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Seperation Anxiety

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Malibugirl, Aug 5, 2009.


  1. Malibugirl

    Malibugirl PetForums Junior

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    Okay, so Ive just established (from here and from our dog trainer) that our 11month old rescue lurcher / lab cross is suffering from seperation anxiety.

    A short overview of our situation is as follows:-

    She comes to work with me most days and sits with me in my office (I bribed my boss). Whilst at my work she has 3 or 4 good walks at the park across the road. She has another good (2 mile) walk and run off the lead in fields near us every evening. She also has one if not two good long walks / runs on Saturdays and Sundays. Every Wednesday and every other Thursday, she stays at home as my husband doesn't start work until 2pm, so she is left from 1.30pm until 6pm at the latest. On those days she goes for a long walk / run in the morning and the same again in the evening. When we first started leaving her she was absolutely fine. We always leave her in the kitchen with her bed, plenty of water, a frozen treat filled kong, toys, old clothing smelling of us and the radio / TV on. Lately however, she has started refusing to go into the kitchen when she thinks we are going out (she is very clever), she messes when left (she is a very clean, house trained dog), she barks / howls / whines, scratches at the door (going to have to put a wood panel over it soon), jumps up on the draining board and tries to scratch the window, wont eat her food and gets very distressed.

    We have (since first having her) tried leaving her in the evenings, just for half hour etc. and we leave her at weekends for anything from half hour to 2 hours at a time. However, she is no longer happy at being left for any time and seems to get very distressed before we go out and whilst we are out. She then doesn't really want to know us when we get back. We dont fuss her before we go out or use the same routine each time we go out and we dont fuss her for a while when we get home. We have got some herbal tablets for her recommended by Pets at Home and these dont seem to be working either. She is not a smelly dog, but even when she hasn't messed, when we get home, the kitchen absolutely stinks of dog sweat and I am worried that she is getting so terribly anxious as normally she doesn't smell at all. She also must be going mad, jumping around, up etc. as the floor and surfaces are always plastered in hairs!

    I cant take her to work on those couple of days as I work all day and wont be able to come home and my husband is a Police Officer and cant really change his shifts. I thought that this was the perfect solution for a dog, having her with me most days then just leaving her for a couple of hours a week. But now I fear that because she comes with me most days, this has caused the seperation anxiety and I now dont know what to do for the best.

    Since we had her (only 5 weeks), she has got worse with following us everywhere we go. She wont let us out of her sight at all. If we are both in the lounge and one of us gets up to go to the toilet (doesn't matter who), she will follow us and sit outside the toilet door. When you come out of the toilet, she acts like she hasn't seen us for days!!!

    We cant leave her any longer than we do during the week but really dont want to see her getting stressed out like this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    HI. Sorry to hear you are having such a tough time. But well done for taking on a rescue!

    Seperation anxiety canbe very hard to treat and take quite a long time. You say you have only had her for 5 weeks, it can take up to 6 months for a dog to completely settle in.

    Does she sleep in the kitchen at night or is she just put there when you go out?

    You sound as though you are doing all the right things, it is just going to take time.

    I take it you have read up on the subject and the things not to do and do?

    x
     
  3. Dylan & Daisy

    Dylan & Daisy PetForums VIP

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    I think you need to gradually extend the time you spend together with the pup so that it slowly gets used to being without you for longer periods of time. Try it for a few mins to begin with by leaving it in one room, while your in another and then extend. Praise it when it's quiet after you left it and then returned.

    I know it can be hard especially when they whimper/cry but in the long run it will be better for you all.

    I started off with periods of 10 mins then gradually built it up and i can now leave mine for about 4 hours :D (my pup is now 19 weeks old). He may bark when i first go out but soon quietens down and sleeps (i've spied on him through the window Lol so i know he's ok really).

    Im at stay at home wife so im around him an awful lot but it's important for you to be able to continue your life somewhat the way it was before you had your pup and for him, to be able to have some down time too.

    It can be difficult but it is worth it so dont give up ;)
     
  4. Malibugirl

    Malibugirl PetForums Junior

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    She is only closed in the kitchen when she is left, although when we are home she does sleep in her bed in the kitchen most of the time during the day, but obviously she is not actually closed in there. She sleeps in our bedroom or on the landing at night. We tried closing her in the kitchen, but she just howled all night and didnt want any of it!!!

    We have done all the stages, i.e. leaving for 5 mins, then 10 mins, half hour, hour etc. But she is the same, however long we leave her for. She follows us everywhere and we have tried closing the lounge door if we go to the kitchen etc. but she just scratches at the door and goes mad.

    We left her on Sunday for one hour and she managed to escape through a tiny serving hatch in the kitchen (hubby left it open by accident) and although she didn't chew anything, she jumped up at the window in the lounge and broke all our blinds. She isn't destructive, she just genuinely doesn't want to be left and it looks like she was trying to eat her way out of the window, literally!!!!

    This is really getting hard now, I know we haven't had her for long, but we cant leave her anymore than we do due to work commitments as it is either as it is now or she has to be left all day, which I just wouldnt do.

    Please, any more help or advice would be greatly appreciated, Im desperate!! Thanks x
     
  5. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Hi have you tried putting a baby gate across the kitchen wheile you are in? That would be ok to start off with, she cans till see you but is limited to one room.
    Ignore any fuss she makes, and reward her for being calm :)

    x
     
  6. Malibugirl

    Malibugirl PetForums Junior

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    Hi PG. There wouldn't be any point in us trying a baby gate as she is lurcher cross and even at 11 months old can already clear 5 foot plus fence :(
     
  7. Malibugirl

    Malibugirl PetForums Junior

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    Bump

    Sorry, bumping this because I really would like some help and advice on this. Is there anyone else on here that has experience of this kind of behaviour or can help me? Thanks
     
  8. pizzapie

    pizzapie PetForums Newbie

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    Hi - I am new on here but we are having similar problems with our 2 year old rescue springer. He hates being left even for a few minutes and we too had to give in at night and have him in our room as the howling would have driven the neighbours crazy.
    I don't have to leave him often as I work at home but when I do I find that a long walk first helps a bit. Also, he was originally shut in one room where he couldn't see out of the window but since I decided to give him the run of the house while we are out he has calmed down a bit. He now sits by the window and licks it until I get home.
    He is unpredictable with the howling though. I leave the webcam on so I can check when I get back and sometimes he howls the entire time and other times it is just once for maybe 2 minutes.
    I have never left him for longer than 90 mins yet and I am dreading the day I may have to as I don't think he will cope.
    Good luck - I know how you are feeling x
     
  9. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    I had a lurcher foster, he could clear a baby gate. He had SA. So I bought 2 baby gates and put one ontop of the other. It worked really well.
    I also know of someone that made a frame that sat just inside the door frame, and it was covered in wire. It was for there back door to stop the kittens getting out but it worked!

    You really need to limit the amount of time the dog gets to spend with you while you are in, in the least stressful way. The best way being that the dog can still see you, but is limited to the other room.
    Or crate train her. My Dixie had SA as before we moved, she was with us all the time we were in. She was crate trained though so when we moved and had room for the crate in a different room, we put her in there. She did fuss at first but one 'quiet' would be all it took and now she is much better. She has got attached to our pup and crys if I take him out, so have had to put her in her crate and have him in the room with us.

    x
     
  10. fun4fido

    fun4fido PetForums Senior

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    Hi,

    Very sorry to hear about your Lurcher, separation anxiety (SA) is quite stressful for both dog and owners, never easy.

    You say you've had her 5 weeks, so did you start taking her to work with you 5 weeks ago, or is this a recent thing because of the SA?

    I would suggest that you seek the professional help and guidance of a behaviourist, I'm afraid you won't resolve this via this forum, this forum is great for many problems, and for support of course. But for separation anxiety you need the help of a qualified behaviourist.

    Separation anxiety can be resolved, but it takes time and consistency. A good behaviourist using kind reward based methods will guide you through a treatment plan.

    You will first need to see your vet so that they can diagnose SA, then your vet will need to fill out a referral form. Your vet can recommend a behaviourist, or you can choose one yourself. But either way you will need a referral form.

    These links should help:
     
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