(Closed) Help w/ dog anxiety

posted 9 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
223 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

For the crate, I’d try feeding him in there so that he comes to enjoy it more. We did that with our puppies when we first got them cause they hated their crates.

We have an axious pee-er too, but it’s not when we leave, it’s when we see her/let her out of her crate.

My trainer told me to start putting her in her crate and cover it with a blanket, 5 mins a day, maybe starting out once, and then moving up a couple times a day. this is supposed to help with the seperation anxiety cause she can hear/smell us, but can’t see us. I  guess it’s supposed to desensitize her.

Before you go for meds, I’d suggest some training classes, or private training. It will probably do you a WORLD of good. But most importantly, it will do you dog a worold of good. No body likes to be anzious all the time!

Post # 4
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Our dog Louie had a lot of anxiety (well, still does sometimes).  We’ve had him for over 5 years now, and his anxiety has improved a lot from when we first got him.  We’ve never medicated him, but we’ve done a lot in terms of training and extra activities in order to get him where he is today.  My advice would be to speak to a trainer who specializes in anxious behavior and have your dog evaluated.  Some dogs respond well to training; others really need medication in order to improve,. 

Also, I know a lot of people are against medication, but sometimes it really helps.  My SIL’s dog was on anti-anxiety meds for the last few years of his life, and you could see how much happier he was on the meds than off.  It really improved his quality of life.

Post # 5
602 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

definitely going through this with you.  we’ve only had our dog for two weeks so I’m hoping this is just the normal adjustment period but her foster family had ZERO problems with her ๐Ÿ™ 

I dont have any advice,  but look forward to reading others responses!

Post # 6
3871 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

My dog had seperation anxiety when we first adopted her.  She bonded with me almost as soon as we got her home.

The first thing we did for the first week or so, was we put her in doggie day care. So she wasn’t alone all day.  But then that got expensive.

I looked into it and tried to help her seperation anxiety by us leaving the house for one minute.  After the minute, we would come back in the house and if she didn’t bark, we would praise her.  Then we would repeat the process by lengthening the time we were ‘gone.”  I guess this works for dogs because the dog learns to wait for you or to expect you. She thought we were coming back. Eventually, she’ll get tired waiting and fall asleep waiting. Oh, if she barked, we would come back in and not praise her and then we would have to shorten the length.

She was crated during this time for about the first year.  We finally blocked off an area of the house so she wasn’t crated.  We gave her a hallway to roam.  After a while, we were confident enough to let her free roam of most of the house.  Sometimes dogs really hate being confined.

Oh, as for the crate problem, my dog had the same problem.  It seems like your dog has some bad issues with being crated.  I think you need to try some steps to get her to like her crate. It might take a long time but some dogs need it. I actually was able to go in the crate first and then my dog would follow me into the crate.  I guess I wanted to get her to feel like it was safe.

I also noticed that my dog went freely into the crate if I took her outside to pee and then immediately after coming into the house, I lead her into the crate with her leash. She seem to slip right in. If I took off the leash, it would be much more difficult to get her to go in.

Anyway, good luck.

Post # 7
97 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Barn at Valhalla

My cat used to pee bc she was anxious, now she is on meds and shes much better. I also have a coworker who skypes with her dog but I’m not sure that helps or not

Post # 9
3482 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Do you crate him at night too, or just when you’re both out of the house? Khumble and yrret have some very good suggestions on re-crate-training your dog so he will learn to consider the crate a safe haven as opposed to where he gets banished when you leave. I would add to them that if you’re not crating him at night, gradually begin doing so. I have always crated my dogs at night and it really helps. One of them actually lets it be known that she thinks it’s bedtime by padding into the next room and flopping loudly into her crate.

Hopefully if you can help him associate his crate with rest and security rather than loneliness, he’ll have an easier time coping with you going to work. Poor guy. He’s lucky to have you; I’m glad you’re making the effort to consider all the non-medication options first. There are a lot of people out there who wouldn’t be so patient and understanding ๐Ÿ™

Post # 10
469 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Here are the things I did that worked for me & my dog’s anxiety:

*I put his crate at the foot of my bed and made him sleep in there at night

*Doggie daycare – he really disliked this at first and would sit still and not go back when I dropped him off because he didn’t want to be away from me.  After a while he started loving it and I think it was good that he was able to see me leave but understand that he was still in a safe place with people & dogs and see that he could “get by” without me around!

*Walking him for at least one mile every morning

*Obedience training, if you haven’t already done that


I like yrret’s method of leaving and coming back repeatedly but extending the amount of time you’re gone each time.  I’ve heard lots of success stories from people who’ve done that.  I was very desperate at one point because I came home and found that he had chewed through the bars of his crate and had his head sticking through the holes. I was very concerned he would hurt himself and I just couldn’t afford anymore doggie daycare so I talked to his vet and put him on Reconcile.  It DID work and I noticed some differences in his behavior but he stopped eating so I took him off it.  You’re not supposed to keep them on that forever; it’s just a medicine to take away the anxiety while you work on behavior modification.  I personally think it’s worth a shot and if you see side effects that you don’t like then just take the dog off the meds

Post # 13
46 posts
  • Wedding: July 2011

Two words: postitive reenforecement!

The love of my life is a dachshund/sharpei mix. He is 2 1/2 now and the best dog I could ask for…. but it wasn’t always so easy. We rescued him from a bad breeding situation when he was around 4 weeks old. He could barely walk and I had to do everything for him. He was our only pet at that time so he was a bit baby-ed. He developed intense separation anxiety and would bark and cry when we both left or if I was home and he could not find me.

The first step was to mix up our routine. I put my shoes on before I got dressed. I left my keys on the front porch and picked them up on the way out. It became humorous trying to find ways to trick him and make him think I was leaving when I wasnt and wasnt leaving when I was. After a while he became desensitized to those signals.

The second step was not ackowledging him for about 10 minutes before we left and when we got home. Put him in his crate 10 minutes before you leave and go on with your routine, come home and start dinner. Do not make any eye contract or say a word to him until he calms down. He will stop anticipating your arrival so much and stop getting so anxious when you leave. You need to make it seem like the event of coming/going is not a big deal.

The third thing we did was get him a friend. This was hands down the best decision I ever made when it comes to him. We got a Golden Retriever (female) puppy and they are absolutely in love. He does not miss me when I am gone now and they keep each other company.

I will admit he still gets a bit anxious and will bark in this high pitched bark when we are somewhere other than home and he does not see me. We were camping with family recently and if I went in the tent without him he would start the high pitched barking like he was calling “mama”. He just loves me a lot though and thinks of himself as my protector. If you do all of the things I have listed and be patient and consistent it will help a lot.

Good luck!

Post # 14
46 posts
  • Wedding: July 2011

Oh and forgot one… the crate is never a bad place. He needs to like it as his safe place. If he is shaking behind the couch you should not pick him up and put him in the crate like it is punishment. You should coax him into the crate with his favorite food (I used carrots). If it is a positive experience he will end up in the crate even when he doesnt have to be.

Also do not only use the crate when you are leaving… you can use it when you are cleaning the house, or cooking,  or have guests over. That way he doesnt associate it just with leaving.

Some will say to make him sleep in the crate. This may work too but I dont do this because my dogs favorite part of the day is the cuddle we have at night and he shares my pillow. I dont think I could sleep if he wasnt right there. Im a crazy person I guess!

Post # 15
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

@AlmostMrsReed:  Although our dog improved a lot with training, we noticed the biggest difference in his behavior after getting him a companion.  I was resistant to getting a second dog for a long time, and we definitely had an adjustment period, but now Louie and George are inseperable and best buddies.  ๐Ÿ™‚  It was the single biggest change that helped with Louie’s anxiety.

Post # 16
2083 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 1993

My beagle used to have really bad SA (Chewed through walls, pulled up carpets etc). We used to put her in her crate at the end of our bed when we went to sleep, and kept her confined in the kitchen using baby-gates when we were out at work. We discovered that by giving her the run of the house (She sleeps with us in bed now (Far from ideal, but stops the howling)) and letting her run about in the day (All the doors shut, but she gets the landing/halls/kitchen, she is much, much better. We can’t leave her too long and happily due to work, never have to. When we take her in the car, and put her behind the grate in the trunk (It’s a Land Rover) she goes beserk for ages but does settle down after much reassurance. I also find the more exercise she gets, the easier it is for her. Perhaps try to totally tire him out before you leave?

Hugs xxx


PS> If I’m reincarnated, I’m totally coming back as a sloth…

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