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Catt31 February 27th, 2004 09:31 PM

separation anxiety
I've searched the world wide web, read books, magazines, articles, talked to vets, pet store owners, friends, family...and now I turn to you my friends!! Here is the situation with my new dog Brick, its a long have a seat folks!!!

On Tuesday of this week (3 days ago), we adopted a 2 year old dog from the pound. He is a shepherd/rottweiller cross, and we don't know too much about his background. He is a very well behaved, sweet dog. He knows a few commands (sit, come, lay down, get your ball) and plays fetch VERY well! He is a fairly smart little boy! He tends to be a bit of a "Velcro" dog and only seems to relax completely when my fiancée and I are both in the room. We realize that it is still early in our relationship, and that he needs to learn to trust us, but it gets worse from here.

We both took the Wed. off work so we could slowly get him used to being alone. We did what many training manuals said, left him for short bits of time, came home, played with him, left again, etc. We had him in the back porch area, and he whined and barked when we left. When we got back after our hour away, he was soaking wet, and clearly upset. We played and walked him shortly after and he was as happy as could be!

On Thursday when we had to go back to work, we put him in the back porch, with his blanket, his water and his toys (we filled his Kong up with peanut butter) - all the little tricks the experts suggest. He shredded the door and the trim and had chewed his way out of his cone (which he had because he had just been neutered on Tues.). We went and bought him a kennel (plastic sides and metal door) hoping that would help. We tried luring him in with treats, making it seem like a "nice" place, but he was very defiant to it. It was a chore to get him inside. We left him in for short periods of time with treats then let him out. He whined a bit, but got busy digging out the treats in the Kong.

Today (Fri.) we put him in this morning, with a bone and his Kong filled with treats and his blanket, and went to work. My fiancée came home around noon to check on him - he was sweating, soaked and chewed the blanket to shreds. He put in another blanket and gave him his ball that he loves and left for work. When I got home, he had busted right out of the kennel. He only got into the garbage in the kitchen and did not chew anything else in the house (to my relief).

It is apparent he is suffering from Separation Anxiety, right??? Thank God it's the weekend so we can try to convince him that we ARE coming home and that he will be ok. We will continue our leaving for short periods of time on Sat. and Sun.

We are looking into obedience classes for him so he can socialize and refresh his memory on some commands and basic training. He does tend to pull on the leash when we walk him, so we got him a gentle lead - that really helps. He just needs some fine-tuning in that area. I hope some classes will help.

Anything else we might have missed?? We are trying so hard to be consistent and persistent. I'm an emotional basket case, wondering if this poor dog is confused as all hell, how we can make him at ease when we leave, and if doggy classes will help!! ACKKKKK!!!

Any suggestions from the addicts (Luba & LR) and anyone else who has gone through this would be MOST appreciated.....:D

Luba February 27th, 2004 10:11 PM

I hate those collars.
Ask your vet for some Veritan cream instead, put a little on the surgical site they'll leave it alone it tastes awful!

Screw the collars they are awkward and uncomfortable as well as they give the dog increased anxiety.

This dog has been through a LOT right!

Shelter life, surgery and new home..uncertainty and fearfulness.

He needs to feel safe and secure this will take several weeks and a LOT of time with you and the family.

How many hours will he be left alone during the day?

The reason I ask is that if it's longer then 4/5 then you need to have him meet someone that he can trust to take him out atleast once while you are at work.

Who knows about his life before he came to you?
He may have been left locked up all alone and afraid for hours or days on end right!

Is there anyway you can take some more time off of work or arrange so that someone is home most of the time for atleast the next week? That would be the best thing to do at this time.

IF not then like I said invest in having a dog walker come to take him out and spend some time with him.

Remember, show him lots of love and praise him when he behaves good but do not punish him when he behaves bad, just correct him!

Give him things of his own, his own bed and toys. Leave a piece of your clothing that you've worn with him in the room in his bed, like a stinky tshirt that you don't want anymore.

Spend as much time as you can with him. Most shelter dogs are velcro'd to you when you first get them. Sometimes it takes several months before they're completely settled.

Keep us posted and please put up a picture of this beautiful baby.


Lucky Rescue February 27th, 2004 10:16 PM

First of all, dogs don't sweat. He must have been drooling or salivating excessively, which is pretty common with anxiety.

[QUOTE]We both took the Wed. off work so we could slowly get him used to being alone[/QUOTE]

One day is not enough to slowly get him used to anything at ALL, and it was too soon to leave him alone for an hour. It's difficult to say if he truly has sep. anxiety, or just flipped out at all that has happened to him in a short time:

He has been abandoned
Lived in the shelter (VERY stressful)
Been neutered
Gone to a new home with new people
Spent his first day watching you come and go constantly
and worst of all-
Been left all day in a shipping crate the very next day.

No wonder he is freaking out. You say that when he broke out of his crate, he did no damage in the house? Could you try leaving him out, maybe gated in the kitchen?

Shipping crates are not intended for leaving dogs in for extended periods of time, and as I said, ONE day is certainly not enough to train a 2 yr old dog to go into any crate all day if he's not used to it. Personally, I would never leave any dog in any crate for a normal working day (I'm assuming at least 8 hours?) of 8 hours or more - but that's just me.

If you must use a crate, get the biggest one you can find - Great Dane size - and make sure it's open wire and not enclosed.

IF possible, could you take a vacation now, to really try and get him used to your absences in short intervals and slowly? This is what people often do when getting new dogs and puppies - to ease the dog into spending more time alone.

My dog was 2 1/2 when I adopted her, and I know if I had left her in a crate all day the very next day after bringing her home, she probably would have freaked out too, and she does not have any sep. anxiety at all.

Here is a site you may find helpful:
[URL=]Sep. Anxiety[/URL]

Edited to say: LUBA - you and I must have been posting at the same time - I didn't copy you, I swear!:D

Catt31 February 28th, 2004 10:23 AM

Thanks for the advice girls. I do want to clarify a few things first. When we were at the shelter we asked them what to do with him when we left, and they told us to do exactly what we did. We left him for short intervals throughout the day, working up the time when he was less anxious. We put all the toys, treats, blankets, water, etc. in with him in the back porch (which is the size of a very large bathroom - 10 feet x 4 feet).

The crate we bought was a XL plastic one, only because the store did not have a big enough one in the open wire. It is big enough for him to stand, turn around and stretch out. We have been phoning around the city trying to find the biggest one. We will take this one back if we find one. The biggest so far we've found is48 in. long, 30 in. wide and 33 in. high....we are going to look at it today with Brick to see if he fits in it ok!

He was only left alone for 3 hours at the most, as my fiancee has time during the day to come and let him out and play with him. I am a teacher, and am home by 3:30 which is only another 3 hours from when Tim was home with Brick. As for holidays, I can take a day or two, but I'd have to pretend I was sick (cough cough):D

I KNOW he's been through a lot and that was a big concern for us. The ladies at the pound were helpful, and we did everything they said. I guess we should have given him another day or two. :(

We did sooooo much research and talking to people and now I feel inadequate. He is getting 110% of our attention when we are home, so he is definately not lacking in the love and affection area. We are going to try leaving him gated in the kitchen today for short periods of time, to see if that will help.

Catt31 February 28th, 2004 10:25 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is Brick, playing outside!!

Lucky Rescue February 28th, 2004 11:17 AM

Aww - Brick is very very cute!!:)

[QUOTE]We left him for short intervals throughout the day, working up the time when he was less anxious. We put all the toys, treats, blankets, water, etc. in with him in the back porch (which is the size of a very large bathroom - 10 feet x 4 feet). [/QUOTE]

Yes, that is how to do it, but not in one day - that is my point. As Luba pointed out, his background is unknown and he may have spent 23 hrs a day in a crate and just cannot tolerate it. There's no way of knowing.

Please don't feel inadequate!! Bringing home a strange adult dog is very stressful for everyone concerned, and it takes time to get to know each other. It also will take time for Brick to learn that he is HOME and will not be abandoned again, and that you will always come back.

Get some really nice meaty bones - knuckle or marrow - and give him one when you leave. That will keep him busy for quite awhile and my dog always conks out after spending an hour stripping and chewing hers. This also worked with a foster dog I had, who had many issues. She would keep me up all night, until I started putting her in the basement with a bone at night. After a few days, she would run to her rug in the basement at bedtime, eagerly waiting for her bone.

Obedience school is a great idea, not only for training, but for bonding with Brick and teaching him to trust you!

Let us know how it goes leaving him loose in the kitchen. Try that before getting another crate.I hope it works out, and I think Brick is a very lucky boy!:)

Catt31 February 28th, 2004 11:33 AM

Thank you LR! It is frustrating not knowing what happened to him but I'm really happy with him so far, he is such a good boy - he listens so well and is really gentle with the cats! Whoever had him, had him very well trained - it breaks my heart thinking that they left him crated for hours and hours on end (if thats the case)

I do agree with you, that one day was not enough, I should have taken the rest of the week off! We left for 15 min. today with him gated in the kitchen, he barked and whined when we left again, but didn't get into anything!! He spent the time getting the treats out of his Kong!! We are going to go again for another 15 min. in awhile. He hasn't shown ANY tendencies at all to chew anything other than his toys, which is reassuring! Tim wants to try to leave him in the livingroom and kitchen to see what he does...I'm not so sure!

Anyways, thank you again!! We are on our way to pick up some Veritan cream (thanks for the help with that one Luba!) Will keep you posted!!

Lucky Rescue February 28th, 2004 11:51 AM

[QUOTE]Tim wants to try to leave him in the livingroom and kitchen to see what he does...I'm not so sure! [/QUOTE]

I agree with you! Don't overwhelm him by giving him too much freedom at once. Try the kitchen until you are absolutely sure he will be fine loose and then you can expand his area.

He sounds like a wonderful dog and I'm sure once he feels secure, his problem will fade away.

Also, the most important thing for shelter, rescued and abandoned dogs is routine! Knowing what to expect next is the most vital thing of all. So try and give him meals, playtime, walks, etc at the same time every day for awhile.:) This will build his confidence.

Catt31 February 29th, 2004 07:11 PM

WOW!! He is an amazing dog!!

Left him alone in the kitchen several times today, no problems at all!! Decided to try one last time in kitchen AND livingroom....NO problems!! Mind you it was only for 20 min. but still!! He was sitting at the window watching me leave, and when I came home, he was still there watching. Nothing was touched or chewed, just doggy snot on the window!! hehehehhe

I bought him some marrow bones to leave for him when we go out, so he reallyyyyyyyy liked that!!! Gnawed on them for hours, even after we came home!! We will continue to do the gradual departures (I'm calling in sick tomorrow...cough cough cough!!)

Thanks again for the help!! :D

Catt31 March 2nd, 2004 05:01 PM

Update on Brick:Home Alone Part II!

We left him "in charge" of the house while we were at work, put the cats in another part of the house, so he had full reign of the livingroom and kitchen. He was AWESOME!! Not a thing was touched (not even his treats in his Kong), he was sitting on his chair looking out the window when I left, and was sitting there when I got home!! I was absolutely amazed and pleased!! Two days in a row!!! What a good dog he is!! We sure lucked out!!!

I really think his initial problem was being penned up and not being able to "guard" the house like he was meant to!! :D

Lucky Rescue March 2nd, 2004 05:46 PM

Good news! Obviously not separation anxiety at all!:)

Some dogs, for a variety of reasons, cannot tolerate being crated, but do very well loose in the house. This is why I don't agree with people automatically thinking every dog must be crated when no one is home. Brick is a perfect example!

When I brought my 2 yr old dog home, I didn't crate, but experimented leaving her alone in the house for longer and longer periods of time. With the exception of one mat in front of the door that she scratched the first time I left her, she has done no damage.

Good boy Brick!

Luba March 2nd, 2004 10:12 PM

I've missed a few posts but it looks like you are on the right track.

I'm so happy that Brick has you in his life now!! Do not feel inadequate, experience with 'each' dog comes in time. They are all different you know!

It will take several weeks for him to build trust with you and you with he.

Give him love but also obedience training and direction. Show him that you are the 'leader' so he doesn't become 'alpha' on you. They look to us for guidance and when we don't give it, they take the lead as they feel it is their duty to be leader of the pack if we aren't.

I think you're doing a marvelous job!!!

We're all here for you, anytime you have questions or want to post an accomplishment. Thats what this board is all about.

He's a fine looking doggie :) who's willing to work with you obviously, they know who loves them!!

Time and effort is key!

You'll do fine.

What about the cream did it work?

One thing to be careful of with regards to dogs and windows. Ofcourse some breeds are more prone to do this then others but just be careful. Some dogs will jump through windows to get to their owners outside.

I've know of border collies doing this as well as pointers and weinmaraners. Doesn't mean others don't, just depends on how badly they want to get out to you!

Keep us all posted :D

Catt31 March 3rd, 2004 08:06 AM

Thanks girls!! I'm pretty pleased with the accomplishments in such a short time! We are putting him into obedience classes too, so that should help!! The cream worked wonders.....his stitches are healing!! Thanks for that heads up! He does have a bit of a cold right now, so I'm hoping it will run its course! Guess dogs are susceptible to stress colds too!! After all he's been through, I don't blame him!!Poor thing!! And, never thought of the window thing...that worries me a bit, but I think he will be ok!!

Will definately keep you updated!!! How's Sadie by the way???


Lucky Rescue March 3rd, 2004 08:49 AM

Hmmm - dogs don't really get "colds" like we do. What are his symptoms?

amaruq March 3rd, 2004 10:59 AM

WTG Catt and Brick! I love Brick!

Ok me bad ;) I never have crated..well i lied i tried with Motzi and she freaked out so badly almost ripped her pads to shreds. I figured that was kind of silly. Goldy the oldest was terible if you left the house for 5 mins. She would rip apart something GRR! But she grew out of that. I'm at home 24/7..I like to be with my dogs..I don't feel you should leave them for hours on end. Heck their people too lol!

Catt31 March 3rd, 2004 05:02 PM

He's sneezing, has a drippy snotty nose, and does an occasional cough (like a cat with hairball sound) - someone said it might be kennel cough so I'm taking him to the vet on Fri. I hope it isn't anything serious!! :eek:

Thanks amaruq!! He is pretty sweet!!! No more crates for my boy!!! :D

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