- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


SA Regression

February 8th, 2005, 02:24 PM
I had once heard about stages in a dog's life when they start regressing in certain areas or start exhibiting fear where there was previously no issue. Does anyone know when those stages happen?

Phoebe, my brilliant, genius child, has started regressing with her SA. She's coming up on 10mths old this week. She was doing so well that we had gotten rid of the crate altogether. I was very happy about this because it takes up a lot of room (floor space is a premium in our little house), and is a bit of an eyesore (it's a 4th generation hand-me-down). Well, we came back from today's shopping trip to find bits of paper and cardboard strewn about the room, the manual to our brand-new printing machine sitting on the floor with light teeth-marks in it (I'm soooooo lucky she didn't detroy it completely - hubby would have had coniptions!), and the instructional CD for this machine sitting on the floor minus one wrapper (luckily no damage to the CD itself - she seems to have a thing for paper - better remember not to leave any $20s lying around :eek: ). After trying desperately to ignore the carnage and appear normal while we sent her into the back yard, hubby went into the garage and brought the cage back into the house, much to my dismay. *Sigh* She was doing so well, too. Clearly, though, we'll have to start crating her when we leave until we can start trusting her again.

So, does anyone know if she's due for a little spazstic period at this age?

February 8th, 2005, 07:54 PM
I did a net search using the words " dog, separation, anxiety and regression" and hit upon an article that mentioned withdrawl or sudden change in environment. I was thinking as I re-read your post that you said you got "rid of the crate altogether". Did you do this suddenly or did you wean the dog away from using the crate over time? The writer of the article stated that her dog was on medication for SA (Clomicalm). Quote:" Since the ClomicalmTM takes about three weeks initially to start working it was reasonable to assume that it would take about three weeks to totally get out of her system. We had weaned her off slowly, but it was possible I was seeing some "withdrawal". It also seemed reasonable that since the drug suppresses the anxiety, at the point that it was totally out of her system, she would now feel any remaining anxiety and have to deal with it without the help of the drug."
Perhaps in your case, quitting the use of the crate cold turkey has made your dogs' anxiety resurface. Remember, a crate is a safe haven for a dog, not a tool for punishment. Perhaps she feels very comfy in her crate and needs it to keep her anxiety in check. You could buy a nicer, newer more appropriately sized crate or kennel for her. There are so many nice looking ones on the market! Just type in "kennel" as a search word and voila! hope this is helpful.

February 8th, 2005, 08:34 PM
Thanks, lezzerpezzer. We started leaving her out of the crate at night when she was 6mths old. At around 8mths, we started leaving her loose in the house when we went out. So it's been a couple of months that she isn't in the crate. I don't think she was particularly fond of it. She would yelp whenever we left her in there (we could hear her from outside).

When we first started leaving her out of the crate, she had some issues - mostly barking, some stealing things off the counter, gnawing the ears off the baby's Little People animals if we happened to leave them where she could get at them, etc... This gradually got better for a while. Last time we went out (before today), she went completely berzerk and destroyed a loaf of bread and a handful of diapers (clean ones :p ). Today, she shredded a couple of puzzle boxes (luckily, the puzzles weren't in them), and various other paper items she had pulled off the counters. She only has access to the kitchen, living/dining room and the upstairs landing (all bedroom/bathroom doors are closed, and the basement is blocked off with a baby gate).

Wish I had the money to buy a prettier crate, but that's just not feasible. The crate is the perfect size for her - just not the perfect size for the house. :rolleyes:

Your post did give me the idea to google "fear periods", and I came across this site as a result: So she is "scheduled" for another fear period, and this might be a fear of being alone (since she so rarely is left alone). She's also developed a fear of the back yard whenever the neighbors are out because they've discovered paintball, and she's afraid of the markers, but that's a topic for another post. :D So, I guess we have no other option than to go back to square one, get her back in the crate (with a Kong-sicle, of course) when we go out, and slowly wean her off of it once more. I just hope she doesn't freak too much when we put her back in there for the first time... :eek:

Lucky Rescue
February 8th, 2005, 10:01 PM
A puppy ripping up some papers or toys (or even a loaf of bread) when left alone doesn't sound like SA to me - it sounds pretty normal! She probably just wanted something to do and ripping up stuff is fun I guess.

February 9th, 2005, 08:55 AM
Hi again. Try to reintroduce your dog to the crate in a positive way. For instance, don't just put her in with the kongsicle and leave. Of course she will become upset, as she will equate the use of the crate with you leaving her alone. Set the crate up with the door open and a few treats inside while you are there doing dishes or reading a book and encourage her to go in, but you don't leave the room or the house. Praise her for going in, even if for only a wee period of time to retrieve the treats. Make her view the crate as a safe haven and her space, not a place where she gets put to be left alone. You may have to do this for a few days until she is comfortable with the crate and learns that it is a place for her to enjoy and be safe. Of course, keep it in a room where she can see and hear you guys, so she still feels part of the family. I always leave a radio on or the tv when I leave, as it gives a bit of company to my dogs instead of silence.

February 9th, 2005, 10:29 AM
When you start to wean her off the crate again, maybe take the top off and leave the bottom "tray" for her. That way she still has the same place to go to and the bed, etc there, but without the top. Then take away the tray and leave the bedding.
Just a suggestion. One of my fosters liked the "security blanket" of having the bottom half of the crate to retreat to when he was feeling a bit insecure.

February 9th, 2005, 01:21 PM
This is all really great advice folks. Thanks!

Goldengirl, unfortunately, it's not that kind of crate. It's metal wire. Because it's a hand-me-down, it doesn't even have a tray on the bottom (remember, we had no intention of using this thing past 6 months, so we saw no reason to spend a small fortune on a brand new one). We had to place it on cardboard to protect the floor in case she decided to try digging while we were out. Instead, this gave her something to pick at, so there's now a fist-sized hole in the cardboard. :p

Ideally, I don't want to have to leave her in the crate at all - ever. Our previous dog :angel: was totally reliable in the house on her own, even if we left a steaming roast dinner on the table. I'd like to get Phoebe to that level as well. OK, maybe she'll never be quite that reliable, but I'd at least like to be able to go out without dreading what we'll find when we get back. We were there about a month ago - not sure what happened to change that. :confused: There have been no new people/animals in the house or in our lives for that matter (except for the fish tank we got last week), no change in schedule or routine, nobody got sick - I really can't figure it out!

Lucky, you don't think it's SA? I'd love to believe that! She is a bit of a "nibbler". She doesn't really chew things into a pulp. Like I said, she delicately nibbled the ears and nose off of the Little People farm animals once. She used her front teeth to pick at the cardboard underneath her crate today. When she was younger and we left her in the crate at night, she would hold her blankets between her front paws and shred them bit by bit (especially the one underneath the crate - it seemed to really annoy her). Remember that pic of her with her front paws crossed? Well, it appears that she developed that pose for a specific purpose! :rolleyes: She has completely destroyed several rope toys by holding them between her paws and shredding them with her front teeth. Maybe she's having a dental issue?? :confused: She does ok when we leave her with my sister's dog, but that's only because they never leave each other alone long enough to go after anything on the counters. When she's alone at home, she has the cat for company, but that doesn't seem to be much fun for her. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the cat was egging her on! :evil:

Anyway, sorry for the loooonnggg post folks. It's just a complete mystery to me, but I hope she grows out of it because I really don't like leaving her in her crate (I can just hear the cat laughing at her the whole time we're gone). :(