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Border terrier separation anxiety - advice on where to leave in the house

(7 Posts)
gruffalobore Tue 15-Oct-13 20:29:40

Hi there

We have a 5 year old male border terrier. He is generally a happy dog and lovely with us and the dc (dd age 3, ds age 1).

I work part time and dh shifts so he doesn't get left alone very often. He has two walks a day but when I'm on my own at home with the dc (quite a lot due to dh work) these walks are not the best - lead on the street with buggy and slow moving 3 year old! I would like to give him more attention and play time but he has had to take a back seat since the dc arrived, more so with dc2.

After watching The Secret Life of dogs last night I thought I would see out of interest what he does when he's alone in the house. We always assumed he just curled up on his bed and slept the time away. So I was surprised when I watched a video back that he paced the kitchen (shut in) and cried and yelped for the whole 30 minutes I was out.
He luckily doesn't cause damage or toilet in the house at all.

At night he used to sleep in the kitchen but was never happy about it often yelping and jumping at the door. Since it got quite bad we moved his bed up to the landing and he sleeps quite happily in it all night being that bit closer to us and can often be found curled up in it during the day for a bit of peace and quiet. However, we still leave him in the kitchen where there is radio and water when we go out. I'm thinking about whether we should leave him on the landing now with upstairs doors closed and stair gate over at the top of the stairs or even giving him the run of the stairs and hall by the front door, but I don't know whether the extra space would make the anxiety worse and whether he would just wait by the front door rather than cosy in his own bed.
Any suggestions?

I have picked up a few tips about how to train him to be relaxed when we go out, so will try that desensitisation thing with putting coat/shoes on, getting keys etc. And have frozen some of his wet dog food inside a kong which can distract him and keep him occupied. Can't afford a behaviourist unfortunately or DAP diffuser unless anyone thinks that a DAP diffuser/spray really works and I will try to budget for one.

Sorry for long post any advice greatly received. I just can't bear the thought of him being unhappy.

Tillypo Tue 15-Oct-13 21:14:12

I would try him at the top of the stairs it sounds like this is where he is comfortable with the stairgate. You can always extend the amount of room he has if he is more content.

gruffalobore Thu 17-Oct-13 19:28:10

Thanks for the reply Tillypo. Since I posted we have been leaving him on the landing with a Kong full of frozen food and when we have got home it's been empty, so at least we know he's been distracted for some of the time. When I left him the first day he was already curled up in his bed and stayed as I left so hopefully has been happier. I've been rushing about to get to work, so haven't had chance to video him again, but plan to soon. Hope it's worked!

Tillypo Thu 17-Oct-13 20:15:37

Glad he is settling down, it sounds like that is his little place where he is happy and content.

bubalou Sun 20-Oct-13 09:34:03

Cage training is the best thing I have ever done for my 2 dogs (both jr mixes).

One of them suffered sever anxiety when left - he is now 9. A year ago a friend of mine who is a dog trainer finally convinced my husband to try the cage - he had always seen cages as a horrible thing, trapping the dog in a confined space. The trainer explained that when we give them the run of the house that is a bigger area for him to protect / guard and will make him more anxious.

1 year on and we have never looked back, he doesn't shake, cry or get upset when we leave - he loves his cage and happily goes in there on his own all throughout the day just to lay down and sleep - no poo, chewing or scratching of door frames whilst we are out etc.

Give it a go wink

nostress Thu 24-Oct-13 14:29:46

Crate training worked for us too!

mrsjay Fri 25-Oct-13 15:43:14

when we took our dog out of his crate (he was crate trained when he came he was very anxious in it ) we keep him in the hall when we go out he doesn't like much but it is better than the crate he hated the faff of us going out so now we just go out leave him in his bed in the hall Op why dont you get him out of the kitchen and just leave him to wander the landing and up and down stairs dont make a fuss when you leave and see how that goes,

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