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Puppy - anxious? How can I help him?

February 11th, 2009, 08:14 PM
My 8-mo-old lab/cocker pup, Ozzy, hasn't had the easiest month. I recently sold my condo, and I'm getting ready to move into my new house Friday. When I listed the condo, I brought Ozzy to live with my inlaws (they are very good granddogparents and have provided stability for Ozzy). He's been living there for a month & a half. I couldn't take the mommy-guilt and I've been bringing Ozzy home on the weekends. So during the week he's at my inlaws, weekends he's with me. It isn't the most stable environment being shipped around so much, and to compensate I've tried to ensure he has lots of exercise.

During this time, he was also neutered and couldn't go in his crate because of his cone. He never liked being left alone in the crate to begin with (separation anxiety in the form of barking, crying, howling). For 2 weeks, he didn't go in the crate at all. Now it's hard to get him in there again. So we tried leaving him out and he destroyed some shoes, etc. So now it's back in the crate. The last 2 times he was left alone in the crate - he destroyed his bedding. The first time, he was alone about 5 hours, the second time just 1 hour.

I'm, of course, trying to find a reason for destroying the beds. Is it the "usual" separation anxiety from not being in the crate much or being left alone much? Is it anxiety from the changing environment and lack of stability? Both? Should I not put any bedding in there? I feel bad leaving him just on the plastic but don't want him to eat or choke on anything.

Secondly, on Friday we move into our new house and I know there will be an adjustment period for him. He'll probably wonder where the heck we are, and what is all our stuff doing there. I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to help him adjust to the new home, to feel stable and secure there? Also, how long will it take to adjust? Could this make his separation anxiety even worse, and what can I do about it, if anything? All I can think of to do is give him lots & lots of exercise.

February 11th, 2009, 09:06 PM
Sounds like your dog needs a more solid routine. I think with all the moving around he is up in sorts and confused. I would try to get him back into the crate training. Seems like that is what he needs. Also have thought about getting him some DAP? Dog Appeasing Phermone. We use the plug ins. You can get spray or collar form of DAP. It seems to help keep our guys calmer while we are gone.

Try just putting a blanket in the crate and a kong full of goodies! Do you turn on the TV or radio when your gone? Also crate him when your home too so he can get used to it. Feed him in the crate. That helps.

Good Luck! I think your baby will be fine once he is settled into a good solid routine.

February 12th, 2009, 03:52 PM
Saw this mentioned somewhere before-----Put a piece of your (Well-worn-dirty) clothing (not-washed)--something you won't miss too much if he decides to destroy it!---Put it in the crate when you leave. Something with your scent on it. Someone also made a recording of their own voice talking to the dog and let it play while they were gone---Don't know how it is done but somebody who has the 'smarts' would know! Maybe can be on some kind of timer so that it can be played several times while you are gone.

February 12th, 2009, 05:48 PM
I agree, it probably is all the moving around. And going into a new house won't help but at least it will be the start of a solid routine...

Thanks for the tips! I will keep putting him in the crate, even when we are home, feeding him in the crate, etc. It's kind of funny - as soon as he goes in the crate, he is so anxious. I'm hopeful that he will learn to relax in there with consistency.

I'll definitely put in a treat-filled kong and play the radio when we're gone. Although neither of those worked for his anxiety before - we actually had to put him on meds but it made him urination out of nowhere (just as he was sitting or walking around, like he couldn't help it) so we took him off it.

I'll try putting some clothing in there too - thanks for the tip. I've heard it before but never tried it.

Any other suggestions for how to help him adjust to the new environment, etc?

February 17th, 2009, 09:49 AM
So we are in the new house now! We've spent the last 4 days unpacking, putting together furniture, and getting settled in. Needless to say, we've been busy! Ozzy has been a good boy and even started playing with his toys on his own rather than coming to us to play since we're busy. Perhaps a bonus side effect will be increased independance for him! Before he couldn't be out of your sight, and now he lies down in the other room and plays in the big yard no problem.

For the last 3 days, we've left him at home in his crate for 2 - 4 hours. We put on the radio, give him a treat-filled kong, and leave without making a fuss. He cried the first time, but the last 2 times he was too busy eating his treat to care. For all I know, he could have started crying 10 minutes later but at least it's a start!

When we came home, he was crying and barking but it could have been because he heard the garage door open. So the last time, we snuck up to the door to listen and we didn't hear anything! So that's a good sign too! We are really hoping that he is getting used to the idea of us leaving and coming back, and hopefully he continues to be okay!

Tomorrow will be a big test for him - he'll be alone all day while we're at work. He'll have a big walk in the morning and after work, but hopefully he'll be okay all day!!

Otherwise in the house, he seems okay. I think he's learning this is our house now - all our stuff is here. He paces a bit at night (sleeping in our room with the door closed) and he listens for sounds a lot (getting used to new sounds). But I think he's doing okay overall.

Just wanted to give you all an update, and see if you have any more advice or tips to share!