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Separation Anxiety
  • Post edited by sunyata at 2013-06-06 10:24:36
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • Akai is almost 4 and he is fine in a crate traveling, so I don't think it is just the crate. He has very bad separation anxiety and was urinating in the house when we left and we tried to gate off an area to see if he would stop urinating, but that didn't work, so our last resort was the crate.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • WendyNCWendyNC
    Posts: 257
    You might look for a behavior specialist who is also a veterinarian. That way, if short-term medication is needed, you're working with someone who has the whole picture.
  • I have just realized that my shiba, Yoshi, has separation anxiety... I have tried many different things to help him but the only thing I am finding that helps is putting a muzzle on him :( I hate doing this every day but if I dont he destroys the crate, poops on the floor, and barks and howls all day long with out losing his voice (since I live in an apartment, I dont want this to irritate my neighbors).
    With the muzzle on he only poops in his crate maybe once a week... He seems to be fine with the crate itself - he goes in there on his own... I have moved the crate to different areas of my apartment, location doesnt seem to make a difference... I leave a radio on for him during the day and I dont think that really make a difference but I do it anyway... When I get home he does not get super excited in his crate he just stands there waiting for me to let him out... and he doesnt make a fuss if I dont let him out right away...
    I am considering buying a thundershirt for him - do you think this will help him? What other suggestions do you have?  He is just over 11 months old and I am hoping he will outgrow this behavior but until then I need to try anything to help him, I am tired of giving him a bath and cleaning poop out of the crate...  Are there any pheromones that you would suggest trying? Or is the next step going to the vet?
  • I understand what your saying here and it makes perfect sense... but I don't have any other option than to leave him home alone, I cant take him to work, I can't afford doggie day care and I don't know anyone that is home when I am at work to leave him with... I work too far away to come home on lunch....I'm running out of options....
  • I purchased a thunder shirt and a pheromone collar tonight... I plan to put it on him tomorrow and I am getting out of work 3.5 hours early.... I think I'll try those things with out the collar....
  • Thanks... I'll see if I can find a behaviorist.....
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    And stop feeding him furnature.
  • phipsphips
    Posts: 106
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    I would like to remind anyone deciding to use a thunder shirt that it is only neurologically effective for 20 min at a time. Thunder shirts are not supposed to be on a dog for hours on end or 8 hrs a day. Basically it is a temporary measure until a storm passes. Anything more than that and it basically cruel and unusual punishment, particularly on a dense coated breeds.

    dmarie485: Wow this is rather a sad situation. You may actually be contributing to more to his anxiety with the methods you mention. Getting help from behaviorist is a better idea than trussing up a dog or muzzling for extremely long durations! At 11 months you need to get some help from a professional as the problem with your dog most likely will not go away on its own.

    Phips: Not all dogs like to be outside alone. If Sunny is scared of the out of doors on a walk it can be assumed he may be fearful alone in the yard also. I would not leave him in the yard by himself, as this is how many Shibas end up lost due to escape or injure themselves if something unusual happens. It might be better to get and ex-pen or use a crate (if he will go in one) to keep him safe when he visits .

    Snf
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2012-08-31 21:54:54
  • phipsphips
    Posts: 106
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
    Post edited by Kobe1468 at 2013-07-27 17:56:24
  • DjinnDjinn
    Posts: 161
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @Kobe1468

    Thanks for posting the article!!
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
  • NekopanNekopan
    Posts: 403
    I think the main problem is that most people hope for an instant solution for separation anxiety. There isn't one.

    IMO it's one of the hardest issues to deal with. You have to leave the dog alone for tiny amounts of time until he realizes you will come back. In the meantime you have all the headaches of destructive behaviour, urination/defecation in your house, and noise complaints from the neighbours. If you're lucky, it'll take a couple months to help your dog. If you're not, you could have a great plan that you stick to only to find that there's nothing short of anti-anxiety medication that will help you make progress.
  • Kobe1468Kobe1468
    Posts: 1590
    Post edited by Kobe1468 at 2013-08-05 23:15:39
  • NekopanNekopan
    Posts: 403
    @Kobe1468

    That is an excellent article. I've read it before somewhere else, or WDJ decided to reprint it again. My dog is has high/moderate SA anxiety and I've gone through pretty much all of those steps. He is still not "cured", but now he can be left alone without barking. Separation anxiety is really not something I would wish on anyone.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Bump-

    As of yesterday morning Quake who will be four years old in August has developed separation anxiety when I leave for work in the morning. Yesterday he whined and cried before I left for work and then he clawed at the door and when I came home he had done damage to the door frame of the front door. I did not make a big deal when I came home about the damage. Today he whined at the door when I was leaving for work again and I could hear him trying to get out and clawing at the door when I was already down the hall. He clawed for less than one minute. I had to go to work and felt so horrible that he was so anxious.

    I believe his anxiety might have been triggered by the fact that a dog he hates lunged at him on Monday. The owners let her sniff at our door when they pass by to walk her and I think maybe he feels anxious. I am currently looking for a person who is a behaviorist and trainer and one has been recommended to me by a guy at work who has been training dogs for ten years.

    Today I will leave work early and go get another Kong toy for him that I will only give him when I leave for work. I will also buy a gate to put in the bedroom so he stays in the bedroom and cannot come to the front door. The guy at work also suggested a "scat mat" to put in front the door but I am reluctant to get that.

    I have read the article in the above post. The only time Quake has shown any separation anxiety was for a couple of days after his neuter back in February 2014 and after that he was fine. I cannot think of anything else that could have triggered his anxiety except that particular dog that he hates.

    I will also be buying a video cam so I can keep an eye on him while I am at work.

    Thanks for letting me share and I will keep you updated on the finding of a behaviorist/trainer and on Quake's progress regarding the separation anxiety.



  • @antoinette

    Is it ONLY when you leave for work? What happens if after work you go grocery shopping?


  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    When I get home from work he greets me at the door as he usually does while carrying his favorite toy and running around happy and tail wagging. When I am a few minutes late he does the same thing except he adds a little low growl but happy and tail wagging. When I am home he used to be right close to me when I was on the computer in the office but now he stays in the living room which is next to the office. He has become even more independent when I am home. If I go grocery shopping on the weekend or go anywhere else and stay gone a while there is no problem. It is only when I leave for work in the mornings this week the last two days.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    I was taking language classes on Mondays and Wednesdays evenings and his dog walker whom he adores would walk him. When I would get home on those nights he would be happy to see me but not do the low growl with the tail wagging. My classes ended on July 6 and ever since then it has just been the two of us with me getting home at my normal time even on Mondays and Wednesdays. Could it be that he is 'too bonded" with me and maybe I need for Josh, his dog walker to spend time with him. His dog walker is not available during the day because he works a full time job but I was just thinking of that as a way to get Quake's and my interaction to be less intense.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    I just ordered the book "I'll Be Home Soon-How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety". In the meantime, I am still interviewing behaviorists/trainers, in other words a behaviorist who is also a trainer. I am going to leave the office early and get him a new Kong toy that he will only be given to him when I leave for work so it's something he can look forward to. While I am there I will see if the book regarding separation anxiety is available at Petco so I can start on a plan right away. I also just realized that I need to calm down and know that we can get through this. I do not need to be adding my anxiety and worry to the mix!! Goodness, I feel like I did I was raising when my son as a single Mom and he had an issue. Must calm down. Breathe!!
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Update on Quake's separation anxiety: I left for work today and he seemed fine and did not even go to the door which I took to be a good sign. However, after I locked the door and I walked down the hall of my condo I could hear him whining and scratching at the door trying to get out. I waited until he stopped doing that and went back in and gave the command "back away" which he did back away from the door. I went in said "good boy" and then went and got the Kong toy from the freezer which I had filled with a few treats and a little Greek yogurt and gave it to him. I then left and he did not whine or scratch. I probably screwed up thinking he was fine and not distracting him with the Kong toy in the first place. On Monday and every workday, I will just call him to the kitchen and give him his Kong toy that can distract him for a while. I am still in the process of interviewing a behaviorist/trainer combination. I left him with his favorite doggy CD "Divinity of Dogs" playing. Also, his pet sitter is working from home today and will go by and spend some time with him.
  • On the weekends, I would use some time to leave and come back quickly. Leave him alone for ten minutes... then a few hours later for 15.... get him used to the idea of you leaving and coming back over and over. Just my two cents.
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Today Quake seems to be better. I had to go several times to the laundry room down the hall since we live in a condo. I told Quake "be right back" like I also do whenever I will be gone a short time. He was fine and did not whine or tear up the front door. I also went to the condo office to get a package and Quake was fine. Tomorrow I will be gone longer as I will be going to the pharmacy and grocery store. I hope he exhibits no separation anxiety. I have ordered the CLAWGUARD which is a plastic cover that protects the door and door frame. It will arrive on Tuesday.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007JXEVU6?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00


    I will be giving Quake a special Kong when I leave for the office on Monday and hope that will distract him. Anyway, I just wanted to provide an update. As of today, Quake did not exhibit any symptoms of separation anxiety.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Well, Quake's separation anxiety came back today. He had done fine yesterday when I increased the time he spend alone to 45 minutes. Today I left for one hour to go run errands. I told him "Bye, bye. Be a good boy and Mum loves you". I have told him that for that each time I would be gone at least an hour for the 1-1/2 years that he has lived with me. It has always worked fine until now. He did not whine or cry when I left so I thought all was good. When I came back and he heard my foot steps coming down the hall of our condo leading to our front door he starting crying and while I was opening the door he was scratching at it. When I got in the door I saw he had been scratching probably more than just during the time I was unlocking the door. I got inside and he started barking at me. I ignored his barking and went to the kitchen to get a broom to keep up the mess. After he calmed down, I asked him to sit and told him "good boy" and I pet him.

    What concerns me most is that he will get a splinter on his paw or eat some of the paint which he has tried to do.

    One of the things I did while I was gone was buy some more treats to go into his Kong toys and I also bought a new Kong toy that I can put some of his kibble in and it is a Kong toy that might keep him distracted for longer.

    I feel really frustrated right now because I have no idea what is causing his separation anxiety so I cannot even attempt to desensitize him.

    When I am home he is not particularly clingy at all. Most of the time he is not even I the same room with me just like always.

    I am going to call the vet to see what she suggests. I will ask her about melatonin and see what she says.

    One of the behaviorists/trainers that was suggested to me by a co-worker who is a trainer suggested for me to use a "scat mat" in front of the front door. There is no darned way I will shock my little boy like that. I know what it feels like to have anxiety and I sure would not want to be shocked myself!!!






  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Well, I went back to Petco and to CVS and was gone one hour. Before I left I called Quake to the kitchen, told him to sit and left him with a new Kong toy and simply said "Be a good boy and take care of everything". He stayed in the kitchen with the Kong toy and I immediately left.

    This time he did not cry or whine when he heard me coming back down the hall upon my return or when he heard my keys at the door.

    This time he had not torn up the door or done any other damage. He barked at me just a little bit and not as angry as he had earlier in the day while he ran around which I ignored and I walked away. I went back into the hallway when he was calm, told him to sit and petted him and told him "Good quiet boy" in a very calm and quiet voice.

    I also bought an Adaptil diffuser and refill which will last for sixty days. I have already plugged it into the area in the entryway where he likes to hang out.

    I was not able to talk to the Vet about giving him melatonin because she was only taking emergency calls today. I am also looking for a new vet.

    Anyway, that is the latest.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    This morning I took Quake on his usual long walk and then we came back home and proceeded with our regular Monday morning ritual. I did put on a different CD that is relaxing music that I had also played for him on Sunday. Before I left I gave him a rolled up sweaty tee shirt of mine that I had rolled up into a ball and he put it in his bed. Before I left for work I called him to the kitchen, asked him to sit, said "be a good boy" in a calm voice and then gave him a Kong toy. I left and he did not whine or scratch at the door.

    The guy at work who is a trainer part time was pestering me about not having gotten the scat mat.

    No thanks. I will not be making an anxiety problem worse by shocking my furry Pain!

    I am hoping for the best when I get home today. I do understand that it could take a while to get results. I just want my Quakey to be happy and at peace.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • Atlus2015Atlus2015
    Posts: 85
    I didn't know what a Scat Mat is until today, I looked it up, and I think this is a terrible thing to do for a dog, I don't believe under most circumstance should shock / inflicting pain a sensible way of training a dog, especially for "separation anxiety". To me, your guy at work doesn't seem to be very pet friendly at all :/
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    @sunyata-To answer your question he said the scat mat would keep Quake from scratching the door. I told him that I thought that using the scat mat would only make Quake more anxious and also less secure and would probably make him to chew or engage in other destructive behavior. He just smirked and shook his head at me; and said I was wasting my money on the Adaptil, Kong toys and relaxing music. He said that he tells his clients not to waste their money on those things but go straight for the solution, i.e. the scat mat. The guy has allegedly been training dogs for ten years at Petco. I cannot even imagine how many dogs he has messed up. He actually has a "behaviorist" that agrees with him on this. I looked up the name of said behaviorist and she has gone out of business. Btw, this guy's pit bull has completely torn up the guy's living room sofa, scratched up and/or chewed all his living room furniture and now is working on the guy's mattress due to separation anxiety issues. I would be looking at his negative and abusive training methods if I were him.

    @Atlus2015-No, the guy is not pet friendly at all and claims to be a certified dog trainer.

    Anyway, enough about that idiot from work. I came home at my usual time and noticed Quake had scratched a little on the door but not very much. He was happy to see me and did not bark at me. He ran around with a toy in his mouth like he always had before he s when I come home. I waited until he was quiet, went to him, asked him to sit which he did and pet him a little without overindulging. I told him "good boy, quiet Quake". I changed clothes and we went about our usual evening routine.

    @sunyata-I will be setting up cameras in the bedroom, entryway hall, and kitchen which is where has access when I am at work.

    I feel we have made some progress at least in the severity of the damage and in Quake's reaction when I came back home. He was not angry at me when I got home this afternoon.

    I have ordered two cds called "Canine Lullabies" that a forum member said helped with her dog's separation anxiety. I had been using "The Divinity of Dogs" and "Thrugh A Dog's Ear" but maybe he got bored with those. Also, the article I posted yesterday said to also play the same music when you are home so the dog does not associate it just with you being away. I am still contacting behaviorists/trainers.

    I really appreciate all the support from Forum Members and as well as the resources I have found by doing searches through google.

    Thanks again! I feel very hopeful.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    Another update: Quake has been much more calm tonight even when we hear noises out side. I wonder if the Adaptil is helping. He is resting in the bedroom right now while I am in the office right off the living room.

    I will be taking him or his last walk at 9:00 PM. I always keep to the same schedule. I also make sure we each get eight hours of sleep.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    @Sunyata-That is an excellent point about the self-rewarding aspect of the scratching. The thick plastic door protector is coming in today so even if he tries to scratch, he might not like the plastic texture and perhaps it will be less self-rewarding. I can set up an ex pen around the door but only for keeping him away from it when I am home because that is our only entry/exit point since we live in a condo.

    Today I left him with my stinky tee shirt tied up and rolled up which I put in his bed, different soft music that he does not associate with Mum leaving, and two Kong toys that he was working on in the kitchen when I left. And of course, I have the Adaptil plugged up 24/7.

    Thanks again for your advice.
  • Atlus2015Atlus2015
    Posts: 85
    I'm glad he is getting better!

    As for setting up cameras... it will be fun to see what he is up to when you are gone! :D
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    A friend who has set up video cameras to keep tabs on his fur babies gave me the link to some cameras he bought. I will be purchasing two cameras initially--one for the bedroom where Quake usually stays and one for the entryway so I can get a look at the front door.

    http://www.vuezone.com/


  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    @Sunyata-That is a good idea. I will look into that. Thanks again.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    This is my first opportunity to post since I got home from work. Unfortunately, Quake had done a lot more damage to the door--about as much damage as he had on the first day of his door scratching which was last Wednesday. I picked up the mess including splinters and then waited until he was quiet and took him for a walk. A few hours later, I left him for about twenty minutes while I went to by some melatonin and he was fine--no whining and no damage to the door. The plastic cover for the door did not come in. I have decided to work from home tomorrow if I can get special permission saying that I have an emergency. I just do not want to leave him alone and have him scratch the door and get a splinter stuck in his paw. I do not have a car so I have to rely on the mail service which amazon was supposed to deliver the plastic cover so it will probably be delivered tomorrow. I just now gave him the melatonin to see how he reacts to it.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    The book "The Dog Who Loved Too Much" by Dr. Nicholas Dodman did come in and I am reading the section on Separation Anxiety. I will read the whole book but that section is what I need most right now.
    @Sunyata-I have sent out an email to my condo community asking if anyone has baby gates that I can borrow in case they won't let me work from home tomorrow. I have ordered some online but they will not get here until Thursday.

    I have sprayed the door and frame with bitter apple. Quake has not scratched at the door when I am home but he has tried to go sniff at it tonight. Now he has stayed away from it since I doused it in bitter apple. @Sunyata-I figure the bitter apple may lessen the self-rewarding aspect.

    Thanks for letting me share this and I thank you for your advice.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589

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