(Closed) General and separation anxiety in 1.5 year old dog

posted 4 years ago in Pets
Post # 2
Member
5954 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

queennen:  I feel for ya. I had a dog with separation anxiety and I worked with her. If you google it you’ll probably see it. But the gist was:

I’d leave the house for literally one second.

Come back in and calmly sit down, ignoring the dog. By doing that you are apparently making your coming home no big deal. Don’t pet him, don’t say hi in that squeaky talk to your dog voice, etc.

I kept doing this and adding time so I was outside the house longer and longer.

He may be happier in his kennel because a lot of them view it as their safe place. My dog did. She was way more anxious outside the kennel (I recorderd her in and out one time).

I currently have a dog that is bat sh*t crazy. Long story short, we had a behaviorist come to the house. She said he needed Prozac before he even could start learning because he was so amped with new people. It didn’t work for him, he lost his appetite yet gained weight. Now we are thinking of trying a vet behaviorist because they have waaaay more knowledge of all kinds of different meds. Maybe you should try to find a VET behaviorist.

I also follow Panda Paws Rescue from Washington if you are on Fb. She fosters a lot of hard cases and currently has a Frenchie named Bane who is on a strict learning curve with her. Scroll back and read the first post where she has a pic of him in a Hannibel mask. She talks about socializing him and all kinds of things.

 

Post # 4
Member
256 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

queennen:  I second PP, when you’re around your dog, ignore him. Don’t award attention grabbing behavior. 

I had a mastiff with separation anxiety but he was fine around people. He literally ate through a dry-wall once because we shut the door to our MASTER suite to go to the store. We just stopped all the cuddling, praising for being so sweet, all of it…it was really difficult.

Also, I got another dog to keep him company lol okay that’s probably not the best way to *correct* the behavior, but our second dog really helped him cope with being alone. Like, 100%. No more chewing or accidents while we were gone.

Post # 5
Member
4698 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

RedHeadKel:  I’ll need to check that out! We have a 7 year old Frenchie whose had behavior issues (mostly anxiety) since we moved 2 weeks ago.

Post # 7
Member
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

So, the Cesar Millan interpretation of what’s going on — the dog’s behavior when you leave and the dog’s behavior when people come to visit — is probably that your dog thinks he’s “alpha.” I’m not saying I believe in everything Cesar says, or that the “alpha dog” concept is not without controversy, but the two behaviors do sound like they mesh well with his perspective: it’s possible that your dog doesn’t think you SHOULD leave (because he’s alpha) and your dog is protecting HIS territory and HIS people when “intruders” arrive (because he’s alpha). So, if you haven’t tried any of Cesar’s techniques, you at least have a way of looking up his resolutions on his website. 

I have heard of the “leaving progressively” for dogs with separation anxiety, but it does take patience. You establish a routine or command so the dog is used to hearing it and knowing youre going to leave, and then you “leave” for a minute, 5-10 times in a row, several times a day, for several days. Then you increase the time you’ve left to 2 minutes, to 5, to 10 and so on, repeating it over and over, several times a day. Dogs can’t really tell time; you’re trying to build up the associative concept that if you disappear, you will always reappear. 

Now, as a dog owner, I could tell you that the aggression towards visitors is something you really have to be careful about–because you don’t want anyone getting hurt. And in that sense, you have to meet your DOG at HIS comfort level. What I mean by that is, social interaction is really a human value more than it is a dog value (yes, dogs are social and all that, but you know what I mean). For some reason, people have a hard time understanding this–like, it’s some deep tragedy if their dog doesn’t get along with others at the dog park or they can’t trust their dog around children. It’s not. You’re doing your dog a solid by not making them do those things that already bring them anxiety and aren’t really necessary for them in the long run. 

Obviously visitors are somewhat different because that’s not really “elective” in your life. So, if your dog is expressing aggressive behavior, he’s uncomfortable and YOU have to figure out a way to help his comfort level. For some dogs, this may mean that you have to lock them away when people come to visit, or that you must have him on leash.  For ours, we put up a baby gate so she could watch me open the door and I instructed visitors to just ignore her UNTIL she stopped barking and freaking out, and THEN we allowed her out. Once she was able to handle that, we slowly transitioned her to receiving a command (“steps!” in our case) and she’d go and sit on the staircase when someone rang the doorbell. She’s still working on listening for the release before coming to sniff at whomever’s at the door, but she’s no longer barking and growling. I’ve also had dogs that I’ve leashed to open the door and “body blocked” until they sit behind me, and THEN they get a treat and are allowed to say hello. But under no circumstances, for your guest’s sake, should you allow your dog to be lunging, barking, growling if you aren’t in direct physical control over them. 

Post # 8
Member
5954 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

queennen:  Yes, but it took awhile. Luckily my other dog wasn’t as bad as my current dog. She would tremble uncontrollably when people came over. Then it morphed into fear peeing instead. Fun! Then finally she got used to the fact people weren’t going to harm her. Looking back I probably could’ve done more for her. She was definitely out of her crate after a few years, though.

My current crazy dog?? He’s fine out of his crate, so he has that going for him I guess. You might want to watch the lack of appetite thing. I mean, the kid needs food even though he’s not hungry. It was a bummer since Prozac didnt’ work for us, because I know it does on others. Leave it to this nutty dog to need some other med. Try that vet behaviorist!

KC-2722:  I LOVE the gal who is Panda Paws. Amanda. Shaved head. Tats. Tons of patience and knowlege of difficult dogs. Hopefully yours is just adjusting to the new place??

Post # 9
Member
4698 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

RedHeadKel:  I’m hoping so!! We took him to the vet to see if there were any health issues that could be causing it and he’s healthy and generally happy.. Just a little loopy when we leave the house. I’m excited to check her out tonight! The next step is a dog whisperer/ trainer who can hopefully help us, help him.

Post # 11
Member
99 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

CM’s methods are extremely outdated and the pack theory has been disproven by scientists. This alpha stuff is old school and just incorrect. If you are on Facebook, OP, I highly recommend joining the group Beyond Cesar Millan which has a plethora of science based articles on dog behavior as well as trainers and animal behaviorists who answer any questions. It’s a great community and is all about positive reinforcement so you don’t have to stop cuddling your dog or anything of that nature.

It sounds like you are doing a lot of things right which is great to hear. Have you tried making the pup feel safe in the crate? To me, from what you have written, it sounds like he is put in the crate every time you are about to leave and maybe he has associated the crate with being a punishment? What role does the crate play outside of you leaving? Ideally, the pup should see it as a safe place which means reintroducing him to it if necessary in a positive way, disassociated from you leaving.

As for his separation anxiety, I recommend doing short training sessions where you do not actually leave but go through the motions and see where his anxiety begins. If his body language starts falling off as early as you simply grabbing your coat and keys, then that is where you would need to start desensitization. Grab coat, – treat or reward with play, move towards door – same thing. If his anxiety only starts when you leave, leave for one minute and make sure he is comfortable with that, then two and so on – building it up teeny steps at a time. Sounds like you tried it but maybe it wasn’t consistent or you moved up in time too fast.

Another thing to keep in mind is that he is still pretty young. I do not know how long he is left on his own but what may be a good investment is a dog walker. You can hire someone locally (introduce them to your pup first and make sure he is comfortable with them) so it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. I don’t know if that is a possibility since you also say he has issues with people.

Once again, highly suggest joining the group above and asking the same question there.

Post # 12
Member
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

“ill be home soon’ by patricia mcconnell is a great step by step guide to seperation anxiety. you can get the ebook for 8 bucks. It walks you through how to slowly desensitize, but it’s SOOOOO detailed and step by step, I highly recommend it. 

aggression towards guests: 

1. have him meet the guest outside first. 

2. DONT let anyone pet. Never pet a dog unless they actually are asking for petting!

3. have strangers/guests completely ignore the dog, except for slowly tossing a treat on the ground near the dog (and not too close to the person).

4. if your dog is too freaked out by guests, put the dog in another room with a kong or something. 

 

This should hold you over until you hire a professional. 

 

PS i’m a dog trainer, feel free to PM me.

Post # 13
Member
901 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

Everyone has given great advice! Just popping in to say I also think it’s a good idea to ignnore him when you walk in the door getting home. When you make it a big deal, that is where he’s learning it’s a big deal and to make a big fuss. He will get used to it. And you can cuddle the s**t out of him after a couple minutes. <3

Also, don’t feel bad crating him when you’re gone, a lot of people do that with their dogs even when they don’t have any problems. It’s totally okay as long as you keep doing what you are doing – keeping little toys and treats in there for him!

Sounds like you are trying to take care of your dog and love him so much!

Post # 14
Member
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Also the vast majority of animal behaviorists, meaning the ones with PhDs in animal behavior, do NOT recommend Ceasar Millans techniques. In fact, a lot of owners get bitten trying to impliment his techniques! Patricia McConnnell is my favorite published trainer, also has a PhD in animal behavior, runs a great blog and specializes in aggression. She’s got plenty of wonderful books out, it would be a great place to start!

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