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5 yrs old cocker, adopted, seperation anxiety

November 2nd, 2005, 08:23 PM
Hello everyone, this is my first post and it's gonna be long, :sorry: for that. i've been reading this forum for a month trying to find ways in helping my dog for her seperation anxiety problem. let me just introduce my dog to u guys first. she's a 5 yr old cocker spaniel, not spayed and her name is CiCi. i hv adopted cici from a friend becuz of some family issues. cici was never alone b4 wif my friend. becuz there would always be an elder there and also there would be an other dog with her as well... but there was this one time, she was left alone when she was still with my friend. and she eliminated everywhere, and just started to chew on everything. i was warned for that behavior when i got her. well, i am a sushi chef and i work 5 days a week, so there r times she would hv to be left alone at home. i bought her a play pen to try to confine her in one area while i was gone, but she was just too strong, and could move the play pen by pushing it. i come back finding the play pen being moved across the kitchen, with pee and poop on the ground, stretched everywhere while she was pushing the pen, and also the fences were all bent from her biting. she was also wet covered in pee. i now got her a crate, and hv been trying to crate train her. but everytime i leave the room, she would start barking. i would leave food in the crate for her since i would be gone for work and my gf has school. so she would be left alone in the crate for 2-3 hrs each day alone. but she dones seem to touch the food and she seems to be getting skinnier. i also tried to teach her the down stay method, but everytime i move, she would just follow me. another problem is that when i got her, i had a 2 week holiday from work, cause i cut my hand. and i trained her using those 2 week. she learned to go on newspaper a couple days after. but ever sinced i started working again, she doesn't seem to like to go to the proper place to do her business. she also gets scared easily, esp. with strangers. when she gets pet by strangers, she just urinenate on the spot. i need help... :pawprint:

she has all the symptoms for seperation anxiety. she follows me from room to room,i always have to be in her sight, she wouldn't eat unless i'm there. she barks/whines/cries once i leave the house or when i'm not in the same room.

thanks everyone for your time and input.

November 2nd, 2005, 08:38 PM
I have a cocker myself he doesnt seem to have the seperation anxiety nor the submissive urination but I know that they are prone to both. Mine spends most of his time with at least one member of our family. I dont know what would happen if I had to leave him alone all day I think I would choose a doggie day care for him.
Can she go to doggie day care so she is around someone and some other dogs. There is also the doggie radio station that was posted in the Newspaper articles forum at the top of the page.
I am not a trainer, but what about getting her used to being alone a little bit at a time, make it like one minute leave her a kong or some treats, and give her lots of praise, then gradually increase the time. I know if we have to leave Joey for more than a few hours which doesnt happen to often, I will put his kong in the crate and some water and his stuffies.
Goodluck I am sure some of our expert trainers will be along soon to help.

November 2nd, 2005, 10:34 PM
i took her to the groomer/daycare once... and she was just whining and crying at the window the whole time... ignoring every1 else.

i have also tried a herbal remedy... it's the oxyfresh pet relaxant. it not really working that well. i heard there is something that works better. it's called homeo pet anxiety relief. has anyone tried it?

November 2nd, 2005, 11:30 PM
Before trying the homeopathic be sure to get some advice from a homeopathic vet, call one up and explain the situation and ask for their advice, they may say they need to see the dog, just ask them if the remedy may be helpful. There could be more going on and it may take a lot of work to overcome separation anxiety. Dogs are like children in that they will continue with a behavoir as long as it gets the desired result. You may need to seek the help of a pro. Doggie daycare is wonderful, I used it for socializing Niki & when things got too crazy with a puppy and newborn baby and two more kids, you understand. Seeking help is the best way to find a solution and I'm sure there are loads of people here who can help. Good luck and don't give up, it's worth it. :fingerscr

November 4th, 2005, 12:10 AM
i have talked to a vet... and she told me to try the remedy first... and if that doesn't work... i gotta take her in for her to see...

November 4th, 2005, 06:30 PM
I use Rescue Remedy (by Bach Flowers) available at health food stores, etc. It is used for humans and can be used for animals.

I have my mini doxie on an herbal calmative from Springtime Inc. You can check out their website.

Beyond that, I am not sure what to suggest. The usual radio, etc

Hopefully some of the trainers will be by this post soon and can make some more suggestions

November 4th, 2005, 07:01 PM
I'm not saying this will solve the separation anxiety, but I think you should have her spayed. I think she could get even more frantic when she gets into heat, with the added stress of wanting to mate.


November 5th, 2005, 03:08 AM
thanks for ur inputs. i know remedies would work... but i think i need training along with the remedy. i heard obedience training is not good for seperation anxiety dogs, but i also heard its good... since it helps the behavior not the problem. u guys suggest obedience training?

November 5th, 2005, 07:35 PM
Try all you can. Try the obedience, I can't see how it could hurt.

Be creative and fix the pen in place (we use a 2 x 4 and the couches and just wedge it in).

Work on the desensitisation. I'm at the point where my guy only panics when I leave him alone in the yard, or for more then 2 hours on the week-end.

November 6th, 2005, 03:53 PM
Hello, Im going to try to help you the best I can.

You can figure out for yourself if your dog has s.a.
Symptoms include, Digging, chewing, and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to escape and reunite with their owners.
Howling, barking, and crying in an attempt to get their owner to return.
Urination and defecation (even with housetrained dogs) as a result of distress. (when owner is gone)
Why do they get this condition?
Separation anxiety sometimes occurs:

When a dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left alone for the first time.
Following a long interval, such as a vacation, during which the owner and dog are constantly together.
After a traumatic event (from the dog's point of view), such as a period of time spent at a shelter or boarding kennel.
After a change in the family's routine or structure (such as a child leaving for college, a change in work schedule, a move to a new home, or a new pet or person in the home).

Things to look out for are if
The behavior occurs exclusively or primarily when he's left alone.
He follows you from room to room whenever you're home.
He displays effusive, frantic greeting behaviors.
The behavior always occurs when he's left alone, whether for a short or long period of time.
He reacts with excitement, depression, or anxiety to your preparations to leave the house.
He dislikes spending time outdoors by himself.

If your dog has MILD to MODERATE s.a. then,
Keep arrivals and departures low-key. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first few minutes, then calmly pet him. This may be hard for you to do, but it's important!
Leave your dog with an article of clothing that smells like you—such as an old t-shirt that you've slept in recently.
Establish a "safety cue"—a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you'll be back. Dogs usually learn to associate certain cues with short absences by their owners. For example, when you take out the garbage, your dog knows you come right back and doesn't become anxious. Therefore, it's helpful to associate a safety cue with your short-duration absences. Some examples of safety cues are a playing radio, a playing television, or a toy (one that doesn't have dangerous fillings and can't be torn into pieces). Use your safety cue during practice sessions with your dog. Be sure to avoid presenting your dog with the safety cue when you leave for a period of time longer than he can tolerate; if you do, the value of the safety cue will be lost. Leaving a radio on to provide company for your dog isn't particularly useful by itself, but a playing radio may work if you've used it consistently as a safety cue in your practice sessions. If your dog engages in destructive chewing as part of his separation distress, offering him a chewing item as a safety cue is a good idea. Very hard rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats and Nylabone®-like products are good choices.

(of course if you havent already done so, take your dog to the vet.)

DO you know about Desensitization? Well, if not then I'll tell you about it.
For more severe cases this sometimes works...
Begin by engaging in your normal departure activities (getting your keys, putting on your coat), then sit back down. Repeat this step until your dog shows no distress in response to your activities.
Next, engage in your normal departure activities and go to the door and open it, then sit back down.
Next, step outside the door, leaving the door open, then return.
Finally, step outside, close the door, then immediately return. Slowly get your dog accustomed to being alone with the door closed between you for several seconds.
Proceed very gradually from step to step, repeating each step until your dog shows no signs of distress. The number of repetitions will vary depending on the severity of the problem. If at any time in this process your actions produce an anxiety response in your dog, you've proceeded too fast. Return to an earlier step in the process and practice this step until the dog shows no distress response, then proceed to the next step.
Once your dog is tolerating your being on the other side of the door for several seconds, begin short-duration absences. This step involves giving the dog a verbal cue (for example, "I'll be back"), leaving, and then returning within a minute. Your return must be low-key: Either ignore your dog or greet him quietly and calmly. If he shows no signs of distress, repeat the exercise. If he appears anxious, wait until he relaxes to repeat the exercise. Gradually increase the length of time you're gone.
Practice as many absences as possible that last less than ten minutes. You can do many departures within one session if your dog relaxes sufficiently between departures. You should also scatter practice departures and short-duration absences throughout the day.
Once your dog can handle short absences (30 to 90 minutes), he'll usually be able to handle longer intervals alone and you won't have to repeat this process every time you are planning a longer absence. The hard part is at the beginning, but the job gets easier as you go along. Nevertheless, you must go slowly at first. How long it takes to condition your dog to being alone depends on the severity of his problem.

Try teaching the sit and stay trick, if your dog doesnt already know that... it can be helpful and it helps in using + reinforcement.

If the problem is too much to handle then consult your veterinarian about the possibility of drug therapy. A good anti-anxiety drug should not sedate your dog, but simply reduce his anxiety while you're gone. Such medication is a temporary measure and should be used in conjunction with behavior modification techniques.
Also you could try taking your dog to a dog day care facility or boarding kennel.
LEaving your dog with a friend, family member, or neighbor that it trusts.
A good idea too would be to take your dog to work with you, even for half a day, if possible and try to take your dog with you to as many places as you can.

Punishing your dog will not help. Punishment is not an effective way to treat separation anxiety. In fact, punishing your dog after you return home may actually increase his separation anxiety.
Getting another pet as a companion for your dog will also not help. This usually doesn't help an anxious dog because his anxiety is the result of his separation from you, his person, not merely the result of being alone.
Crating your dog is not a good idea. Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses in the crate. He may urinate, defecate, howl, or even injure himself in an attempt to escape from the crate.
Leaving the radio on isn't something that will help despite what some say, (UNLESS the radio is used as a "safety cue," as described above).
Training your dog isnt going to help. While formal training is always a good idea, it won't directly help a separation anxiety problem. Separation anxiety is not the result of disobedience or lack of training; it's a panic response.

Hopefully that helped.

November 8th, 2005, 05:04 PM
thanks for all the advice...
i was wondering... for Desensitization, does every1 have to get outta the house? or just me?

and also, for her age... is she too old for obedience school?

Lucky Rescue
November 8th, 2005, 05:35 PM
No she is definitely not too old for obedience school. However, taking an intact bitch there is not advisable.

Don't know why she's not spayed, but you need to have this done asap.

Intact females at this age are at high risk for fatal pyometra, and also cancers of the reproductive organs.

Here's a bunch of links for the sep. anxiety.

November 8th, 2005, 06:15 PM
DLR= No she is definitely not too old for obedience school. However, taking an intact bitch there is not advisable.

I agree we got Joey when he was six, and enrolled him in obedience school. You definately can teach an old dog new tricks. Yes and I agree she should be spayed too. :D

November 9th, 2005, 11:18 PM
Try leaving music on too. I find Niki barks less when we are gone from the house when she has the radio on. I also think this helps her with her fear of men, she hears their voices on the radio and they are less scary to her. Separation Anxiety is as hard on the owner as it is on the pets, it's the same with children. We know they are suffering and we suffer with them. Keep trying, you'll get thru it together. :fingerscr

November 15th, 2005, 02:31 AM
thanks for all ur input guys... i really appreciate it... i'm trying everything i can...