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Any advice?

socmoe
November 29th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Hi everyone - I am Maureen and I posted a ? on the breed forum re: separation anxiety. I am strongly considering adopting a 4 year old female boxer/pointer mix fro a nearby shelter. My 13 year old male husky (another adoption 4 years ago) will be meeting "C.J." today (wish us luck). CJ takes clomipramine and has done systematic desensitization training with the behavioral therapist at the shelter for the last two months and is up to two hours being left alone without an issue. I work overnights and my hubby works a day job and evening job during the week so I would be mostly in charge of caring for the dog. wE have a 6 yr old duaghter and our husky. I guess what my concern is is am I going to be able to handle this gal and give her what she needs. I feel like it is meant to be and we have the ideal home dor CJ - another dog for company, a child (the shelter said she LOVES other dogs and kids) and to top it off I am a licensed social worker so I have the mental health background! (obviously I have only worked with humans but I have a fair degree of udnerstanding of separation anxiety). I am never gone from the house for more than two or three hours at a time during the day and my schedule is flexible. It is feasible that I can take CJ with me i(and Yukon, my husky too) if need be for most errands, etc. although I don;t think I would be a long term solution to separation anxiety for CJ. I can walk both dogs up to twice per day and we have a fenced in yard that we can play catch with, etc so she can get the exercise she needs. Okay my question for everyone is: is this a doable thing? Does it sound like I have the right home and lifestyle to suit this dog?

P.S. This dog lived with a family with four kids and did GREAT for 3 years (absolutely LOVES kids) until Mom got a full time job and CJ was crated for 9 hours per day (lacerated her abdomen trying to get out of the crate). The shelter told me that they have invested so much money and time into this dog b/c she her medical and behavioral evaluations were so good and that she is a perfect dog except for the separation anxiety.

Thanks for any advice or comments. I know there are no guarantees in life....just want to make sure I am doing the right thing for her and for my family.
Maureen

Hunter's_owner
November 29th, 2006, 11:16 AM
In my opinion, it sounds like you have got a great home for another dog. You have thought it out very well, and have planned things around the dog. It is too bad that not everybody that wants to adopt a dog goes through as much planning and research into what they are getting and what they will need to do.

I have a 5 year old dog with separation anxiety. He has not been medicated (yet:o ) for it, but only because me and my bf, along with both our sets of parents schedule our lives around who can take Hunter when. Our other dog Cassie, is so happy go lucky that she doesn't care where she is, lol.

So if the dog is being treated for this, and has gone through behavioural training then I would think that when in a loving, forever environment such as yours, she will thrive:)

Again, I praise you for thinking this decision through as much as you have.:highfive:

jessi76
November 29th, 2006, 11:20 AM
is this a doable thing? Does it sound like I have the right home and lifestyle to suit this dog?

we can't answer that really. we dont' KNOW you, KNOW your family, your schedule, your home, or the extent of the issues w/ the dog, etc. we only have an idea by what you post. it sounds as though you are trying to convince yourself that this is THE dog for you. it very well may be, but we can't tell you if it's right for your family. If it helps, I HOPE it's right for you.

my best advice is to see if you can do a trial w/ the dog before making a commitment. It'll be really HARD on everyone, especially a 6 yr old, if you have to rehome the dog later on.

just being practical. I certainly don't mean to imply that it won't work out.

Prin
November 29th, 2006, 11:22 AM
I think you'd be a great home and maybe if they get along, the newbie might calm the oldie down- not activity-wise, but anxiety-wise. I say go for it (the visit, I mean). 4 year olds have such a hard time finding homes.

we3beagles
November 29th, 2006, 11:23 AM
I think your home sounds like doggy heaven and that this dog will do well with you and your family. I have a lot of experience with separation anxiety. About half the foster dogs I get have this and in no circumstances have I ever had to resort to medication. In fact, if a dog comes into our care and is on medication we gently wean them off it under a vets care and continue to fix it with our behaviourist (who volunteers for the foundation for free). Most separation anxiety pups do really well with just having another dog around for company. Some need mental stimulation to keep them occupied. You said you already are working with a behaviourist so I think you should run out and grab this dog and love this little girl for the rest of her life. I think she will be very grateful for the fantastic life you can provide her.

~michelle~
November 29th, 2006, 11:37 AM
i have a 3-4 y.o springer spaniel that has some separation anxiety. i was going to suggest a crate, because it helped so much with my situation, but probably not with your (possibly) new pup because its previous experience with crating hasnt been positive. however maybe babygating a small area of the house and making it their own space would help.
with separtion anxiety if the dog is left unattended with too much room they will chew things scratch at the door, bark incessively. i found giving braxton his crate keeping the lighting down, a blanket that smelled like me, and some toys which i rubbed my scent on helped. i also left the Tv or talk radio on, to deminish the external noises he may find irratating or increase his anxiety.
even tough the new pup has made great progress with the shelter staff, he may regress again when moved, so you will need to build up the time left alone again (although the training wont take as much time as the shelter did)
braxton is now getting free roam of the apartment witht eh exception of the bathroom and the bedroom. i do have another dog though, which seems to help alot, if i leave him uncrated and take the other dog out and leave him alone he freaks out
best of luck

jawert1
November 29th, 2006, 02:44 PM
My English Pointer has S.A., though not so severe as to need medication. I'm grateful as I have a Shepherd at home that's an extremely secure and independent dog. She's his big sister and has provided us all with a bit of sanity with regard to Simon's behaviour. He was extremely destructive when he first came home as well as loud, however we found that confining them both to the kitchen, and working on obedience training (both formal and at home) have helped tremendously. Peaches was key to his progress though, they're never apart so it's one thing he can count on in during the day when I'm not home until lunch and then dinner. Good luck, I really hope things work out with CJ, and please feel free to stop by anytime to let us know how things are going and post pictures of your crew :) :pawprint:

socmoe
November 29th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Thanks everyone for both the positive and practical advice. We met with CJ today and both dogs got along great:thumbs up :thumbs up -Yukon was in doggy heaven with all of the great smells at the shelter! We are going to bring home CJ either Friday or Saturday and go from there. The behavioral therapist did say (as some of you mentioned) that I would have to start from scratch with leaving her alone little by little and I could epect regression at first but that she should catch up pretty quickly. We also expect to wean her off of the meds as soon as she can be okay by herself for a significant period of time which I am all for. The behavioral therapist loves her so much and wishes she could adopt her but her hosue is full with two children under three, 2 dogs and a cat! She said she would call and check in every day for as long as I need it! So, thanks everyone - I have learned so much browsing these boards. I will check in next week with pictures of both doggies and let you know how it is going! Also has anyone read "Don't Shoot The Dog" by Karen Pryor - the beh. therapist rec. it so I ordered it from Amazon. Thanks again! Maureen

we3beagles
November 29th, 2006, 10:11 PM
Yeah pictures. You are going to be the best thing to happen to that dog. Thank you for rescuing her. :angel:

rainbow
November 29th, 2006, 11:23 PM
First of all, welcome to the forum and thanks for rescuing CJ. :angel: I think you and Yukon are just what she needs to overcome her separation anxiety. Looking forward to some pics and keep us posted.

socmoe
November 30th, 2006, 08:30 AM
Thanks everyone for the welcome and the positive thoughts! I was brought up with dogs and absolutely love them and I am feeling really positive about this adoption. After reading many posts and articles about separation anxiety I was feeling a bit anxious :eek: myself - what if the dog hurts herself trying to get out of the house or tears up the house while I am gone? But, like anything else in life worth having, you need to take risks so that is what we are doing. I am going to start from square one with leaving for a minute, etc., not making a big deal about leaving or coming home, leave by different doors and taking her with me on various errands and plenty of exercise.

I volunteer once a week delivering meals to the disabled and elderly so I think it will be funny bringing my two "assistants" (I hope they don't decide to "taste test" the meals!!). My 6 year old is so excited and she keeps saying "We can't forget Yukon - any toy we get for CJ, Yukon gets one too!". I will check in next week and let you all know how we are doing and post pics! We were thinking of having both dogs in Briana's (my daughter) Christmas picture - we will see how that goes! Maureen

jawert1
November 30th, 2006, 11:28 AM
hehehe welcome to the world of "2 of everything", I love living in it even if my purse does not! :) With regard to CJ coming home, I strongly recommend that if you choose to not crate, then start her off in a smallish room that you can corral off, that the both of them can kinda hang in for your trial separation testing. I discovered that my Simon had entirely too much room being left unchecked on our first floor, which led to the demise of an entire room of carpet in under an hour. Peaches did not seem to mind being locked in the kitchen (big kitchen tho) with him, and he was happier to have a smaller place to stay in. Good luck, can't wait for pics! :pawprint:

socmoe
December 1st, 2006, 01:35 PM
Thanks Jenn - actually I had planned on CJ staying in the family room with Yukon (who sleeps there and stays there when we are out) while I am out and for bed. The beh therapist (like you) said that a small room should comfort her and make her feel more secure. I am so excited - just bought a (make it 2!) kongs and new biscuits, etc. I will pick up our new addition tomorrow at 10am! Maureen