Anxiety separation - but only when left in the kitchen - any advice appreciated!(8 Posts)
We rescued our Staffie X back in September, and he has been a really wonderful addition to the family. Very affectionate, and was already trained quite well when we got him (simple commands - sit, lie down, heel, etc) which was a nice surprise as had to put a lot of work into this with our previous rescue! The RSPCA guy reckoned he was about 2 years old, and was given up due to relocation or something along those lines.
Anyway, I think I really shot myself in the foot right at the beginning. He would bark and bark when left in the kitchen at night, which resulted me and DH alternating sleeping downstairs in the lounge with him as he really was working himself into a right state. We didn't notice for about a week that he didn't need us there with him, and that as soon as he was in the lounge, he was happy and content as anything! So he sleeps in the lounge at night, with no problems.
HOWEVER - if he's left in the kitchen (door closed), he gets really upset and whines and cries continuously - even if it's for two minutes. I'm due to give birth in the next few months and so need him to get used to the kitchen a little more just while I'm settling in with the baby and until I feel comfortable with him being around the baby (not unsupervised, obviously). I have fitted a baby gate on the kitchen door so he is not shut off from us completely, and can still see and hear us in the lounge. This doesn't work, he cries and cries until he's let in. If he's not let in, he starts to really pant and work himself up which is horrible to see. I've tried following the RSPCA advice of not acknowledging his upset or making eye contact with him when I walk back into the kitchen but that's not working either. I even leave the back door wide open so he has the run of the garden as well as the kitchen, but as soon as the kitchen baby gate is closed and he's shut in the kitchen, he gets hysterical.
Anybody with any experience of something similar? He gets so much love and attention but it does get really tiring that he cannot be left alone in the kitchen for any period of time (even when I'm hoovering the lounge!) Any advice would be really helpful. Sorry for the long post!
Not sure how much help i can be but do you have hard floors? My mums Labrador won't walk on her laminate hallway as he doesn't like it. I think he slipped once and now requires towels down!
He also hates the freezer for some reason.
The kitchen floor is tiled so maybe that's it?! I'm buggered if it is!
Does he have a comfy bed in the kitchen? Staffies are sensitive poppets so if not I would definitely get him one and a big Kong that you can stuff with foods he enjoys. When you leave him in the kitchen, send him to bed and give him his Kong. Leave him for very short bursts and try to let him out before the crying starts up. Gradually build up the time, as slowly as needed to be back before he starts up. If you've got a few months you can work on building up the time he will tolerate in there before baby arrives.
Thanks pear - he is sensitive indeed! Yes, he's got a lovely cosy bed and numerous toys but I think maybe one of those kongs might be good for distracting him for longer, so will pick up one tomorrow. I'm watching him sleep at the moment, he's so lovely and gorgeous but such a fussy little bugger!
Sounds like a staffie. A man I see walking has to leave an unmowed patch of lawn for his to rest on or he won't spend any time in the garden!
What is he like in the kitchen when there is someone in there with him? Just it is also worth checking there isn't something specific in there that is freaking him out. It's not always something you'd expect to be frightening. For example my neighbour's staff shakes and pants when the smoke alarm runs out of battery and beeps.
When I'm in the kitchen cooking of whatever, he's fine! He just cannot tolerate being in there alone. I will check the kitchen over again tomorrow when I put him back in there, maybe it's the fridge making a noise or something strange like that?! Will put the radio on in there and see if that helps.
@ the patch of grass - that is fussy
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