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seperation anxiety.. disc dog training too.

May 4th, 2009, 11:50 AM
Hi. I have an 8 month old lab/shepherd/border collie mix. She is super athletic, playful, and obedient. This is the second medium/large sized dog I have owned. I rehomed my first lab because of her sever seperation anxiety to me... and now this second dog has it as well. It is not nearly as bad, but she does show the signs. Wighning before I leave, after I'm gone.. getting my dirty clothes out and laying in them, etc... She is not destructive like my other dog, but I'm afraid it could get worse. I do what I know to do, ignore her before I leave, and when I come home until she settles down and forgets I just got home, and not to make a big deal out of it. Also I try to not to have too much of a ruitine. So she cannot be ready for my leaving or arrival home. If you know anything else I can do.. let me know.

Also. Hoping to get her to be a disc dog, but she isn't the best at wanting to retreive. She used to do it perfect, but has changed her mind.. she goes after the disc or whatever I throw every time, but usually only brings it back like half way, or not at all... I'm thinking about treats every time she brings it back to me.. but I'm not sure. Any sugestions on this would be apreciated as well. Thanks guys.

May 4th, 2009, 11:52 PM
bump... anyone with any suggestions?

May 5th, 2009, 09:07 AM
Separation anxiety can definitely be worked with, even the most severe of cases if you're committed and patient.

You can find some wonderful tips in a book by Patricia McConnell called "I'll Be Home Soon." Not just in dealing with SA but in preventing it as well.

As for retrieving, we use treats and praise all the time when initially teaching our dogs a new behavior. Once the behavior is achieved easily, we then switch to using treats and praise randomly to reinforce it.

Have you considered training classes? I think once the basic courses are completed and successfully passed, you can then enroll in agility classes. What fun!

R. Bear
May 5th, 2009, 11:06 AM
Exercise, Exercise and more exercise! Along with training and all the other things you are doing to help quell the anxiety, exercise is a crucial part of it all. From my experience I can say a minimum 2 hours a day will do it. 1/2 hour run/walk in the morning (off leash or on long-line); 1 hour or more running & play & some walking after you come home from work (off leash or long-line); 45 minute on-leash walk in the evening (incorporate rapid pace with slower paces, sit-stays, heeling, etc). A tired dog is a good dog.

I also found with one of my dogs that giving a peanut butter filled Kong before I leave for work helps. He can't wait for me to leave for work so he can get it!!

May 5th, 2009, 11:16 AM
Thanks guys. I was in training with a retired police officer. But wasn't learning anything I didn't already know or couldn't do with her...
This is the first dog I have had trouble with training to retreive. All her other training is goign perfect, and the seperation anxiety is starting to get batter alaready. I will try to remember to get a kong, just have to put cheese or something in it, as she throws up after she eats peanut butter...

May 5th, 2009, 11:19 AM
As for excersise... I have a hard time walking her a lot.. disabilities from riding accidents in the passed.. so I usually take her to the park once a day for about an hour, or until shes totally pooped, play frisbee with her, or she chases around my sisters kids. Also she plays with the cats in the house as well. They run up and down the halls. I wish I could walk her more, but nothing. She gets out every weekend to my moms country house and plays really hard with her chocolate lab.

May 5th, 2009, 12:11 PM
1. Exercise is great and needed, but not the only way to tire her. Mental workouts are just as tiring as physical ones and it benefits her on so many other levels.

2. Her age has a lot to do with her reluctance to retrieve since she was doing it just fine before. She knows what you want she is choosing not to do it because she wants to control the game. One way to do it is to have 2 balls/frisbees so she doesn't have the only conveted toy. Have her on a long leash and work the game with short distances. The leash keeps her from playing 'keep away' or from getting so far away from you that you have lost the connection. Practice in short spurts so that she doesn't get bored. Do not go after the toy and engage in her game. If she wants to play then it will be on your terms. Often if you ignore a dog who is playing 'keep away' they will eventually come right up to you and practically poke you with the toy to say "Hey, I still want to play - don't you see me?" It does take time and patience.

3. Be very aware that you have had 2 dogs with SA - What is the common factor here? It is very common for people to say "It's just amazing, my dogs all seem to have the same personality (or issues) even though they were totally different dogs. That is because dogs mirror who we are. If you are over bonding with your dog or not taking the time to teach her how to self entertain and be alone then we need to reframe how you are doing things. I am not trying to lay blame, but to open your eyes to what might be happening to exacerbate this problem.