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Old November 4th, 2012, 12:45 PM
LittleLucy LittleLucy is offline
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Selective Separation Anxiety?

We adopted our mixed breed female dog at 9mos old. She is now about 18mos. We have a crate that we used initally when we were out and slowly started leaving her alone in the house. She did really well but then one day we made the mistake of leaving an avacado on the kitchen counter, she got it and then starting "looking" for goodies around the house when we were gone. For the most part we put things away but she started getting into non-food stuff likes pens and papers. So then we were crating her again for periods of up to 4hrs. I always come home from work mid day to take her for a walk, plus she gets about 2hrs exercise a day, plus is on a "hiking" group 2x week.



Long and short of it - I was away last week and my boyfriend was unable to come home to check on her so he left her out in the house all day - everyday! And she was totally fine - no issues at all. Then when I return home and left the house (to go downstairs to parkade) she immediately went into destruction mode - chewing an umbrella, deoderant, etc. This was with my boyfriend home too!



My question - am I somehow encouraging or supporting chewing behaviour/seperation anxiety? She seems fine if my bf leaves her but when I leave she is destructive. Any ideas?

(sorry so long!!)
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Old November 4th, 2012, 11:34 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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It's not about being selective - she is clearly telling you she is stressed when you leave. Stress can be exhibited in many ways: soiling, chewing, scratching walls, digging at floors, yowling, barking and general destruction.
This means that you have probably over bonded with her and now she is like the little girl on the first day of kindergarten clinging to her mothers legs. I would highly recommend you keep crating her until this is solved. The risk of her eating something of value or that could hurt her is just not worth it.
You need to create more separation with her in general. She needs to learn to feel safe in the world without her security blanket (you). When you go from room to room in the house you should stop her from following you everywhere. When you get up to get a drink have her stay behind and make sure she does it. Don't let her demand too much attention from you. She gets attention when she earns it not because she demands it.
Then you have to practice coming and going so many times that she thinks nothing of you coming and going. You need to desensitize her to the triggers of you coming and going like: keys sounds, picking up your bag, getting your jacket, etc. This is about spending lots of time practicing.
She also needs to learn how to spend longer periods of time in the crate. This is not so that you can leave her in the crate more, but so that if there are times when no one can get to her for a lunch break then she won't panic.
It would also be good to work on her general vocabulary and obedience. The more she knows the more confidence she has in herself and the world.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 12:04 AM
LittleLucy LittleLucy is offline
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Thanks Tenderfoot. I appreciate your comments. The thing is, she does not seemsed stressed when I am getting ready to leave -- packing my bags, putting on my shoes, etc. I definately think we could work on some more obedience, learning "stay" command so will work on that. I also was given the advice to start giving a treat and stepping outside, then come straight back in...then altering the amount of time till I come back in... so that she learns when I leave good things happen. Does this make sense?

Thanks again, I will put some of your suggestions into place immediately.

PS - she seems to tolerate being in her crate well, I come home mostly because I feel bad leaving her contained for so long but I don't think she would get too stressed if we did have to leave her for extended times. She actually goes straight to her crate when I am about to leave because that is where I give her treats/kong/etc
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Old November 5th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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marko marko is offline
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Just as an FYI - We published an audio podcast that features an interview with "Mr. tenderfoot " last week on this very same topic of separation anxiety.

It has FAB tips do you may want to take a listen.

http://www.pets.ca/blog/pet-podcast/...foot-training/
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Old November 5th, 2012, 09:17 AM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleLucy View Post
Thanks Tenderfoot. I appreciate your comments. The thing is, she does not seemsed stressed when I am getting ready to leave -- packing my bags, putting on my shoes, etc. I definately think we could work on some more obedience, learning "stay" command so will work on that. I also was given the advice to start giving a treat and stepping outside, then come straight back in...then altering the amount of time till I come back in... so that she learns when I leave good things happen. Does this make sense?

Thanks again, I will put some of your suggestions into place immediately.

PS - she seems to tolerate being in her crate well, I come home mostly because I feel bad leaving her contained for so long but I don't think she would get too stressed if we did have to leave her for extended times. She actually goes straight to her crate when I am about to leave because that is where I give her treats/kong/etc
I will put a few small cookies in my dog's crate when I leave him home. I am not sure if it made sense but I know my dog think it does.
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