Separation anxiety

(8 Posts)
absolutmum Fri 22-Mar-13 14:16:16

Thank you for the advice poached, I have brought the crate back and I've tried the ignoring for 30 mins before and after going out today and rewarding quiet behaviour. So I will see if she improves.
She does get quite nervy when she senses we are going out.
She's spending 5 nights with the dog sitter so not sure how she'll be when we get home.

poachedeggs Wed 20-Mar-13 22:02:09

There are a couple of things here which I've picked up on.

Most cases of "separation anxiety" have two components, boredom and attachment. Some cases are more one than the other (in fact, true separation anxiety is just that, anxiety about being parted from the owner).

Boredom is common: the dog has fun and pleasure and interaction when the owner is present and is bored when they are alone, so they entertain themselves. In your case I think you need to make sure she is always left with something to chew, such as a couple of stuffed Kongs, and only left after a long, stimulating walk. An Adaptil collar would be a very good idea, as would leaving a radio on and training her to use her crate when you leave her.

Attachment issues are also likely to be a significant problem in this case though, as you have said she follows you around and likes to be in contact with you. She has a strong bond with you and may find your absence particularly distressing. Does she show any signs of anxiety or unusual behaviour when you get ready to go out? How does she respond when you get in and does she calm down quickly or stay excited for a long period of time?

To help her cope better without you, you can start to teach her independence by making a conscious decision not to respond to her if she initiates an interaction with you. So, ignore her if she climbs on you, jumps up at you, nudges you, brings you toys etc. Then reward her when she is lying quietly by giving her attention and treats. This is harder than it sounds at first but will become second nature with practice. This teaches her that your presence itself is no guarantee of entertainment and that fun stuff happens on your signal, not on hers.

Also, be sure to ignore her for the 30 minutes before you leave, and do not say goodbye. Again on your return ignore her for 30 minutes, bar letting her out for a toilet stop, and only pay her attention once she is quiet. This takes all the excitement and anxiety and attention away from you leaving, and send a clear signal that it isn't play time. Ignoring her on your return means there's no anticipation of a highly exciting and rewarding return, because she learns it is always dull. Always leave her with a Kong so you can make being left a positive highlight between two dull periods.

Hopefully some of this will be of help. Remember she's still very young and needs an awful lot of time, training and interaction to stimulate her - if she isn't getting enough then everything else will be much more difficult to manage. smile

Oh and sorry if I am teaching you to suck eggs, and stating the bleedin obvious!

Kongs and puzzle balls are good too, plus chews etc.

Sorry that you are having a tough time. I can sympathise with the Velcro dog bit, as I type this I can feel our puppy staring at me intently, which he does whenever I am not sat playing with him! I find that really wearing too to be honest, he has a whole range of toys but will only play with them if I sit down next to him and play too. Happy to do this but can't spend my life doing so!

Adaptil spray sounds like a good idea.

I would try the crate again too, her own safe place. Did she accept the crate when you got her? There's a lot of crate training stuff on the internet if not. Kikopup on Youtube is good but a quick Google will bring up loads of stuff too.

Do you clicker train her? That's an easy way to have fun and tire them out mentally? Plus, it's so easy to fit into daily life, just a few minutes here and there. Our puppy pulls his full range of tricks as soon as the clicker comes out, sit, down, stand, play dead, paw lol! We try to train when he doesn't notice too, i.e he has to wait when let off the lead until we say 'ok' before he can move, plus at kerbs, doors, gates etc. Nothing to do with dominance crap but we need that command for the KC Bronze award and it's easier just to build it into everyday life.

absolutmum Wed 20-Mar-13 12:47:50

Thanks for the reply, I think I will look into classes again, the last woman who ran them was good but terribly unreliable.
I will start putting her back in her crate, and I might try that pheromone spray to see if that works. I am so fed up with being covered with poo when she jumps up when I open the kitchen door. She also has scratched the paint from the kitchen door and has started chewing the door frame.

littlewhitebag Wed 20-Mar-13 12:12:06

My pup is 10 months and we always leave her in her locked cage if we go out. She seems to just lie and doze and is never looking worried when we return. In fact she usually looks super chilled. She is not left often and the absolute maximum time i leave her is 4 hours.

We attended puppy classes and now go to obedience classes with her. We are now half way through the second set of a 10 weeks block (so 15 weeks total). She is like a different dog. Much calmer and easier to control. It is worth looking for classes near you.

Iamaslummymummy Wed 20-Mar-13 11:57:36

<marks place>

absolutmum Wed 20-Mar-13 11:36:02

We adopted a 4 month old puppy from RSPCA last year. She is now 10 months old and I am having terrible separation problems with her.
We went to puppy classes at first and she responded well. She is very good when we're out, still a bit excitable with other dogs, but we're getting there slowly.
But I cannot leave her for any length of time with out chaos. She jumps up constantly, chews everything and poos on the kitchen floor. Should I leave her locked in the crate when I go out. She is also a Velcro dog when we're indoors, I can't move without her sticking to my legs. She goes to a dog sitter if I'm out for any length of time.
We have been very firm with her but it makes no difference, has anyone got any suggestions please, I'm being worn down by her!
Thanks

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