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seperation anxiety or mental-puppy?

jessi76
September 28th, 2005, 11:30 AM
not sure if this IS seperation anxiety, but here's the problem (apologize in advance, this is long):

I'll be making dinner, Tucker is happily playing, or laying quietly in his crate (w/ door open) in the kitchen, and my bf will step outside to take the trash out or get the mail, and the dog goes BALISTIC... he jumps up (4ft) and BODY SLAMS himself into the glass in the front door. I get him to stop that behavior (he's 40lbs and my door is OLD), put him in a sit/stay (trying to refocus him) after successfully doing that, he breaks and goes bombing through the house to every window just so he can try to SEE my bf.

Now, it's not like we don't leave him often, we work everyday, so he's crated for 3-4hrs at a time, mon-fri. We even make a point to crate him on weekends, and every night while we eat dinner (and he's fine, minimal whining, and lays down quietly), but god forbid one of us steps outside the house without him (to call the cats in, to get the mail, to put the trash out) he's either body slamming the front door or crying at the windows....

We've tried tossing him a stuffed Kong to keep his interest while we (or one of us) step out, but he will not eat anything while we're not there - I think I could leave an entire ham on the floor and he wouldn't touch it if we weren't home.

When we come home, let him out after dinner, or just come back inside after 5 minutes, THEN he grabs his treat (cookie, kong, toy - whatever) and runs around with it. I'm not kidding, I could leave a baked ham in his crate with him, and if we were not home, or not in the room, he wouldn't eat it, but as soon as I came in, he'd go for the ham. (not that I would leave a ham for him, but you get the idea)

not sure how to fix the small freak outs. (he's 6 months by the way)

raingirl
September 28th, 2005, 11:39 AM
My dog does exactly that!! Won't touch food if you leave, and grabs it when you come home, and he gets all whiny when one of us leaves.

Once we went to get dinner at Quiznos. My BF was outside with Odin, and I was inside ordering. Odin howled at the door for 15 minutes till I came out.

Also, when he can't find one of us at home, he runs around, room to room looking for us. If one of us leaves, he sits at the door waiting (but not whining so much anymore).

Yet, when we both leave for the day, he could care less. It's just when we are separated.

jessi76
September 28th, 2005, 11:49 AM
oh thank goodness I'm not alone on this one.... so how do we fix this?? obviously distracting them with food isn't working.

StaceyB
September 28th, 2005, 01:09 PM
Your puppies may have separation anxiety and they may not. Kind of like ADD and just hyper.
Many times we create behaviours(not on purpose) that cause our dog to react or act in a certain way.
Yes your dogs are anxious, that's a given but whether or not you can change it is something else.
So far your puppies have figured out that barking and whining makes you come back. Do they get instant attention when you come home. Do you talk to them right before you leave?
When their are two of you home and one leaves for a moment, the one left should correct the dog for the barking with a quiet or enough and set them up to do something else until the other returns. The dog must be quiet for the other person to return.
There are several posts about how to teach them to be alone so I won't repeat that but be careful not to respond to their calls as soon as you come in the house. If you need to wonder around the house for 15 min before they calm down fine, as soon as it is quiet go to them.
Another thing you may want to do is get enrolled and attend classes or daycare. These will help to develop confidence and become more independant.

jessi76
September 28th, 2005, 01:50 PM
Thanks for taking the time to answer, stacyB. To answer some of your questions....

So far your puppies have figured out that barking and whining makes you come back.Do they get instant attention when you come home.Do you talk to them right before you leave?

No, Tucker does not get instant attention when I come home. I come in, say hi to my bf, put my stuff down (as he's jumping ME! ME! ME!) calmly go to the treat-jar, and wait for him to offer me a sit. Then he gets greeted & treated. He doesn't get a hello until all 4 paws are on the floor. When I leave, I just go. no fuss.

When their are two of you home and one leaves for a moment, the one left should correct the dog for the barking with a quiet or enough and set them up to do something else until the other returns.

How should I correct it?? Most of the time, I'm making dinner, or feeding the cats, or doing laundry, and a split second after my bf goes out the door, I can hear Tucker body slamming it, or bombing to the windows, whining. I suppose I should just keep at the sit/stay? my bf even tries a sit/stay BEFORE he steps out, resulting in more body slamming. I've tried toy & treat distractions, he could care less.

There are several posts about how to teach them to be alone so I won't repeat that but be careful not to respond to their calls as soon as you come in the house.

He's fine being left alone, in fact, has no problem going into the crate when we're off to work, the problem seems to only be bad when we're with him, I'm literally in the room WITH him and my bf steps out for the mail, and tucker has a coniption.

Another thing you may want to do is get enrolled and attend classes or daycare. These will help to develop confidence and become more independant.

we just completed level 1 obedience, Tucker is getting neutered this friday, and we'll start Level 2 on Oct 10th. He did attend 1 day of daycare, and got kennel cough, so I haven't been that excited about sending him back. (and he got the vaccine 2 wks prior to attending)

Lucky Rescue
September 28th, 2005, 02:05 PM
The only thing I can think of is to desensitize him.

Choose a day when both of you are not busy. Then start literally coming and going, in and out, non-stop for about 1/2 hour.. stagger the entrances and exits so that one of you is always either going out the door or coming in. Do not look at Tucker or acknowledge him in any way.

After you both have come and gone about 15 times, Tucker should be bored stiff, think it's no big deal, and not reacting any more. You may have to do this for several days and periodically thereafter.

Just a thought....

jessi76
September 28th, 2005, 02:19 PM
we'll keep at it then. I would think by now he should be desensitized, but obviously not. We step out of the house frequently - going to the clothes line, the mailbox, calling the cats, bbq-ing, run out to the car, etc... but I'll try doing it repeatedly and see how it goes... thanks!

StaceyB
September 28th, 2005, 02:19 PM
He has a routine when both of you leave and is ok with it. Half of yor troubles are gone.
The sit stay would be good to follow through with. He already knows that with the crate you will be returning. I wouldn't suggest that your bf set him up to sit stay if he breaks as soon as he goes out the door. This just teaches him to break cues.
Take some time to set him up into the sit stay and keep him in it as your bf leaves the room/house. This may be hard as he is getting anxious when he leaves but stick to it. Don't have yor bf return unless it is quiet. As he gets better start standing rurther and further away. It also may be a good idea to set him up away from the front door.
If you are comfortable return to daycare but find a place where it is mandatory to have bordatella vaccine. It is just a fluke that your dog caught it. There are several strains so it is possible that they can catch one that was not included in the vaccine.

jessi76
September 28th, 2005, 02:40 PM
Thanks again ... he's great with the sit/stay as long as we're still visible, it's when we go out of sight that the anxiety kicks in, which aparently we just need to practice.

actually this daycare does require all dogs get and keep up with the bordatella vac, they require written proof, from every dog attending. It probably was a fluke, and my vet did explain there are multiple strains, however, with an added case of mild-demodex, and getting over kennel-cough and conjuntivitis, I just thought it best to wait a bit before returning. He will probably return when the weather gets colder, as they have indoor play areas.

StaceyB
September 28th, 2005, 02:45 PM
Yes, don't send him back while his immune system is down.
Practice and you will get through it.