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Separation - I'm being held hostage by my dog.

January 3rd, 2008, 12:39 PM
I got a dog from my local animal shelter. He is approximately 1 year old, (I think) a Catahoula/Lab mix (I think), about 30 lbs. I've had him for almost 3 weeks. He is very friendly, affectionate, playful, sweet as pie. He wasn't housetrained when I got him, but he is now. He has bad manners, but I'm working on that. I know he was in one other animal shelter before the shelter where I got him and he had at least one other owner.
He will go into his crate without problem, and will sit quietly while I'm in the apartment. He'll chew his nylabone or kong and then go to sleep. If I leave the apartment he wails, cries, howls, barks, etc. LOUDLY! I can hear him outside 75 feet away. My neighbors can hear him loud and clear. I've tried leaving for 1 second and then coming back in. Then 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes. I've mixed up the durations. No go. Lots of Noise. I once HAD to leave and was gone 45 minutes, he cried the entire time ( I video taped him) also peed and pooped in the crate. Yes the crate is appropriately sized. I've ordered the Comfort Zone diffuser. Any good?

Help! What am I doing wrong and what can I do to "fix" him? I don't want to take him back to the shelter. No, doggy daycare is not a solution. That only works M-F 7-5.

January 3rd, 2008, 01:46 PM
So nice of you to have adopted from a rescue. Don't know what a comfort zone diffuser is. The dog may have a troubled past or is just naturally insecure. Have you asked your vet? or maybe a dog trainer could help. Even the rescue you got it from might have some ideas? they are experienced animal handlers. Sometimes also a dog might need medication to calm him down. I think that professional help is needed here. Do let us know what happend, we care.

white wrabbit
January 3rd, 2008, 02:32 PM
does he know the quiet command? is the house quiet when you leave? if so turn a radio or tv on..

here is how i got mine to stop she know quiet and is fine in her kennel if some one is home.. (for us just leaving the tv or radio on did not work but it helps) now if he knows the quiet command and you have an answering machine call home and say the dogs name and quiet.. but you would need the kind he can hear..

made mine think some one was home but taking a nap or some thing..

January 3rd, 2008, 03:01 PM
You aren't doing anything fact, you are doing everything right. :thumbs up

He is only a year old and has had a least one other owner already. :sad: The poor fella thinks he is going to be dumped again. :grouphug: You've only had him three weeks and it's just going to take a little more time for him to realize that he has finally found his forever home. I got my husky when he was a pup and he did this for the first 3 months. :o

Good luck and I hope your neighbours are understanding. :grouphug:

January 3rd, 2008, 03:04 PM
I forgot to say....welcome to :thumbs up and we would love to see pics of your boy. :D

January 3rd, 2008, 03:06 PM
It sounds like he has separation anxiety. I went through this with one of my dogs. The good news is that they can overcome this, the bad news is that it takes time. The dog will have to become secure in their surroundings and learn that you will come back.

You can try medication like Clomicalm which is available from your vet. It works like Prozac does for people. It doesn't tranquilize the dog but takes away some of its anxiety. It is used in conjunction with training. A more natural produce that works for some dogs is Rescue Remedy which can be purchased in a health food store.

Good luck

January 3rd, 2008, 10:20 PM
First off, good on you for rescueing a dog!! :)

Secondly, I agree that it sounds like seperation anxiety. One of our rescued goldens had it severely -- we nicknamed him Velcro, because he'd 'velcro' himself to your side when given the chance!! Our boy had a severe case of SA -- we had to start by just leaving the room for a minute, come back and praise. Working the time up and then adding in the slamming of a door, the starting of the car, etc. It all took time and patience, but the dog eventually came to terms with the fact that we were NOT going to desert him. But remember, don't give the dog attention until he's quiet, or else he'll have trained YOU to come when he 'calls' ;)

We always left the radio on quietly, so that the dog could hear talking. It seemed to soothe him. Through trial and error, we found out that he hated opera and loved sports commentary :D

Even after years of training, if we knew we were going to be away for awhile, or in and out of the house but unable to let him out of the crate, we'd give him a kong with peanut butter in it ... yum for him!

Rescue Remedy is another option. Its a natural remedy, to decrease stress. And YES it does work. I use it on myself, both dogs and the horses and even tried it on the cows ;) I use it on the dogs if there is a thunder storm, or if they are going to be in an unpreventable/nessecary stressing situation. You can get it in a spray (my preference!) or in drops that you add to water. I use it on the horses when they are going to be left alone in the barn, or trailered alone. I give them the spray before any stress occurs, then let them know its okay and then leave them alone -- the RR really makes a difference for them! But remember, don't let the dog become dependant on it or anything crazy ;)

Good luck and don't give up!

-- zztopp

"Say what you mean, mean what you say, do what you said you were going to do!"
-- DJ, the best dog trainer ever

January 3rd, 2008, 10:41 PM
My little maggie had separation anxiety really bad, she pooped every time in her crate even if i was only gone for a little while and screamed like a banshee it was horrible. and if i didn't crate her she would eat my stuff.
I tried many things. Turning on the television or radio works really well. but i guess time works the best. it always takes time.
Food only works if a dog has a really high food drive, my dog wouldn't touch anything i put in her kennel when i left... not even steak. the anxiety kinda puts their stomach on hold i guess. but each dog is different. you'll just have to see what works for him. its all trial and error.
Its really nice that you used the desensitization method, I'm surprised it didn't work.
You could try running him before you leave or some kind of vigorous exercise so that he's all tuckered out when you leave. Perhaps kennel him for a little while before you leave, or even before you start leaving (ie putting on coat and shoes). Some dogs get anxious just watching you get ready to leave.

Best of luck to you and don't worry you'll figure out something. Just hope your neighbors are patient :rolleyes:

January 8th, 2008, 08:24 AM
I have an appointment with our Vet this morning. We're going to try Clomicalm. I don't like the idea of medicating him, but I'm not sure what else to do. I can't leave him alone in the apartment, which means I can't leave the apartment except to walk him or go to Petco or Petsmart.
Wish me luck.

January 8th, 2008, 08:45 AM
i hope everything works out for u .. my dog baby (RIP) came to us when she was rather old from a family who didnt pay any attention to her and DESTROYED EVERYTHING when we laft the house so we had to keep her in a crate and always left the tv on ... eventually she got better with lots and lots of love .....

My cats had the same problem .. we give them treats and leave the tv and a light on (one AWAY from the door because it seems to make it worse if the one by the door is on) for them as well as giving them lots of love and telling them we love them and will be home soon and leaving a shirt that was recently worn on the bed .. it seems to comfort them and they dont cry anymore :D .. hope some of this helps .. GOOD LUCK

January 8th, 2008, 08:59 AM
I foster dogs from the local shelter and that's a problem with almost all of them. I had a pitbull that was just adopted and she has some severe separation anxiety.
They develop this problem just like a child would from abandonment. Once their confidence is restored it goes away but there are a few things you can do to help it move along.
don't linger before you go. just grab your stuff and get out.
don't make a big deal about coming home. or he'll sit by the door and bark and wait for the party to some home.
don't bring him treats when you some home.
before and after you leave kind of ignore him.

another option, buy a barking collar. not the electric ones (to each is own that's just not my style) but the water ones. it sprays water into there face when they bark. like pavlov's dog, they too will eventually get it.

January 8th, 2008, 10:20 AM
Well, I'm back from the Vet and he gave me Prozac (10mg tablets) not Clomicalm. 1 tablet a day for 30lb dog. I don't take aspirin, cold medicines, etc. I don't take any medication unless a doctor orders me to. I can't believe I'm going to give my dog Prozac. PROZAC!
We leave the radio on all the time (so he doesn't associate turning the radio on with us leaving), he has one of my worn shirts in his crate, I alter "leaving routine", give him Kong with peanut butter wiped inside, he's briskly walked/jogged 30 minutes 3 times a day, he chases a tennis ball in the apartment (a lot) - up and down stairs. I think I am doing everything.

***I do have a crate training question however - I put him in the crate and give him the peanut buttered Kong and then leave for 10 seconds and come back. Do I let him out then and in a few minutes re-crate him and leave for 30 seconds, come back and let him out, re-crate leave for 1 minute, etc. OR do I leave him in the crate after I return and turn around and leave again keeping him in the crate the whole time? Does that make sense?

Thanks for all of your responses!! (past and future)