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Separation anxiety getting worse-need some help

January 11th, 2006, 03:06 PM
My one and half year old miniature poodle has had fairly bad separation anxiety for a while now. He isn't destructive, but he cries extremely loud and for a really long time. We have talked to the vet about it and they put him on medication which doesn't have much of an effect. I started training him about a week ago with a method I saw for severe separation anxiety where you start with just putting on your coat, then moving on to going to the door, then opening the door, working up to getting outside and staying away for different intervals. We're still working on the stage where I can get my coat and keys without him whining and getting upset. For the past few weeks he has started to get worse. He started with once in a while pooping on the floor when someone came home, mainly me. Now he has pooped when I put my coat on once to take out the trash. Today he pooped after I went upstairs to get a towel and he pooped on the floor as I came back down. He even came upstairs with me. He is litter trained and learned to go poop in the litter before he learned to urinate there. He knows he shouldn't be doing it too because he automatically puts his ears down and his tail between his legs after he does it. I'm starting to get frustrated and I know the other people in my house are really frustrated about it so I really need some help.

January 11th, 2006, 03:24 PM
Dogs don't necessarily know that what they did was wrong. What they do is read your body language and if you appear to be upset or mad about something and they have been in trouble at least once they will automatically think it is them and you see the ears and tail.

January 12th, 2006, 09:13 AM
Is your poodle getting enough exercise?! Have you done any obedience training with him?

For severe cases, some people swear by DAP diffuser's which is suppose to release pleasing pheromone's to calm dog's with SA.

Maybe you could consider seeing a homeopathic vet? There are lots of herbal and rescue remedies out there that could be of help.

Does you poodle get upset ONLY when you leave?! Can you leave him alone with a stranger without him getting anxious!? Can you leave him alone in a room without him getting upset? Do you ignore him for the first few minutes before you leave and when you return home?

Sometimes having a companion can help - maybe "borowing" a friend's calm dog would help!? Although if it does, it may indicate that you might need to finda permanent friend for your poodle:p!

This is suppose to be a good book when dealing with SA: Iíll be Home Soon: How to Prevent & Treat Separation Anxiety by Patricia McConnell

SA takes a lot of behaviour modification, effort and patience to overcome...It can be a long process...You can also look into doggy daycare, a dog walker or pet sitter - but that won't necessarily "fix" the problem - you will still need to train him to be calm when left alone...

With regards to the poop - maybe you should confine him in a room to start with (one that can be easily disinfected)...


January 12th, 2006, 09:29 AM
My mother in law had the same problem with a rescued poodle mix. She was living with me and my husband at the time and every time she left he would sit by the door and whine...I was home at the time and so he had company, but I was not the one he wanted:o . She wasn't sure how to deal with the problem so let it be...She finally got a puppy (another rescue) and after 3 years of whining at the door CoCo finally felt safe and happy. It was a hard 3 years.
This will not help your situation but I just thought this experience will at least show that there is a solution at the end...I hope yours won't take 3 years:o

January 12th, 2006, 09:53 AM
Dealing with true separation anxiety can be very hard and can in some cases be controlled but will never truly go away. There are many times when the behaviours appear to be separation anxiety but are in fact just bad behaviours that we have usually caused by something we have done. These type of behaviours look like separation anxiety but can usually be corrected with some work.
Some people miss diagnose and never do anything to correct the behaviour, they just accept it.

The daycare may be a very good idea for your poodle because it will help her to develop some independence. Training will also help and if there are other family members in the home I would have them begin to develop a bond with her while you back off a bit. This will help her to begin a trusting relationship with someone besides you.
What do you do when she does this, do you return, do you comfort, etc?

January 12th, 2006, 11:32 AM
When did this start happen? Is your dog a rescue?

I dealt with Seperation Anxiety for my dog for the past 1.5 years. We are just now at the point where he stays home all day by himself. We tried medication as well (clomicalm) but it didnt really have an effect on him. How long has your dog been on medication for ? It normally takes a while to kick in. Does your dog have a crate?
Does your dog like treats? Try buying him a couple of kongs and stuffing it with some of his favourite things. If your worried about his stomach (like my dog) try buying some wet food and mix it up with his dry. Pop it in the freezer and give it him ONLY when your about to leave. Some dogs will be distracted enough by trying to get the food out that they wont even notice you've left. The minute you come home though make sure you take the kong away , completely out of sight.
We also tried some homeopathic remedies because medication didnt work for him. I went to the drugstore and bought some rescue remedy cream which I rubbed on the inside flaps of his years. I also got a local herbalist to mix up a remedy for him from Bach essenses based on his symptoms ( I filled out a huge form) , it was fairly cheap to , only about $13 for the bottle.
Things with Farley were very slow going. There was no overnight progress , everything was gradual.

January 12th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Most dogs with separation anxiety can't be crated because they will harm themselves trying to get out and they will not eat anything while you are away.

January 12th, 2006, 02:20 PM
To answer some of the questions, I do try to take him to exercise when I can, at least for a walk once a day for 40 minutes. If we canít get outside, I run him in the house with a toy for a couple of times a day. I havenít tried obedience training because there isnít one less than an hour from where I am and he does really bad in the car, especially that long.
The only herbal treatment I have tried is some herbal calming biscuits, but that did nothing. There isnít a homeopathic vet around here either.
He gets upset when other people leave too, but with me itís the worst. And he gets even more upset when everyone is gone. I do ignore him a few minutes before I leave and I donít acknowledge him when I come home until he has calmed down.
We do have another poodle that he has grown up with that is calm but she seems to have no influence on him. She actually is starting to show small signs of anxiety when we leave, but nothing like him.
When I leave him with strangers, like the groomer, he gets really bad. Heíll scream and flail around. We are told he calms down eventually, but the second he sees me when I come to get him, he starts screaming again.
He is not a rescue; we got him from a breeder when he was 7 weeks. He wasnít bad when he was a puppy. Iím not sure when it started exactly. I think itís been kind of gradual so I donít know for but itís been about a year probably, getting worse over that time though.
I have tried the Kong things with peanut butter and bones but he wonít touch them while people are gone, even though he loves his bones and peanut butter. The other poodle wonít touch hers either. We also tried a crate but stopped that because I was afraid he would hurt himself from how he reacted when we put him in it.
I am hoping to get him somewhat better by August, because I plan on moving then and it will just be him and me. Right now I am home a lot actually and there is usually someone always here, but when I move he is going to be home by himself more. I do plan on using a daycare then but will only be able to a few days a week so I need to get him where he doesnít scream so much and I get evicted from every place I live.

Thanks for the help everyone!

January 12th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Most dogs with separation anxiety can't be crated because they will harm themselves trying to get out and they will not eat anything while you are away.
It's been suggested the exact opposite to me.. that crating a separation anxiety dog is the best and safest thing to do as they come to much less harm in a crate than they would being left free in the home. Also, when you say eat, I assume you are referring to food because they will eat your whole house if they get stressed enough. Not trying to contradict you, I've just been told the reverse and seen the result of crating vs non crating with a few dogs.