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Separation anxiety is driving me mad!(23 Posts)
My 1 year old dog is suffering with separation anxiety and I don’t know what to do! I have a two year old and a 5 month old son and I dread leaving the dog at home to take them anywhere unless there is somebody to watch the dog. I am currently on maternity leave but return to work at the end of October. I downloaded a camera app to watch what he does when I’m out and he paces the kitchen constantly barking.
I’m at my wits end and have no idea what to do. I know my neighbours will get annoyed with him (as I would) and I really don’t want any complaints.
You need to go back to basics. Start by leaving for very short periods of time (seconds) even if it is just leaving the room to go upstairs. Do not make a fuss of the dog when you get back in the room. Build it up over a long period of time. You cannot solve separation anxiety whilst the dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
How long have you had the dog, how long are you planning to leave him/her? Do you have dog care arrangements for when you will be working?
I stream to a camera and when we moved our dog to the kitchen he started barking lots when we left him. I found there was two issues.
The first was that he could see out of the patio doors and the birds/cats was annoying him and when dark he could see his reflection which upset him so we put some opaque screening up.
After that I noticed that he was barking because he could hear cars etc. I now put a radio on (music channel as talk channel upset him) which stopped the barking.
We also leave a special toy with food in that he only gets when we leave so he knows we are out.
What have you tried and how long are you leaving him?
I’ve had the dog for a year now, when I go back to work there will be someone with him for 2 full days and he will be alone for 3 days for 3 hours at a time ( I will have my mum come to walk him at dinner time).
I used to leave him in the living room however he would bark constantly out of the window and would constantly bark at the window so I moved him to the kitchen where he cannot see outside.
I bought him a Kong yesterday so I’m going to see how he is with that.
He’s overall a very anxious dog even when out on walks, he barks at other dogs and if people approach him to stroke him he backs away.
I will try going back to basics and see how I get on with that.
The only thing I found that worked when my boy was a puppy was leaving him in his crate. Like you I left the phone filming him when I walked the kids to school and he went nuts, barking, jumping, ripping tea towels from the cooker handles, ripping my apron from the kitchen door hook. The next morning I shut him in his crate. He curled up and went to sleep. He obviously felt safe in there. Have you got a crate or done any crate training? Might be worth a shot.
If you haven’t got one already, I’d recommend a cage. My dog used to bark furiously, (I was dead against cages) and chew things, and generally be a pain. Got him a cage, and he’s a much more chilled out boy now, he goes in there when things are too much, and always when we’re out. It’s a safe space for him, and because it’s small and contained he’s much happier - if we go away and I don’t bring his cage he’s actually slept in the wardrobe!
I don't have any particular advice but have been having similar issues recently. On maternity leave (off sick for most of pregnancy as well), dog is 20 months and not a fan of being left, but with the hot weather I have had no choice as he obviously can't stay in the car if he comes places with me.
He has always been crated due to being a destructive puppy on occasions. When I used to get back his face would be soaked with drool (and he's not a generally drooly dog), he was obviously getting very distressed. The last 2 weeks I have started leaving him out of his crate (he just sits on his blanket on the windowsill looking out now) and face is totally dry on my return. We built up to 2 1/2 hours yesterday. He's still happy to see me on my return but not quite as "crazy" happy.
So my point, I think, is that when you find the thing that works for your dog, you might be pleasantly surprised how quickly you can turn things around.
My dog also has this. I started leaving the the TV and radio on so there is noise in the house when I leave. I also started leaving her for 5 mins at a time in the kitchen and coming back in. When she didn't have an accident I praised her and gave her a treat. We took the time doing it, getting her to stay longer and longer. If she did have an accident, she got on attention, no praise, no treat. I didn't shout at her or anything. Now I can leave her 2 - 3 hours with no problems. TV and radio definitely help... She needs to her sounds and I think she thinks we are still in the house. If I leave her for any longer than 4 hours, I accept their will be an accident when I get home. She doesn't get a treat or praise but equally I'm not cross cos I accept that she hasn't got to the stay of being able to be left alone 4+ hours. Equally if I come back after 4+ hours and there is no accident, she is praised, lots of attention and a treat.
Thank you so much for all your replies. I do have a crate so I will start putting him in there with his Kong and see what happens. I’ll also keep doing the basics such as leaving him in a room and keep going in every few minutes. Glad I’m not the only one that’s going through this as his anxiety is giving me anxiety about leaving him!
Lots of dogs go through this and lots of dogs go through the other side.
When I first got my dog (rescue) we built her time up every day like we were told to. Once my DH was leaving the house, I was still in the house, and she jumped out a first floor window to get to him.
She also pulled down and shredded a set of wooden blinds. She pulled my curtain pole of the wall so many times she permanently damaged the wall.
We got a behaviourist in who told us to put her in a crate even though she had never been crate trained we watched on the camera when we first left her. She managed to open the crate door, get her collar stuck and nearly strangled herself. Luckily DH was watching live and managed to race home in record time, she'd managed to chew through her collar. Needless to say we never went to that behaviourist again. We started building up again slowly and put the tv on for her. She now happily just snoozes on the sofa when we are gone.
Did you not crate train her before you left her in it then?
I’m your experiences how long did it take for your training to pay off? I know every dogs different and obviously there’s no correct answer I’m just interested in an average.
All he does is bark when left, he doesn’t destroy things or anything like that.
it took us about 2 weeks to settle things down
You still need to solve the actual issue as it’s not fair to leave a dog in a cage for 6+ hours 3 days a week . Would it be possible for your mum to actually have him at hers for the 3 days she is doing the walks .
No because she has a dog that doesn’t get on with other dogs. I have just under 12 weeks before I go back to work so I will be working on the training every single day until then.
Hopefully you will crack it , good luck .
Your Mum's dog might learn to accept a new dog if they were introduced properly?
Then your Mum could dog sit for you ( if she wanted to)
We also had (have) a problem with reflections. The tv is a big problem for our younger dog, older dog has never had any problems though.
Just to warn you we tried literally everything with our rescue. He was crate trained, got loads of exercise, loved kongs/other treat puzzles and dispensers, was only left for short amounts of time, did agility, bought a thundershirt etc etc etc and we never did get him happy to be left alone.
We eventually solved it by getting another dog
- probably not what you want to hear! The two of them were quite happy being left together!!
Yes I agree 2 together is probably s good idea
Equally you could end up with 2 dogs that pace and bark .
Very true Floralnomad! I've got to be honest we didn't get the 2nd to 'fix' the first, it was just a happy coincidence. We could have quite easily ended up with two unhappy dogs. I wasn't really suggesting it as a solution, more just pointing out that not every dog can be fixed. Our next option would have been doggy daycare.
I’d never have two dogs again, I thought ‘awwww I’ll get a brother for my boy so he’s not lonely’. They drive each other mad, drive me mad, and have a true love/hate thing going on. I love both my dogs, but if I’m being honest, in an ideal world my first should’ve stuck at being an only (wouldn’t want to be without my second boy though!).
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