Post # 1
- Wedding: June 2012 - Hollins House at Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz CA
My Fiance and I got a beautiful, well behaved puppy last month and we are already head over heals in love with her! At 4.5 months old, she is already potty trained, sleeps all night in her crate without whining, and behaves calmly when we take her to brunch with us. She’s also well socialized and plays very well with other dogs at the dog park.
HOWEVER, she has developed some separation anxiety that has been super stressful on her, us, and even our neighbors. When we’re at home, she follows us from room to room and is whines whenever she can’t see us. We work normal 8 hour days M-F and in the mornings, we take her on a 30 minute jog. After the jog, we either put her in her crate or in the kitchen (still trying to figure out which is best) while we’re at work. Recently, we started getting complaints from our downstairs neighboor that our puppy has been barking too much. We set up a webcam and have been monitoring her, and it seems she’ll sleep for a few hours on and off, and then will bark for 30 minutes, before sleeping again. She’ll keep up this cycle of barking, sleeping, barking, sleeping…until we get home at 5:30pm.We take her straight to the dog park after work for about 1.5 hrs and then come home for dinner/training/relaxation.
We’ve already tried an ultrasonic bark control as well as the citronella spray collar. We play calming music, give her our tshrts, toys, fully stuffed kong…basically eveyrthing we can think of. It hasn’t helped.
We are trying to train her by putting her in the crate and leaving for a few seconds…coming back, giving her a treat. So far, she lasts less than 30seconds before whining again. Doesn’t seem to be working very well…or atleast will take months and months to see results.
Does anyone have any tips for us? If our neighbors complain more, we’ll mostly likely get kicked out.
Today we took our pup to my FI’s family’s house…but the house is 30 minutes away so we’re driving an extra 1hr a day total…i don’t know how long we can do this for.
Post # 3
True seperation anxiety can be hard to deal with. An obedience class and help from a professional trainer can help.
One thing I noticed that you mentioned is that when you let her out of the crate, it is a good thing. Which by default makes the crate less of a good thing. When you let her out, keep things low-key for a while before you go to the dog park. Don’t make getting out of the crate a celebration…”Mom and dad are home! Now I get to go to the park and have fun!” Also, when you put her in the crate and leave her for thirty-seconds to a minute, do NOT let her out if she is whining or barking, and do NOT treat her when you let her out. She should ONLY get treats IN the crate, and ONLY if/when she is quiet. She should ONLY be let out of the crate when she is quiet and calm. If she is whining/barking, she gets ignored, (maybe you are already doing this, but it wasn’t clear from your post, so I wanted to mention it).
When you leave her in the crate and give her toys, does she play with them, or does she ignore them and just bark?
Post # 4
Second everything Miss Apricot says. could be sepration anxiety but it might also be something she does when she’s bored? Get some of those puzzle toys where you put the treat in and they have to figure out how to get it out, or just a simple Kong with PB inside, and see if those help a little.
Post # 5
I also second everything Miss Apricot has said. I would add however, that a dog walker to take puppy out for an hour or so while you’re at work, could help as well. I can honestly say that our dog walker (along with puppy training classes) was the best decision we every made for our little fella. I would suggest a dog walker who walks dogs in groups for two reasons 1. obviously they will be less costly than walkers who walk one to one and 2. It’s great for socialisation, our little dog Bodie walks with 3 other doggie friends and there’s a real bond between them all. Good luck, I’m sure it will work out fine 🙂
Post # 6
Our Bernese Mountain Dog had the same exact issues. So we told our vet about the problem and she suggested putting Troy (our dog) in puppy daycare at PetSmart.
He has been going for the past 6 weeks and he is doing 100% better.
You should look and see if there is one near you.
Post # 7
We just got one of our puppies (granted he is 16 months, but to me he will always be a puppy!) a thundershirt. He doesn’t have seperation anxiety but anxiety in general. He really calms down when he is wearing his shirt. I don’t know how or why it works- but it is a great invention! Google thundershirt and read about it. For $36 it is worth a try!
Post # 8
I second the thundershirt. We had a GSP who had severe seperation anxiety and would destroy whatever he could while we were gone and go to the bathroom inside his crate. We started putting the thundershirt on him and he changed drastically. Not a 100% improvement but a big step foward for sure.
Post # 9
Have you tried leaving the radio or tv on for background noise? Made a world of difference for our pups.
Post # 10
Everyone has great ideas! Are you able to let her out on your lunch break, or have a friend or dog walker do that? A puppy can hold it about 1 hour each month of age, so at 4.5 months, it would be 4.5 hours. It really isn’t good for them to hold it for so long, espeically at a young age. So maybe that’s why pup is barking, she’s gotta go!