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The worst question that I have to ask

cockermother
March 24th, 2008, 05:46 PM
I really feel awful even considering this, but I wanted to ask you guys, when is it time to quit? Decide that you're not the person to take care of a dog, and give him up?
Some of you really helped me with Flappy before and his separation anxiety. He was doing really well, for a while. I practiced ignoring him, and crating him for incrementally longer periods. One strange thing that happened with this is that he developed a more particular dependance on me- that is, he now gets frantic not when he's left alone, but when I'm not with him, even if there are other people around.
Well, today I was forced to leave him for 8 hours during the day. He'd been doing okay in his crate for shorter periods, and I thought he was okay. When I came home, he'd escaped (actually bent the bars and squeezed himself out) and had been throwing himself against the door with what must have been huge force- the hinges are all battered up, the metal handle has teeth marks all over it, the door has huge scratches on it- and no doubt he's been barking and screaming for goodness knows how long. I was so heartbroken at this set back that I just sat down and cried while he jumped all over me.
I'm really seriously beginning to wonder if my lifestyle is fair to him and me. I realised today that not being able to leave the house for more than four hours is having a serious impact on me. I find it hard to talk to people now because I spend so little time outside the house. I resent him for trapping me and for costing me so much money in walking and sitting. I'm trying to write a dissertation and I'm having real trouble because i can't leave him for long enough to go to the library, get everything I need, and come home. I got him first when I was living with someone and he was hardly ever alone, and I really hate to even consider giving him up.... I love him so much and it breaks my heart to even think of abandoning him. The next person would be his fourth owner. I don't even know if anyone would adopt him- a ten year old dog with problems? I mean, surely there are plenty of homeless dogs who are younger and have less problems that need good homes. I'd love to see him with a family where he could have someone around all the time, but I'm not even sure that anyone like this would adopt him.
Even if I suck up the cost and go to the professionals, how long would it take before I could leave for 6 or 8 hours, as I sometimes have to? I'm so stuck. I feel like I have to try, but then I equally feel that maybe I'm being unfair to him, and that I just can't meet his needs and I need to admit that.

Thanks for listening. Any feedback appreciated, because this is really killing me.

clm
March 24th, 2008, 06:03 PM
Before you give up totally, I would get a trainer to come out to your house and see what their assessment is. It certainly can't make it any worse than it is. Try to find one that specializes in SA.

Cindy

Mud's Mom
March 24th, 2008, 06:13 PM
Several years ago I scooped up a stray that was hit by the car in front of me on the way to work. She suffered extreme seperation anxiety. She had to stay at the vets for the first week then when she first came home I took a week off. When I went back to work she tore up the house and wailed all day. I got a crate and she fought so hard to get out she ripped open incisions that were almost healed.

My vet suggested traquilizers. I don't remember what it was but we started her at a pretty high dose and worked it down over a matter of many months. It actualy worked to change her behavior pattern. We kept some on hand after that and occationaly gave her some as needed like when our schedules were going to be crazy for a week or two or when she had to stay at a kennel. The point was to not let her stress and slide back into that behavior. I had her about a year and she was doing well when she went off to a wonderful new home with a retired couple and 3 other dogs. I gave her up because I had not planned on having a dog in my 3rd floor walk up condo but I couldn't just leave her and I couldn't rehome her untill most of her issues were ironed out.

Talk to your vet - explain how serios it is and see what they say.

good luck let us know how things go.

sugarcatmom
March 24th, 2008, 07:40 PM
Sorry to hear that you're still having such a tough time with this. In your other post, I mentioned something called Reconcile (http://www.reconcile.com/), which is a fairly new doggy Prozac that is non-sedating and used for just this type of situation. Ideally you combine it with some behaviour modification with the intention of weaning him off it in the long run. Might be worth talking to your vet about at this point, since things are getting so desperate. Otherwise, as I'm sure you know, finding a new home for Flappy is going to be next to impossible.:sad:

danaekitty
March 25th, 2008, 08:08 AM
I'm so sorry that you're feeling this way - I know it must be so hard for you to even think about giving up your dog, not to mention the guilt you're feeling on his behalf, and for the resentment.
I don't have any suggestions, I just wanted to let you know that I don't think you're a bad person for having these thoughts. You've done everything you can so far, and it sounds like you're willing to do even more, even if it costs you. To me, that is a great dog owner, even if SOMETIMES you're away for eight hours at a time.
At ten, who knows if your dog will overcome the emotional issues, but you're a hero for helping him try.
Don't give up on him yet, he really wants to make you happy!

shepherdpuppy
March 25th, 2008, 11:56 AM
First I want to say how much I feel your pain and confusion of what to do. It would break my heart to have to give up my shepherd, but at the same time I understand how frustrating it can get when their behavior gets out of hand. You have to do what is best for you and the dog.

My only suggestion would be the same thing someone already mentioned, which is contact a professional if you can afford it. Maybe they can give some ideas you hadn't thought of yet. I've also learned that with dogs we have to be consistent in our training. I know that I tend to get lazy when I'm trying to teach him certain behaviors and I don't do it as consistently as I should; that only slows down the process. Again, that's just what I've learnd with my dog, I'm not sure if it applies in your situation.

The best of luck to you and your boy.

coppperbelle
March 25th, 2008, 08:26 PM
I can certainly feel your pain. I have been where you are and although it wasn't easy we did get through it. I still sometimes question my decision to keep trying. Like today, when I come home and find out she has pooped and peed in the house even after being let out twice before I left.
Years ago I did't think there were any other options for her. I thought if I didn't keep her there was no chance of anyone else adopting her because of all her problems. Since becoming involved in rescue work I have found that there is a home for every dog. It may take a while to find the right one but it will come along.
Of course tomorrow is another day and you may feel differently. If that isthe case; a breed specific rescue group may be able to offer you some advice. I did try the puppy Prozac's and had no success. If I were to do it over again I would definitely try the tranquilizers. I have some on hand now for her when things get especially tense. Fore example if we have visitors and she has to be kept in a separate room for whatever reason I have to give her something to calm her down otherwise she will pace for the duration. No one wants to over medicate their dogs but if it helps you keep him then it is worth it.
And to answer your question, only you will know when enough is enough.