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Showing results for tags 'isolation distress'.
Hi everyone, it has been a week since we adopted our Spirit. He is up to 5-10 minutes of being alone. Of course, he doesn't like it. The trouble is, he takes about 5 minutes to eat his kong because he doesn't like peanut butter, so instead he gets kibble and chicken in the kong but that takes him no time at all. The one time I packed the kong more tightly, he just licked at it for a few minutes and then gave up. Then we got him a bobble toy that distributes kibble, but that also takes him about 5-10 minutes, plus sometimes he gets it stuck underneath some piece of furniture and then he cries and goes away from it. Whenever we do the alone training, we do it when he's tired out from a walk. We make sure not to make a fuss when we leave or come back. When we come back into the house, we wait until he calms down before petting him. We are thinking of crate training him, but he is a big boy and a 54-inch crate will take up 1/4 of the living room or bedroom. If it's necessary, we can get the crate but we thought we'd check in here. Any thoughts? Thank you!
I'm hoping to hear from some owners who've managed/treated/"beat" separation anxiety and can give us some perspective. I've read a lot about it, but have not really had first hand experience until this foster dog. I'd like to get my head wrapped around it a bit better, so we can do a better job at letting our adoption group and potential adopters know what this pup will likely need. We've had this 5yo hound for about a month now, he was surrendered by his owner (she'd had him for about a year) because he had developed separation anxiety - which manifested as howling/crying and chewing the entire time she would be gone at her new job. She made the tough, but probably right, choice, to surrender him. His first few days with us were rough, we were not aware of his SA when we agreed to take him on (we both work). Even though we have another hound, he cried and howled most of those first few days and had an accident or two during that time. But he seemed to adjust relatively quickly (our schedule is very consistent) and the crying during the day has decreased dramatically, but not completely. I can monitor them with a nanny cam while I'm at work, he makes it through the morning but then then the whining/crying starts up again after I've come home and left after their lunch time turn out. It doesn't start until after I've been gone a while and doesn't seem to be triggered by anything I can see/hear. He came to us on 80mg daily of Clomicalm, and had been on it for at least a month at that point (so it has now been another month). My understanding is that it should be well established in his system by now. I'm less sure about whether it works, mostly because we didn't experience what he was like before he started taking it, but also because he still does whine intermittently throughout the afternoon. If the medicine was working, would he still be whining/crying? Is 8 weeks long enough to know if it's working? Should we try splitting the dose - currently we give it all at breakfast, would it make sense to give half at breakfast and the other half at lunch time? Or does this mean he would maybe be better served by a different drug? With SA is there a certain amount of crying/distress that you just have to be ok with? There are 10 more days until the next adoption event, where he will hopefully find his forever home, but until then is there anything we should be trying to get him past this plateau point? Or, should we think of this plateau as success?
New first-time grey owner and previous lurker on the forums (lots of great info from you folks!) I have been struggling with our new boy Tully having isolation distress/separation anxiety. Background: Tully came off a farm in TX as a failed racer, not quite 2 yrs old. Sweet disposition, the calmest 2 year old dog I've ever had. Big issues arose when I tried to leave him alone during the first week. Lot's of gentle, slow attempts at crate training. When I was able to get him crated, shut the door and leave the condo, Tully bent the steel crate bars with his teeth, destroyed an "indestructible" crate bed, and dragged a rug into the crate and tore it to pieces--all within 15 minutes. (I'd previously left him alone for just 5 minutes.) He shrieked the entire time, swayed, drooled, looked wild-eyed. I was actually just running to the library to p/u 2 books on Sep. Anxiety (McConnell's and Malena DeMartini-Price's.) I had a camera on him so was watching the video in the car. It was just awful to see and hear. I raced home quickly. Next step: I abandoned the crate in favor of a 4'x4' x-pen with his comfy bed placed inside. He took to that immediately and would come and go frequently. After speaking with our vet, Tully began taking Clomicalm (40 mg/ twice a day.) I also immediately started on a very conservative training protocol using the two books. I never left him alone aside from brief training sessions, and he was fine if a neighbor or friend stayed with him while I went shopping, etc. Any attempt at leaving the condo without him was a failure, though. Crying, pawing at the pen. I also tried leaving him with the pen door open and he would cry and paw at the exit door. During all of this I was also helping Tully to transition to life as a pet, thanks to the wonderful advice I read on this forum (let him take his time, don't push too hard, let him sleep, etc.) Next step: During week 7 of training (8 weeks with us) we got up to 11 minutes outside the house with Tully in his pen which felt like a huge step. I always started each session with a food-filled kong, always filmed the sessions. He would often cry or get frustrated when his kong finished but settle down afterward. Occasionally though, he would vocalize LOUDLY and bite at the pen for at least one minute. With condo neighbors, that was obviously a problem, but the bigger issue was seeing him be anxious. Lots of small steps forward and then back. Last week I really lost my confidence in my ability to help Tully through his isolation distress/SA on my own. I contacted Malena DeMartini-Price who phoned me to speak about Tully. She asked questions about what that morning's training session had been like and gave me some suggestions. I decided to take her SA online training course, Mission: Possible. (I'm not plugging for her, just telling you my process.) I've spent several days going through the materials and basically dialed way back on any training for Tully while I studied. Two things jumped out at me: Malena D-P no longer recommends using a kong or other food treats for SA training (different from her book.) She also suggested that I abandon the pen to see how Tully would do w/o it. My long-term plan was to allow Tully the run of the condo, so I could save a step of training him out of the pen by just starting SA training over with him out of it. (I'd only wanted the pen to prevent him from randomly chewing stuff, which he would try when we first got him home.) This morning I did Tully's first assessment (as part of the class.) His first time not being in a pen while I exited and first time without a kong. I sat on a bench outside the condo where he couldn't see or hear me (except when I dropped a book.) Tully was a champion! He came to the door twice (once when I dropped the book) and cried briefly and softly twice, but mostly he just relaxed in his bed and snoozed. I stayed outside for 60 minutes, all the while wondering, "Who is this dog and where is my fearful, anxious boy?" When I came back inside, he was happy but not clingy or needy. I can't begin to describe the rush of relief I feel. I know he will need to continue training to get to 4 hours alone (my goal) and that there will be regressions but I just want to celebrate this victory. For those of you struggling with a similar problem, I'd say get help sooner than later, keep a journal (to remind you how far you and your pup have come) and keep going. Thanks for listening!
Hi, Let me start off by saying I don't think my newly adopted greyhound has full blown separation anxiety, but he does seem to have isolation distress. At the foster's he broke out of a crate twice resulting in injury to himself (also at the vet they found metal deposits in his teeth, so he wasn't doing well crated at the track either), so the foster was leaving him loose where he would chew up pillow's, papers etc when she left. Her solution was to leave him with his e-collar on while she had to leave so he couldn't get into things. He wasn't chewing doors/windows and is perfectly content being left with any random person- thus why I don't think it's separation anxiety. I just finished reading "I'll be home soon" and it definitely has some good advice about building up time gone/taking away the high value treat when you return. I can put down a kong/bully type chew and "leave" (I pretend to leave the house but really sneak upstairs to listen to how he's doing. The bully stick he'll be content to chew until it's almost gone, but the kong he'll finish about half, I'm assuming because it gets to hard to get the food out, and will then start pacing/whining. Basically my question is- I don't have issues leaving as long as he's occupied with some sort of tasty high value food/chew, the problem arises when he finishes it, he'll start pacing the house and whining and then resort to chewing other things. How do I move past this so that he'll be comfortable being left alone for longer periods of time after his treat is gone? I'll also add that my partner and I work from home, but there are going to be times when we both need to be gone at the same time. But we also have the ability to do things gradually and set him up for success. Any advice is appreciated. I'll also add that we practice leaving the room several times a day- so that when he's relaxed and in bed, we'll leave for a few seconds to minute (depending on how tired he is- the more tired he is, the longer he'll stay in bed before getting up to look for us). We're up to about a 1:30 of being able to be out of the room as long as he's tired.