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My puppy shakes before i leave

richie
February 1st, 2011, 06:50 AM
I have a 6 month old lab. On weekdays before i go to work, just as im about to leave my room he starts crying and starts shaking as if hes cold or something. I feel bad for him. As soon as i close the door he starts barking and straching the floor. He only does this when i leave him locked in my room. I cannot leave him to wonder around the house as he makes a mess of stuff.

BMDLuver
February 1st, 2011, 08:00 AM
Sounds like the beginning of separation anxiety. How long are you gone for? How much do you exercise him before you leave? Have you considered a crate where he can see more of his surroundings? Do you have a set daily routine?

erykah1310
February 1st, 2011, 09:57 AM
Do you say anything to him or try to soothe him when he starts doing this? If so, this would be doing the opposite of what you would like, its rewarding the behavior.

richie
February 1st, 2011, 09:59 AM
Sounds like the beginning of separation anxiety. How long are you gone for? How much do you exercise him before you leave? Have you considered a crate where he can see more of his surroundings? Do you have a set daily routine?

Im gone for about 8 hours but my mom lets him out of my room around 10am. I dont walk him before i leave. I do have a crate in my room but rarely use it.

Soundy
February 1st, 2011, 10:45 AM
You might want to try the crate... keep in mind that dogs are den animals, and their den is their cozy, safe place. In fact, you should try to encourage him to be in the crate as his regular resting place - leave the door open so he can go in anytime, coax him in with treats now and then, leave the door open when he's just resting inside, and NEVER lock him in the crate as punishment. He should feel like that's HIS little private space where he can go to be safe, so when you do lock him in, he'll be comfortable there.

I read a great piece on separation anxiety a little while ago, that I've found really useful with our dogs: it said one of the causes is when the dog feels he's the pack leader, and then when you leave, he feels like part of his pack is missing, and this distresses him, because he feels responsible for the rest of the pack and can't go looking for you.

To prevent this, you have to assert your position as pack leader, or top dog. The one most useful step to do this with ours has been NOT letting them jump up on us: according to the article, when you allow him to do this, you're allowing him to invade your space, and that makes him feel more in control. When he tries to do this, don't push or instruct him down, just step back, to enforce the idea that YOU are in charge and it's NOT okay for him to enter your space on his own... then once he's settled down, INVITE him in (or pick him up, if he's small enough).

Once you're more established as the pack leader, he won't get as worried when you leave, because he doesn't feel responsible for looking after you. And like erykah says, DON'T make a fuss about it - just put him in his crate, lock the door, maybe give him a treat, and once he's calm, just leave quietly. He'll know then that he's in his safe place and all is good with the world, and should be a lot calmer.

Now of course, that's not the ONLY cause of separation anxiety, and these steps won't work for everyone, but they've made a big - and very immediate - difference with our three little rats, so I'd say they're worth a shot. One other thing though, if your mom is letting him out/taking him out for a walk mid-day, she MUST follow the same routine: she needs to assert her place above him, and not make a fuss over putting him back in the crate.

You SHOULD also adjust your schedule to allow time to take him for a walk BEFORE you go - Labs have a lot of energy, and a walk beforehand will help him be calmer in his crate. Also, you want to make sure to take him STRAIGHT outside to do his business when you get home!

tenderfoot
February 1st, 2011, 12:10 PM
"When he tries to do this, don't push or instruct him down, just step back, to enforce the idea that YOU are in charge and it's NOT okay for him to enter your space on his own... then once he's settled down, INVITE him in (or pick him up, if he's small enough)."

Good ideas over all - but if you back away from the dog as he is jumping on you, you have just empowered him because he backed you out of his space. Instead you should hold your ground and step forward towards him. Do not push, shove or knee him - it is not to create pain for the dog but to protect your personal bubble. When he is calm and preferably sits calmly in front of you then you can calmly pet him on your terms.

If you say "don't chew my shoe" and immediately hand him a toy instead, is he learning that grabbing your shoe gets him a toy? So if you tell him to get out of you space but then pick him up, does he learn that jumping on you gets him picked up?
Try to be clear that only after he calms down and backs away will he get some thing nice. Teach him to start thinking about what works (calmness) to get him what he really wants (attention).

Soundy
February 1st, 2011, 12:23 PM
"When he tries to do this, don't push or instruct him down, just step back, to enforce the idea that YOU are in charge and it's NOT okay for him to enter your space on his own... then once he's settled down, INVITE him in (or pick him up, if he's small enough)."

Good ideas over all - but if you back away from the dog as he is jumping on you, you have just empowered him because he backed you out of his space. Instead you should hold your ground and step forward towards him.

Good point too.

As I said, these are things that work FOR US. The exact actions may or may not work for other people or other dogs, but it's something to start with, and the concept is the same.

I'm gonna try that moving toward them, though... makes sense.

BMDLuver
February 1st, 2011, 12:29 PM
Im gone for about 8 hours but my mom lets him out of my room around 10am. I dont walk him before i leave. I do have a crate in my room but rarely use it.

It would be a good idea to take him for a walk and some exercise before you leave. When your Mom lets him out does she then take him for a walk? Labs need exercise and are very high energy generally.

millitntanimist
February 2nd, 2011, 09:49 AM
I read a great piece on separation anxiety a little while ago, that I've found really useful with our dogs: it said one of the causes is when the dog feels he's the pack leader, and then when you leave, he feels like part of his pack is missing, and this distresses him, because he feels responsible for the rest of the pack and can't go looking for you.


I'm sorry but I disagree. Dominance theory is based on the bad science of decades past, to the point that many of the researchers who made those conclusions have issued public renunciations of their findings. Here is the scientist who lead the research at Wolf Park http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNtFgdwTsbU
It has also been derided by every major animal welfare organization that exists today (e.g. http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/dominance%20statement.pdf ).

I do agree that that dog needs some exercise! If you can't walk him before you have to leave could you look into a dog walker to come partway through the day? Or maybe send your pup to a doggy daycare a few times a week?

A dog being left alone for that long needs something to stimulate it mentally (think about what a 3 year old would do if you left them alone in a room for 8 hours). Fill a kong with your pups daily diet + a few meaty bits and freeze them so it takes hours to get them open. Raw marrow bones are also great to chew on (just don't give them too much or they'll get the runs). Have your mom drop them in throughout the day, only when the dog is quiet.

If you do want to introduce the crate more regularly (which I think would be a good idea as well) don't do it all at once. Work up to it. Play games. Lure the dog into the crate and shut the door for a few seconds, then open it again and let them out. Don't wait until the dog is upset to open the door, they will either think it is a punishment or that fussing gets them out. Gradually build up to longer and longer intervals. Have some crate time where you put them in for an hour or so while you are in the room with them.
Only feed them in the crate and when you do put their food inside and shut them out (just for a second) so that they want to get in there.

Make sure that when you do get home the dog gets at least an hour of solid exercise (this is NOT leash walking, this is fetch in the park, hiking, ski/bikejoring, running with other dogs etc.)

hope this helps!

Soundy
February 2nd, 2011, 10:10 AM
My experience disagrees with your links. Take that for whatever it's worth. *shrug*