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Helping my doggy deal with separation worries

(15 Posts)
ScrappyMalloy Sun 26-Feb-17 19:10:58

One of my dogs is still really upset when I go out, and waits worriedly at the little gate over the kitchen door, staring down the hall until I come back.

She is a rescued Shih Tzu, six years old, and a breeding female from a puppy farm in Wales, whom we rehomed from a week-known rescue eighteen months ago.

She is my first Shih Tzu (always had terriers) and, after a lot of work, has fitted in beautifully.

She isn't over-bonded particularly - likes a stroke and a tummy tickle, but doesn't sit on my lap or even beside me, and just sleeps happily in my general vicinity rather than pestering for attention (unlike her sister...)

When I go out, however, she just pines and worries until I get back, and will not be comforted by DH or DS if they are around, or just waits sadly by the dog gate at the kitchen door if we are all out.

My other dog (who she has a wonderful bond with) just settles down to sleep on an available lap, or in her kitchen basket.

She has a cosy bed in the kitchen, toys, and I have a routine for them before I go, but she is still so sad 😭

It's breaking my heart - anyone have any ideas how I can make her feel more settled?

ScrappyMalloy Sun 26-Feb-17 19:14:31

Crap photo - here's a better one 😆

ScrappyMalloy Sun 26-Feb-17 19:21:56

I never leave them for long periods (just to clear that one up)! I don't go out to work, so I am at their disposal other than the afternoon school run, which they often 'help' with and a bit of shopping time once or twice a week.

Two hours would be the absolute maximum they would be left, and as DH works from home, they will have a parent around often anyway.

BiteyShark Sun 26-Feb-17 19:37:30

This is what I do with my puppy so may or may not help with your dog.

I nonchalantly come and go when I leave mine to say 'not a big deal to him' and only give him a fuss a short while after returning rather than straight away.

I have also found the holy grail with him for fillers for his kongs which he only gets when I leave him so he sees it as a treat when I go. At first mine did pine but he just boots me out of the way now when I leave so he can get at his treats.

Wolfiefan Sun 26-Feb-17 19:40:34

YY to special treats they only get when you leave.
Item of your clothing that smells of you to comfort dog.
Get dog used to being in a different room to you and very short absences. Only leave it for as long as it is happy to be left.
Radio on?

ScrappyMalloy Mon 27-Feb-17 08:09:04

Good ideas - thanks!

She loves her kong so I will definitely try that one, and I can give her an old t shirt so another good one to try.

Wolfiefan Mon 27-Feb-17 08:14:25

Hope it goes well. My pup would pant, get a pounding heart, eat her bed and wet herself when I left her. I started to leave her for a couple of minutes (well I actually started by walking out the room and coming straight back in!) Once she was happy with that I slowly increased the time. Last weekend we actually left her happily napping at home and went to look for a new car! Slowly does it though.
FB group dog behaviour and training has great advice.

BiteyShark Mon 27-Feb-17 08:47:59

Kongs are good smile mine never even glanced back today whilst tucking into his cheesy filler (I know I always come second to food sad)

pigsDOfly Mon 27-Feb-17 10:25:31

Good advice from Wolfiefan.

My dog has a ball that she has to push with her nose to get the treats to fall out, keeps her busy.

MiaowTheCat Mon 27-Feb-17 19:01:25

Our first really did suffer with separation anxiety - to the point he destroyed our kitchen, went through a couple of doors and generally caused a trail of destruction (thankfully the kitchen was well-old and knackered before we got him so we weren't too worried about it) - we think it was why his previous owners had abandoned him to be honest.

It's taken us probably about 4/5 years to get him to a point where he'll settle happily on the sofa being left and the destruction's stopped (and kitchen replaced). Boredom/food toys like Kongs helped a lot (especially if you're an utter bastard and freeze the Kong so it takes ages to work it all free), and just lots and lots of me breezily popping out and back into the house without making a huge fuss of him at either end until he finally got the memo that I DO come back. He'll still stand mournfully at the door in the hope you're taking him with you though - but looking mournful is a speciality of DDog1.

Getting a second dog really really helped him - even after she'd died he hasn't regressed to where he used to be.

My 4 year old also insists on leaving the TV on Paw Patrol to keep him company. I think the dog would probably prefer the food channel to be honest.

applesareredandgreen Mon 27-Feb-17 22:00:00

You could try a Thundercoat? They are supposed to make the dogs feel secure by wrapping them up (like swaddling a baby) .

ScrappyMalloy Tue 28-Feb-17 07:34:40

Thank you all for your brilliant suggestions.

I had to leave her yesterday as I had to take the other dog to her training class. I left toys, a frozen peanut butter kong (yum!), a chewy stinky biscuit thing, and a t shirt of mine.

DH returned half an hour after I left, and said all stuff was ignored EXCEPT the t shirt, which she was laying on - so that was a start.

That is the hardest part of the week to leave her, when she will be utterly alone, as she would love to come too and has a massive fear of being left out, obviously.

I will try again later, leaving them together for half an hour with their special things, and see what happens.

ScrappyMalloy Tue 28-Feb-17 07:36:23

Paw Patrol 😆 . Mine love Paul O'Grady and all the barking dogs!

Belle2828 Tue 28-Feb-17 19:46:35

This is a problem I had and still do to some extent...I was worried about my little Yorkie, Teddy having separation anxiety when I went out. Mainly because we are virtually always together..he has to sit in the same room as me and right up to me and follows me around house,sleeps in bedroom etc...
When I went out one day I left my I pad on record and propped it up in living room...when I got back I felt heartbroken because as soon as I left he was running from room to room and then sat on the arm of chair lifted his head up and just howled....it was awful.
He is a lot better now...I always leave the TV on for him and got him a little pal to keep him company.Lily the kitten and thankfully they get on like a house on fire.I don't often leave him at all but he's got his little pal now!

taptonaria27 Tue 28-Feb-17 21:57:05

I use an app called Presence on my iPad that acts like a camera while I'm out, I can connect to it on my phone - trouble is when I'm stuck at the checkout and can hear him howling it's heartbreaking! The theory is to not leave him beyond what he can tolerate which for mine has got up to about 30minutes.

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