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I really need your help with Raj now

Cactus Flower
August 23rd, 2004, 11:02 AM
Ok folks, bear with me, this might be long-winded but I want to give you as much information as I can.
My new semester starts tomorrow. I have missed three semesters due to having surgeries, then a death in the family. All Raj has known since I've gotten her is having my undivided attention 24/7. That is going to change tomorrow.
She has severe seperation anxiety.
I've taken her with me everywhere, for the most part. She has a bed in the back of my Jeep Cherokee. If I am going to be somewhere where she can't come inside with me, she stays back there. I put the back seat down for her so she has more room. She has cold water (cooled by a freezer-pack), toys and a comfy bed. I leave the back hatch open for air and ventilation and have her tethered to a twenty foot cable. She NEVER leaves the Jeep when she is not on the cable, but people have complained when she is not tethered. They are frightened to walk past the Jeep- I suppose she looks scary to them :( . Anyway the cable doesn't bother her. It's just pointless and only for the comfort of those passing by. She sits back there just as content as can be. She doesn't jump out whether she's on that cable or not.
Leaving her at home is a different story. First of all, leaving her outside with Chloe is NOT an option. I know now that the Dane people don't recommend leaving them outside, but I didn't know that at the time I tried it. (Live and learn). I left her outside with Chloe for a short trip to the store. When I came back she was hyperventilating, overheated, foaming, had chewed apart everything in the yard- and chewed holes in her feet. (She chews herself when upset).
I've read many posts here on seperation anxiety and tried to take all of that advice (except crating her). I have left her for short periods and gradually increased the length of time. Left her with a Kong-type toy (that she's absolutely not interested in whether I'm gone or not LOL). Left the tv on, etc etc ad infinitum. My pharmacist just ordered Rescue Remedy for me, so I haven't tried that yet.
She has gotten better and better- the longest I've left her is for three hours. I make a huge fuss when I get home because I'm proud of her progress, and I've missed her so much! (Is it wrong to make a huge fuss? - please tell me if I shouldn't).
Each time I left, I put Chloe inside with her for company. The last time I left, I did NOT put Chloe inside with her. When I came home, I saw that Raj had chewed up a few things, chewed a hole in her foot, defecated on the floor (a FIRST for her), and was kind enough to sort my garbage for me.
Here's the problem: I am going to be gone for the longest I've ever left her. Chloe HATES being inside, and I want to be fair to Chloe, too. I don't want to make her miserable in order to make Raj happy. I love both of my dogs and want what's best for both of them. Making Chloe stay inside while I am at school doesn't seem fair to her. But what is the alternative? Please help me out, friends. I really need your advice.
My best friend jokes that I should have Raj certified as a "seizure-detecting dog", since I have a history of seizures and someone who would authorize the certificate. Then I could just take her to classes with me LOL. That's not an option- what kind of example would that be to my son, lying and manipulating like that?
So- what do you think? Should I leave her in the Jeep, where she is happiest just to wait for me? I would only be able to visit for a few minutes between classes. I only have two classes this semester, so it would be for a total of three hours. I have never left her in the Jeep that long , but I suspect she would be fine. But am I exascerbating the situation at home by always taking her with me? Should I leave her at home? And if so, how can I help her to be as happy with that, without making Chloe stay inside with her?
Any comments would be appreciated. And don't hesitate to point out anything you think I'm doing wrong or that is making the anxiety worse. I'm here to learn, and your observations are most welcome.

August 23rd, 2004, 11:09 AM
What about a crate?

August 23rd, 2004, 11:25 AM
My mom has a standard poodle that suffers from seperation anxiety, although he is not destructive, he just barks a lot. Having never had to deal with this (knock on wood), I have no advice. I can tell you that when you return home, you should ignore the dog while you set your purse and things down, look through, your mail, go potty, whatever you have to do. Coming home needs to be "no big deal" just like leaving.

August 23rd, 2004, 11:29 AM
Would it work if Raj is left in the car by herself? If it does go that route, less stress for her. So Chloe is left by herself outside, she would be happy there. Are they happy by themselves?

Maybe another alternative for Raj is doggy day care.

Good luck in finding something that works for your pooches. :)

So what are you taking at school?

Lucky Rescue
August 23rd, 2004, 11:36 AM
Oh, boy - a Dane with separation anxiety. Not much fun!:(

I have left her for short periods and gradually increased the length of time.
It's good that she's now up to 3 hours. I would keep doing that. And as LavRott said, you should ignore her when you come home. Don't even look her in the face. Just act as if there is no dog there at all for 10 - 15 minutes.

You should do the same when you leave. Just casually walk out the door. Also try varying your morning routine, so she won't start getting anticipatory dread by seeing you always do the same things in the same order that tells her your departure is imminent.

As for Chloe - I personally think dogs are better off in the house. No chance of being stolen, injured or poisoned by nutty people. If you're sure the two won't fight, I would leave both inside.

Isn't it way too hot to leave Raja in the jeep?

karen's zoo
August 23rd, 2004, 11:49 AM
I have recently gone back to work. I have my old lab girl and I have a 1yr old rottie. My lab loves the peace and the bay loves the day care. It costs me about 9 dollars a day but I figured that was cheaper than replacing carpets, doors etc. My rottie was use to going for a couple of hour run everyday so couldn't imagine him in the house for nine or so hours a day. Our yard isn't fenced so he would have to be tied and that just wasn't and option. So the day care works out he is amused, I feel better and the house is saved. :)

Cactus Flower
August 23rd, 2004, 11:50 AM
Fast responses- thank you all.

Ok, making the fuss is making it worse. Well dangit. That is going to be VERY hard for me, ignoring her. My heart will break, as I'm just as happy to see her as she is me LOL. But I will try. TRY TRY TRY. I promise. Thank you for pointing that out!

Varying the morning routine- hadn't thought of that, and will do!

LOL we live, um, lets just say in a very RURAL area. I've little worry about poisoning/stealing/injury by other people. People? What people? LOL. But thank you for your concern.

She hasn't gotten overly hot in the Jeep. She gets hotter when she just goes outside to potty or watch me weed the garden, actually. I always park in the shade, even if it means having to walk a ways to where I am going. And she does have all windows down and the back of the Jeep open.

Yes, each dog is happy without the other. But they are still buds, don't get me wrong.

No crate, sorry. Even if I could get one big enough for a Great Dane, I just know she would chew herself to pieces. She even chewed herself the time I put the back seat up in the Jeep (had to fill it with groceries), making her space in the back smaller.

Doggy daycare? Ye big city folk need ta come yonder and build one LOL :D
(Oh how I WISH we had one).

August 23rd, 2004, 11:55 AM
I'm thinking CF :D I'm thinkin :D

Cactus Flower
August 23rd, 2004, 12:00 PM
I'm waitin Luba :D I'm waitin :D

August 23rd, 2004, 01:31 PM
Sadly i have seperation anxiety from Trixy :( just kidding but i miss her so much whenever i am out and i make sure to bring her something whenever i'm back..

hopefully you could get a family or friend to come over too check on Raja..

August 23rd, 2004, 02:37 PM
Rural, you lucky lady! :p Okay, try this one.. hire a nanny, she could also do your laundry, make dinner....clean up. Or, take in a boarder who preferably works evenings...thinking as I go. :eek:

August 23rd, 2004, 03:13 PM
Wonder if there is someone 'close' to your school who would sit for you, maybe a couple times a week?

August 23rd, 2004, 03:14 PM
All dogs are different, but I've actually found Den-Den likes me to set a definite routine. Maybe it's security to him to know what to expect. On Mondays after a weekend at home, he watches me as I'm getting ready and waits to see if I'm going to take him. When I see him doing this, I tell him "Mama has to go to work-work today. Den-Den's going to stay home and be a good boy. (ears drop) Today's a good sleepy-pie day for Den-Den." After my little spiel, he'll jump up on the bed and settle in. On Thursdays, it's "Mama has to go to work-work. Today's a Connie Day (housekeeper). Den-Den is going to Grandma's house to see Grandma and Corky." He's so happy and when I leave my mom's house, he heads to her bedroom because he knows everybody gets to sleep in a little later. You're doing great by getting Raja used to your leaving. I don't think I would hide that you're leaving. I would think she would watch you with more anxiety if she doesn't know whether you're leaving or not. Den-Den has learned to trust what I'm telling him.

August 23rd, 2004, 04:46 PM
i agree with ignoring him before and after you go out, dont make any fuss and be organised, dont forget anything and have to come back for it, just leave fast and organised with no comments of good by or anything, for his interests it may feel like you are being cruel but kind and he really needs this to be happy..
as far as the jeep goes, i would not think that is a good idea. he needs to learn to be flexible and there will be many situations sitting in the jeep is not possible and he needs to be home. also you will worry unnecessarily, at home he is safe and you cna focus on study (necessary) knowing doggies are safe.
the first thing i learnt about dogs in the family is this- a dog should share your life, not control it. although it does not seem possible, sep anxiety is managable and you can do it with time. it is far kinder to raj to make him a flexible dog than a dog stuck in one habbit and deviation from which would make him sad. flexibility is far kinder and necessary for him to fit into your family and be happy.
im not saying dont have a routine, that is important but dont let him rule, you can have a strict routine without sep anxiety, we have a routine, and charlie has had bad sep anx probs in the past, but charlie is now more flexible yet still in that routine, she can be happy at home or happy in the car or wherever.
also when do you excersise him? we have had bad anxiety probs in the past and i find a very big run first thing in the morn or just before i leave for class works wonders, a great run till they are absolutly buggered, this worked wonders for us as she had little energy to stress out and mostly slept
good luck with it, give him and cloe big smooches on the nose for us all :D

August 23rd, 2004, 08:17 PM
I'm sorry CT, I've never had to deal with such issues.
Leaving her in the jeep aside, if she had to stay home I would leave Chloe in with Raja if it makes her feel better. I think Chloe being made to stay inside is better than making Raja go through more anxiety, unless Chloe acts like Raja does while inside? Chewing her feet and such.
Now, if that definitely isn't an option, my vote would be the jeep, but I would be so scared that someone would take her.. I know you said you don't have many ppl there but I would still be scared and couldn't concentrate on classes, but that's me. :) Who wouldn't wanna take her? I mean there are plenty of sickos in the world! Not to mention she's so cute!

August 23rd, 2004, 09:33 PM
Ok, making the fuss is making it worse. Well dangit. That is going to be VERY hard for me, ignoring her. My heart will break, as I'm just as happy to see her as she is me LOL. But I will try. TRY TRY TRY. I promise. Thank you for pointing that out!

I know how ya feel!! I get warm little butterflies when I pull up into the driveway and see Brick's lil head peeking up, then he sees me and his whole body shakes from wagging his tail so hard. It is soooo hard ignoring him when I come in the door cuz I'm sooo happy to see him!! Crazy eh?? It is hard and it will take time. I'm STILL working on it!! :o

Keep increasing the time you leave her alone, little by little and she will get used to it!!! Is there someone you know that can come let her out while you are gone??

I don't know if I could concentrate on my school work if I knew my dog was outside in the jeep!!! LOL I'd be skipping A LOT of classes!!! :cool:

Good luck girlie!!!!!!!! It will all work out!!!

Cactus Flower
August 23rd, 2004, 09:38 PM
you will worry unnecessarily
I would still be scared and couldn't concentrate on classes,
I don't know if I could concentrate on my school work if I knew my dog was outside in the jeep
You are absolutely RIGHT! Why didn't I think of that??? Even when I go to the local restaurant (not the one that let's Raj sit on the patio with me), I park the Jeep right at the window where I will be able to see her. Raj is just on the other side of the glass, and STILL I worry worry worry. My friends tease me that I don't take my eyes off of her, that I'm not really paying attention to them. I would not be able to see her from the inside of my classroom and I WOULD be completely stressed about that, wondering if anyone is bothering her, wondering if anyone (yes Sneaky2006) will STEAL her, etc. The college is in town and there ARE plenty of people there.

Melanie, I'd like to highlight the points you made that really struck me, but I'd end up highlighting your entire post. "A dog should share your life, not control it" (guilty as charged, and WOW that comment knocked me over!)...."It is far kinder to Raj to make her a flexible dog....." (EXCELLENT point). My goodness, Mel, everything you said really made sense. I'm humbled! I hadn't thought of things from that perspective.

Debanneball- I haven't seen you on the boards before- welcome and thank you very much for responding. I hope I see more posts from you in the future. The idea of a nanny is great, if only finances would allow. God knows I've got plenty of dishes, too ;)

Thank you EVERYONE for your efforts and comments. I appreciate it very much. AND- I've got good news!!!!!!! I went by the place that does pet boarding, just a few blocks away from the college. They are wonderful people that have given me advice before (as they own a little petstore I used to frequent). I asked if I could pleaseplease talk them into letting me board Raj by the hour, like in doggy-daycare. They not only said "sure", but they are only going to charge me ONE DOLLAR PER HOUR!!!!!!!!! They met Raj and loved her and said "She'll get the biggest run, I promise" :) They have an indoor/outdoor run, air conditioned inside etc etc etc.
I was originally thinking about boarding her there half the time, and taking her to school with me the other half, but you all are right in that I wouldn't be able to concentrate in class with Raj outside (and out of sight) in the Jeep. So I will just board her full-time.
I am worried to bits about how she will react- she's not good in noisy places or where there is a lot of activity. I'm scared that she will chew herself. But maybe this will be good for her? Maybe it will make her less sensitive to such things? And perhaps it will even help her learn to be less anxious when left at home. What do you think?
More good news- my pharmacist got some RescueRemedy shipped over from Albuquerque!!!! Should I give it to her when I take her to the boarding kennel? If so, for how long? (The first week?..)
I can't thank you enough, everyone, for being my "think tank" on this. I feel like I have come away from this thread with my eyelids peeled back LOL, seeing things much differently than I did before. I am enlightened! You'll never know how much this means to me. Huge cyber-hugs to you!

August 23rd, 2004, 09:52 PM

I say don't give the rescue remedy to her unless she needs it.
YOu can discuss this with the people at the day care and let them decide if she really needs it or not after you leave. She may be fine playing with other dogs and socializing, u never ever know.

BUT what you may want to do is BEFORE you start class take her there a couple times, the first time for an hour, the second time maybe two hours :D that way she'll know it's FUN and expect you to come back for her :D

August 23rd, 2004, 09:57 PM
BOTH of you should take the Rescue Remedy until you are settled into this new routine!! I am sooo glad that you have found something that will work!! It sounds great!

Cactus Flower
August 23rd, 2004, 10:21 PM
LOL Freyja! Is it that obvious?? You hit that one dead on!

Since the RescueRemedy is for humans, how much should I give Raj? It says four drops under the tongue for adults. She's bigger than me. Maybe five drops?
Good idea Luba- I'll leave it with the folks at the kennel for her as well, but I think I will give her some at least the first few visits. I'm so scared about the chewing.
And I didn't think of bringing her there for an hour or so before class, to show her I'll be coming back for her. That's a great suggestion :)

She won't be playing with other dogs, but she'll be able to see them in their runs, from hers. They all have their own runs.

August 23rd, 2004, 10:23 PM
Homeopathics are not based on amounts per se like allopathic medicines, they operate on more of an energy level so I would say that you should use the same amount for Raj.

Cactus Flower
August 23rd, 2004, 10:28 PM
Hmm. Well she is certainly energetic when she is having an anxiety attack, which I suspect she will have at least the first day at the kennel. Should I give her a bit more, since it has to do with energy levels? Or is that not the same as anxiety levels? I'm sure these questions seem so grade school to you LOL. But this is a first for me!

August 23rd, 2004, 11:09 PM
LOL, The Bach Flower Remedies work by stimulating the body’s own capacity to heal itself, by balancing negative feelings, helping you to take control, feel good about yourself, and get more out of life - or so says Mr. Bach (Edward that is not Johann Sebastian!!)

Cactus Flower
August 23rd, 2004, 11:22 PM
Thank you, Freyja. Interesting!

August 23rd, 2004, 11:27 PM
Grasshoppa u see this part:
BUT what you may want to do is BEFORE you start class take her there a couple times, the first time for an hour, the second time maybe two hours that way she'll know it's FUN and expect you to come back

Cactus Flower
August 24th, 2004, 12:21 AM
Yes, Mr. Miagi.

Did you see this part?
And I didn't think of bringing her there for an hour or so before class, to show her I'll be coming back for her. That's a great suggestion
Much appreciated. I'm going to implement that in the morning!

Gotta wax off now ;)

August 24th, 2004, 09:09 AM
CF...grasshoppa :D Sounds like it's going to work out for both you and Raja,wonderful!!
I have to take note of the quote"dogs should share your life,not rule your life"the same goes for cats :D
Sometimes it's scary the way we organize our life around the kitties and their habits...
We'll be going on holiday to South Carolina soon,I am already fretting on leaving :( Although my son will move back home,while we are gone!!

August 24th, 2004, 06:05 PM
"Blame it on my brain yeahh yeahhh"
knock off Milli Vanilli
Didn't see Grasshoppa lol

Cactus Flower
August 24th, 2004, 09:23 PM
Well today I went in early to the kennel. I gave Raj some Rescue Remedy and brought her in with her bed, blanket and stuffed monkey.
When I got there I started walking back to the kennel with her, and the lady took her from me and said "It's better if you let me take her". I wasn't pleased. Dats my baybee.
She explained "I don't want her to associate you with this. Let ME be the bad guy". What do you all think of that? I still wasn't happy, but I let her take Raj. I'd wanted to go back there with her, sit her in her bed, comfort her before leaving. I conceded on the grounds that the lady probably knew more about this than I do.
Boy was it hard to drop her off there! I was so scared and nervous, my hands were shaking. I left praying she wouldn't chew herself to bits, and certain that she would at least chew her bed to bits (and not for the first time).
I was not able to come back before going to class, due to helping a lady and her daughter- they were stranded on the side of the road. But I came back during lunch. She hadn't chewed herself OR her bed! I think the Rescue Remedy took the edge off of her anxiety! She was a bit overheated, panting heavily, drooling like mad but not all foamy and hyperventilating like usual!
We had lunch and went for a short walk. On the walk, she discovered an irrigation ditch/creek. At the irrigation ditch, she discovered that stepping into it cools her down a bit, and that suddenly pouncing in and out of it leaves me covered in mud splatter on the bank.
We returned to the boarding kennel. Her, wet and fretting about why we're going back in there, and me, mud-splattered from head to toe. She was not happy to have to go back in. I returned to the ditch and washed all of the mud off of me, then went back to school soaked in ditchwater.
Finished my classes, and hurried back to the kennel. No chewing!
And the bed was still intact. Again, she was panting frantically and obviously overheated. But not foaming and hyperventilating and completely off the charts.
The owner walked us out to the Jeep, and said he thought that dropping her off there regularly will be good for her, as "every time you pick her up, you're proving to her that you'll always come back, and lessening the anxiety". Your thoughts on this?
I will continue working with her at home, and as soon as I am able to leave her for the amount of time necessary to go to school, I will not need the kennel anymore. I'd like to even try (eventully) getting her used to staying at home without Chloe. Once (and IF) I achieve that, I will only bring her to the kennel once in a great while - just to keep her used to the place in case I ever need to board her there, and to keep the "flexibility" that Melanie mentioned.
What do you think?

August 24th, 2004, 09:55 PM
CF, I think everything you've said makes good sense. I'm sure that the people are used to people dropping off dogs and know what works best. Settling her in yourself might just make her more anxious. One of those little tricks to make it easier. Like going to the vet. If the vet reached out to take Den-Den from me, Den-Den's going to be defensive. If I hold him out to the vet and the vet takes him, it's ok. Same action, just different technique and it works great!
When I clip my mom's neighbor's poodle, Spunky, I don't allow them to stand around and watch. Spunky behaves horribly if they stay. When they leave, he loves the attention! Spunky is 12yr now and behaves well even if they're there because he is so used to it. They still are unable to even brush him because he knows how to get away with it. When they see him loving the grooming, they can't believe it! I'm sure Raja knows just how to push your buttons to make you feel guilty at leaving her. I'm wondering if it's a good idea for you to visit her during her stay. She thinks you've come to get her and then you leave again. She would probably adjust faster if you didn't.

August 24th, 2004, 10:04 PM
I think all and all everything went really really good :D

Except u probably stunk in class lol ;)

Cactus Flower
August 24th, 2004, 10:23 PM
Thank you GlassLass. That's interesting, what you said about handing DenDen to the vet. Just a subtle change, but I'm sure Raj would pick up on it. In that case I'm glad I let her take Raj back there without me. It was just really hard at the time.
It's STILL hard, actually. No matter how well they handle her and how nice they are to her, I still felt like I was dropping her off at prison. Call it an "indoor/outdoor run" if you like, but it's just a glorified cage! A long one that goes from inside to outside. A bit more than they have at our animal shelter, sure. Still, I was shocked when I saw it. I've never seen a boarding kennel before. I don't know what I was expecting, but that wasn't it. What is typical for a boarding kennel?
I'm still very glad that Raj didn't self-destruct. I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. I'd expected the worst. Hurrah for Rescue Remedy! (I think?).

Lubes- you think I stunk? Surely you mean from the ditchwater, right?...LOL....I mean, I took a shower and everything this morning...and I didn't think my perfume was that bad...

August 24th, 2004, 10:35 PM
Believe me, I know how anxious you were. I'm thinking it was the same feeling as when I took Den-Den to be neutered. Anxiety and guilt all together! I imagine the first day was the worst. Next time, she'll know what to expect and know you'll come back. Yeah, after I wrote about handing Den-Den TO the vet, I realized maybe people with large dogs don't do that. :D I can just see an owner passing an 85lb dog with outstretched arms! :D Small dog owners are familiar with that. If you hold them close to your body, the dog thinks the vet is attacking you.

August 25th, 2004, 11:12 AM
Sounds like they know what they are talking about!! I don't really know what to expect from a boarding kennel either, and I'm sure when I have to, it will be just as hard for me to leave Brick as you!!! Did you take some RR too>????LOL

Your a good mommy CF, Raja knows that, and she knows you are coming back for her!!! Just relax and everything will be fine!!! I do agree with glassy, maybe visiting her during lunch might not be such a good idea!!

I like your ideas about weening her from the kennel and getting her used to being left at home - in time it will work!! Keep at it're doing awesome!!! :D