy blankets in there and that he has a few toys and chews to keep busy with. Kongs, as you mentioned using, are great, have you tried blocking the small home with soft cheese, and filling the kong with meat stock and freezing in? It will take him far longer to get it out.

    Also, how much exercise does he get before being left? A dogs are less likely to settle if they have not recently been for a walk before being left, so have more energy to become stressed about being left.

    Is there any way someone can be in most of the time just to help sort out this dogs SA? As one sure way of going backwards is after days of building up leaving him for a few minutes at a time, is having to go out for a few hours.

    I would also have him sleep in his crate at night- whether still in your sons room or not is your choise, but it will help if he sleeps overnight where he is to be left when you are out. You could wean him off sleeping in your son's room by gradually moving his crate out the bedroom door as he learns to settle. If he cries in the night, take him out for a quick pee with no fuss then back to bed.

    Sorry if it seems I have rambled on a bit! Hope it helps :)

    x
     
  4. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    HI. Welcome to the forum and well done for helping this dog out.

    If he is left with the other dogs does he still behave like this?

    You have been given some good advice, I think it is just about being consistant and not allowing the dog to always be around people when you are in. x
     
  5. summer71

    summer71 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    Thanks for your replies.

    He has a good walk in the mornings, on lead only at the moment, he does get physically tired by the end of the walk as he is very thin and doesn't have much muscle on his back legs, he is being checked out at the vets on Saturday.

    We have a stair gate on the kitchen door and he is quite happy to lie quietly in the dining room out of sight to me, and he could get in as he will just jump over the stairgate :D if he choses.

    Also, if he is lying in the living room and I go out the room I pull the door shut behind me and leave him in there. He just sits by the door. He has spent some time in the crate today and settled really well with us wandering around the house, he does whine a bit and barked a couple of times but then settled down - should I ignore the barking & whining?

    I shall try the kong freezing - thanks for that.

    I could put the crate in my sons room, but I'm not sure about leaving him in it for that long until I have had his hips checked - I must admit I am a bit worried about them - he looks awful from behind and our last GSD had hip problems.

    Its not too much of a problem leaving someone at home with him at the moment, as it is the summer holidays. Should I still put him in his crate so he gets the idea but leave my son in the house or leave the dog loose in the house with him?

    It makes no difference at all if I leave my dogs with him when we go out, he pretty much ignores my dogs.

    Thanks
     
  6. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Yes, ignore any whining completely!
    And although there will be someone around as it is the summer hols, you have to plan ahead, so whatever his routine will be after the hols, get him used to it now.

    I am still trying to get next door to understand that while having loads of time to spend with the dog is great, it will be much worse when the kids sudenly go back to school, and the SA will get worse.

    x
     
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