Dog has separation anxiety and keeps baying when we are gone

posted 3 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@CorvusCorax:  how old is he ? A bark collar should would work.ive never had to use them on my dogs. But u may have to start leaving him in the room by his self for 5 minutes at a time and working your way up and see how he does. But also talk to a vet a see if they have any suggestions for his anxiety. 


Post # 5
534 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’ve used the bark collar on my very jumpy, friendly dog who likes to bark at everyone.  The spray just startles him and then he keeps barking.  It might be upsetting to a dog with separation anxiety, although I don’t know for sure it would be.

For anxiety, there are a few things you can try, though none of them helped me when my dog was having separation anxiety.  There is a spray that mimics the scent of a mother dog and is supposed to be soothing to dogs to remind them of being puppies all comfy with their mom.  There is also this kind of jacket that you can wrap the dog in that’s supposed to be comforting (like swaddling a baby).  You can get either of those at a pet store.  

But like I said, this didn’t work for my dog…we just had to ride it out.  It was a tough few months but eventually she adjusted!

Post # 6
7185 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

I would suggest crate training him if you haven’t already. My dog has separation anxiety, and she feels safe when we crate her when we leave the house.

Post # 7
5208 posts
Bee Keeper

@CorvusCorax:  Have you considered getting another dog? Honestly, I know it sounds like twice as much work, but my own experience was that it really helped with alot of behavior problems. When my puppy started the “let me nip you so you’ll come rough house with me” stuff, my husband and I realized she needed a play mate other than us. We got our second puppy, and the nipping stuff stopped. If there is another dog there, it would probably lessen the seperation anxiety. Just a thought 🙂

Post # 8
1024 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@CorvusCorax:  Our pup has severe separation anxiety and howls and barks and whines the ENTIRE time we are gone (we leave for up to 3 hours at a time, no more and he’s in a crate). We record him while we’re gone. We’ve tried a Thundershirt (40$ at Petsmart) and that didn’t work. We are now trying a DAP plug in spray (Dog Appeasing Pheremone) that’s supposed to be super effective. It’s going to take a few weeks to start working but we’re hoping it helps.

I’d say start with the crate. Bring it up at your vet and they can definitely prescribe anti anxiety meds.

Make sure he’s getting enough exercise, too. 

Try giving him a special treat only when you leave (like a frozen kong with peanut butter so it takes awhile for him to get through). That way he associates you leaving with a good thing.

BTW-these are just suggestions. I realize how frustrating it is. We live in a townhome so we share walls with neighbors and I feel horrible about it.

I’d stay away from the bark might make him MORE anxious and scared when you leave!

Post # 9
229 posts
Helper bee

One of my best friends’ dogs had major, destructive separation anxiety (she would whine and chew on anything and everything). Something that really helped was a tincture called Rescue Remedy, which you spray in the dog’s mouth when you’re about to leave and it helps them deal with stress. There’s a human and a pet version. I would definitely recommend it. 

Post # 11
2365 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Crate training! It’s a wonderful tool. It creates their own space, where they feel secure. If he feels safe and secure, he’s less likely to display anxiety behavior

Post # 12
11668 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@CorvusCorax:  There are some desensitization techniques you can use but they take a lot of time.  

You can look them up online, but it’s about decreasing their anxiety over you leaving. So, an example would be you leave and the second they start barking you come back in.  You repeat this over and over again, and the length of time they go without barking increases until it is non-existent.

Crate training might not work – my dog that had separation anxiety escaped out of every single crate I ever put her in. It can be very dangerous if they have anxiety and try to get out of a crate.

Post # 13
1024 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@CorvusCorax:  Yeah I notice a difference with the thundershirt on and off, it just doesn’t help our little boy because he’s so severe. Like he’ll be running around all hyper and you put the shirt on him and he immediately goes up on the couch and falls asleep. Once you take the shirt off, he’s crazy again lol. Also he just got neutered and he has been wearing his thundershirt constantly because he’s supposed to be calm. I took it off of him for like 10 minutes and he immediately started licking his wound! I put it back on and he hasn’t licked it since. So it definitely can help.

Post # 14
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Try distracting him with a food-dispensing toy (kong, kibble nibble, twist n treat) before you leave the house – put his breakfast kibble in it so he has something to focus on besides you guys leaving. Is he destructive when you guys aren’t home? The problem with the citronella collar is that it’s an aversive stimulus (even if not painful) that you will be giving him when he is already anxious about the fact that you are not home – this may add to his anxiety. Densensitization and counter conditioning techniques MUST be used if you are thinking about starting anti-anxiety meds. The meds are not supposed to be used as a quick “fix it”.

The ASPCA website has a lot of good information on counterconditioning suggestions, but you should consult with a veterinarian who has had training in behavior medicine if not a veterinary behavior specialist.

Post # 15
629 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

In addition to many other great suggestions, have you thought about a doggie day care? Depending on your area they may or may not be reasonably priced.

Post # 16
6 posts

You’re not going to find a quick fix for separation anxiety. Sorry.
DON’T use the anti-bark collars. It won’t fix the underlying problem & might make it worse. My dog didn’t bark much, but she did do hundreds of dollars worth of damage trying to dig her way out of the apartment.
DO use the desensitization techniques PP mentioned above. It takes time & effort, but I works. If you need a program to follow, contact a reputable dog trainer who has experience with this kind of stuff. We followed a trainer’s program & can now leave our dog up to 10 hours, & she’s even been fine with another person while we’re on vacation. 
What worked for us: we had our dog on Prozac while we were training. 
We started desensitizing her to the cues that we were leaving, like putting on real clothes, blow drying my hair, getting keys & bags, putting on jackets. 
Then we started giving her a delicious treat, waiting for her to start chewing on it, & then went out the door & immediately came back in. After a while, she wouldn’t even look up to see what we were doing. 
We moved up to leaving for 5 minutes, then 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 minutes. Once she hit the 30 minute mark without being too distressed, we bumped it up by 15-30 minutes instead of 5. During all of this, we used a cheap computer camera to watch her. Once she got up to being comfortable over a full work day, we weaned her off the Prozac.
In the meantime, we had her in a dog daycare. It was expensive, but that’s what you do for your pets, IMHO. Good luck!

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