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Separation Anxiety?


Guest ryeamans
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Guest ryeamans

I'm trying to decide whether or not Charlie needs to go on doggy Prozac for separation anxiety, and maybe one/some of you can help.

 

Basically, he freaks out when I crate him when I'm leaving the house. When I first got him a little over a year ago, he chewed apart some of his crate, such that he sometimes caused injury to himself (and definitely to the crate). So, I decided to put him on separation anxiety medication. That did seem to help, and eventually I weened him off it because for some reason, I felt really guilty about having him on the meds.

 

He'd do OK after he was off meds...I had to keep a bike lock on the crate, and put heavy boxes in front of the door so he couldn't squeeze out of it (which he can amazing fit through the tiniest gaps). The worst he'd do for a while was flip around the pillows/blankets in his crate, but that didn't really matter since he wasn't actually hurting himself.

 

At one point, I gave the whole freedom thing a try, and let him wander about the house while I was gone. This ultimately was a failure, as I'd come home and find that he'd peed or pooped somewhere (doesn't do it every time, but many times). So, back to crating he went.

 

Seemed to be going OK for a while, but recently he's really been freaking out in there and causing extreme damage to both the crate and himself. This morning, I left for a quick run and was only gone for 20 min or so. I decided to try to put his muzzle on him while in his crate, so he couldn't chew himself out. Wearing the muzzle has never bothered him, so I figured that would work. Well, 20 minutes later, after coming home, he'd tore off the muzzle and his mouth was somewhat bloodied/sweaty from trying to chew out.

 

I HIGHLY doubt training will do any good. I've tried to train him in ways that were suggested on other posts, but he's really smart and knows that it's all a bunch of crap. He knows he's going to be left alone in the crate and that mommy is gone, so no matter how much positive training I do, he knows what I'm trying to pull. He has no problems going into his crate if I'm home and in the room (he always has to be in the same room as me).

 

I'd love to let him roam free, but I don't want to have to be cleaning up after him all the time (since he'll likely mess). Even after using Pine Sol, I can still smell the urine in the wood floors (they aren't treated well, so I'm sure it's soaked in. I rent and have no extra money to refinish the floors, so this is not an option).

 

So, I guess my question is: would you find it beneficial for everyone involved for him to go back on separation anxiety meds?? He simply can not be crated anymore, but I don't want him messing in the house either. I'm thinking meds might solve this problem????

 

Help!!! before Charlie impales himself on something in his crate and I come home to find a dog that had bled out. :(

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If he's trying to break out of the crate, please stop crating him now! He's hurt himself already, and he could die trying to escape. A little pee and poop is nothing compared to the sight of a dog that's strangled himself trying to escape.

 

What types of training have you tried?

 

How much is he fed and when?

 

When is he taken outside during the day?

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest ryeamans

I've tried the whole leaving him in the crate for short periods of time, working up to longer periods of time, using treats as a positive incentive, etc etc etc. Nothing works.

 

I feed him once in the morning and once in the evening, and he gets 2.5 cups each time (vet recommendation).

 

I take him on three good walks everyday on most days (and he pees and poops every time), though some days, he has to miss the afternoon walk due to my schedule. It's not a matter of whether or not he can hold it, because I know he is able to hold it longer than the amount of time I ever leave him.

 

Oh, and I only kept trying the crate thing, because that's always what the vet recommended in the past. Now I feel 100% guilty.

 

OK, so now is there any magic spray or something to get rid of the urine smell??

Edited by ryeamans
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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

First off, r-e-l-a-x...

 

There are some hounds that need both medication AND training. Medication is not a magic fix. If you decide to go back to the medication route, guess what, you need to do the alone training as well. Some hounds are so focused that they need the medication to allow their mind to switch from anxiety mode, to training mode. Did you do any training when you had him on the meds before? As far as the muzzle goes, you can try putting two zip-ties around the muzzle and his collar. If his issue when left out is elimination, then maybe you try to gate him into a room or area that is easy to clean. See if anyone you know has an x-pen that you can borrow for a few days. The x-pen can be used as a circular enclosure, or in your case maybe used to block him into a room or area. It does sound like you have a very anxious hound, but setbacks are normal for hounds with sa, so understand that this is something that will never be 100% gone. I am not one for medication, but if it has worked in the past, maybe go back to a lower dose and do the alone training. Alone training, plus kongs, plus additional exercise before you leave, plus leaving a tv or radio on when you leave, plus changing your routine before you leave (eliminate the triggers he knows such as picking up keys and such), plus possibly a webcam or other recording device so that you know how long he can handle your being gone. There are many many things to try other than simple alone training.

 

One other thing, this is a theory that I have read about in a few books, SA hounds suffer from anxiety sometimes based upon fear of one reason or another. A suggestion that I have read is to enroll in obedience training or other type of behavior that requires mental stimulation (agility, rally, etc.). A hound that gains confidence may have less stress. This suggestion is just something that I have read (cant remember the book), so who knows if it really is a good suggestion or not. Regardless though, it never hurts to have a well trained hound.

 

 

As far as the smell, "XO" is what hospitals and crime scene clean up crews use to eliminate all odors. I have cats as well as hounds and I use this stuff, it is magical.

 

Chad

Edited by Greyt_dog_lover
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First off, r-e-l-a-x...

 

.... See if anyone you know has an x-pen that you can borrow for a few days. .... Alone training, plus kongs, plus additional exercise before you leave, plus leaving a tv or radio on when you leave, plus changing your routine before you leave (eliminate the triggers he knows such as picking up keys and such), plus possibly a webcam or other recording device so that you know how long he can handle your being gone. ....

 

.... enroll in obedience training or other type of behavior that requires mental stimulation (agility, rally, etc.).

 

Some great advice from Chad. I quoted above the parts that I've used most.

 

One or two other things to explore/consider would be:

 

- food type/amount. 5C per day isn't huge but depending on the food might be a bit more than he needs and thus might cause extra poop. Is his weight pretty steady? I've also fed one or two foods that seemed to cause "OMG, I have to poop NOW!!!!" in my dogs.

 

- timing of trips outside. Most dogs can wait a long time overnight, but that doesn't count as "he can hold it that long." I usually don't require mine to go more than @ 6 hours alone without a potty trip. It can help to keep a log of what he does where, when -- helps you tune into things like, "He always poops twice between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. so if I'm going to leave, I'd better get him out for that second poop before I go."

 

And one technique I use a lot is to leave so often that the dog gets bored with it:

 

Take dog out for some nice exercise and then complete potty. Get ready to leave. Leave (as in down the street -- don't hang around outside your house/apartment 'cause they know you're there and it'll drive 'em nuts) for 3 minutes. Come back. 5 minutes later, leave again for 3-5 minutes. Repeat 5-10 times. Do a round of the same later that day or the next day. Once you get to the point where he isn't excited with your coming back in, throw a 10 or 15 minutes leaving in there. Then a 20. Then half an hour. Then an hour. Once you get to an hour, you're usually good to go for 3-4 unless there are frightening noises in your neighborhood.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest ryeamans

Thanks Chad and Batmom!

 

RE: obedience school/training. That's just something I can't consider at the moment, unfortunately. While I think it's a great idea, it's just not feasible for me right now.

 

RE: food. I was originally giving him 2 cups each meal (4 cups/day), but he was still looking a little skinny and weighed in only a couple of pounds over race weight (I think 66ish...race weight was 64). The vet recommended I increase to 5 cups per day, so I did. He still weighs around 67 pounds, so it really didn't put any weight on him. However, I think he still looks pretty fantastic and I think he may be a little too chunky if I got him up to the 5lbs over race weight that I'd be informed to do. I suppose his weight has never changed more than 2 lbs since I've had him (1 year), so yes, I'd say he has a pretty constant weight.

 

He never seems to have any "OMG I have to poo!!" moments, but he definitely does poops almost every time I take him out. Even if he's being picky and skips a meal (he only does this if it's really hot, and sometimes just isn't that hungry), he'll still poop every time I take him out. Honestly, I don't know where he puts it ;)

 

I always assumed when he messed it's because he was mad at me for leaving. That seems to be the only thing he would do (and when he does mess, it's mostly just urine and only occasionally he poops). I took him out today when I got up in the morning (around 730), and took him for an extra long walk before I went into my office this afternoon. I also closed the doors to the bedrooms/offices in my apartment, so he only has access to the living room and kitchen areas (there's no food within reach, so that's good). I gave him a Kong stuffed with PB and treats, but in past experiences with him, he could care less about it (and I know he likes the stuff I put into it).

 

I'm sure I'm forgetting something else with this topic, but I'll move on anyway.

 

RE: the x-pen. I looked at pictures of a few online, and I have to say I'm not certain that will do any good. They actually looked even flimsier than the crate I have for him, so I'd bet $50 he'd get out of that thing in about 2.5 seconds. I'd feel too guilty about borrowing one from someone and have to pay to have it replaced. I'll consider that as a last resort, but I don't think it will hold him back. If he can bust out of the crate (and my many alterations to secure it and make it harder to get out of), that thing will be a breeze (provided that they are all as flimsy-looking as the ones I saw online).

 

I say this next thing somewhat jokingly, but do they make doggy diapers? Would something like that discourage him from messing in the house while I'm gone? (I think I know the answer...that question was mostly in jest).

 

Thanks again,

 

Becca

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Crate fussers often do pretty well in ex-pens -- they're more open, so dogs with crate phobia often (not always, I admit) feel OK in them. And if they do break out, less likely to hurt themselves doing it.

 

They do make belly bands to hold pee pads for boy dogs. If you do a search here on GT you'll likely find some info. Could be useful while you are working on getting to the bottom of his issues.

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest K9Cookies

Hey Becca. So sorry that you're having this much trouble with Charlie while you're gone. If you come over for dinner Wednesday, you can take a belly band that we have here. They work well. We can talk more about things too. :)

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Guest ryeamans

Thanks everyone. I feel a renewed sense of hope :)

 

I just came home after being gone for about 3 hours to find no mess. Perhaps the messes are more likely to occur when I've been gone for much longer as opposed to being upset. Charlie was visibly NOT stressed out when I came home and seemed to be relatively content. I brought out his pillow from his crate and put it in the living room and it looks as though he was on that most of the time. I left NPR Radio IQ on the radio, so maybe having those voices around helped. He didn't touch the Kong at all (not surprised), but I may keep putting it out anyway.

 

I think I'll try that diaper bit, especially when I'll be gone for longer periods of time.

 

Thanks again!

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Guest twhitehouse

To me, it sounds like the crate is likely increasing his anxiety. My girl, Lexi had a pretty severe case of SA and crating multiplied her anxiety 1000 times. We tried the positive crate training and muzzle use like you and after coming home to a bloody dog...we gave up. Did she still have issues outside the crate?....yes, but with lots of time and ultimately medication, we got over them.

 

I would suggest leaving him muzzled and outside the crate...if needed gate him in rooms that are easier to clean up should he have an accident. Don't get discouraged if you come home and he did have an accident, etc. I know it's hard but it will get better. Start doing lots and lots of alone training. This is hard and time consuming but it's the only thing you can do to help. I highly recommend reading "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell. If he's still too anxious for the training to work, you may have to put him back on medication again. The medication will not fix the problem. It should be viewed as a tool which will help the training you do sink in and actually work.

 

I know it's very hard and frustrating. I don't think I've ever been so upset and as stressed as I was while Lexi had serious SA (about a year and a half) but it does get better. Just have lots of patience and lots of wine! :)

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Guest ryeamans

Thanks for the support! The only thing reminiscent of SA when he's outside of his crate is when he messes. He actually is extremely good at not touching or destroying anything in the house. There's definitely no need for a muzzle in this particular situation, based on my experiences with him alone at this point.

 

I agree that I'm thinking the crate multiplied the SA, and that his SA is really not bad/is more easily managable when he's outside of the crate. Like I said today, I came home and he looked perfectly happy/normal and hadn't messed in the house after leaving him alone for 3 hours with the radio on. Maybe by crating him, I created an SA that really wasn't present (or at least not that bad) to begin with.

 

I'll still practice alone training, just in case the messing is in fact related to SA and not simply a fact that I've left him alone for too long. If it turns out to be the latter, that's fine too, but I'll still do the training just in case.

 

Thanks again!

 

Oh and his vet recently told me that he has wear on his teeth from chewing of metal long ago (as in not while I've had him). This is just another hint that perhaps he was not a big fan of the crate during his racing days as well!

 

Crate no more!

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Guest LindsaySF

I would leave him loose (muzzle him if the area is not thoroughly dog-proofed). Do lots of alone training. If he doesn't improve with that, I would put him back on the meds. Good luck.

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Did you ever do house training? Maybe he just needs to learn that (outside of the crate, I mean.

 

A lot of greys have worn down teeth before they are adopted. The general consensus is that they chewed on their crate bars. Opionions sometimes differ as to why they would do it but I tend to think like you. They may not have been thrilled to be in there all that time.

 

Jenn

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Guest ryeamans

He is definitely well house-trained. So, that's not the issue. So far, the first day of alone training went very well. I definitely think not allowing him in all rooms and leaving the radio on helped a lot.

 

Thanks for everyone's advice. I think I have more than enough to work with now.

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I'll throw my 2 cents in the ring for the sake of sharing. You're not alone. My buddy Ben has bad SA and has since the day I brought him home. It's very tough to leave him. I think the way I've decided to look at it, is that it's a journey. He didn't develop his anxieties overnight and they aren't going away overnight either. He has been on two meds, now trying the 3rd. He breaks through (literally smashes apart and dismembers) both wood and metal gates. He's broken his teeth chewing on doorknobs to try to get out and find me. He's chewed up doorframes, windowsills, etc. etc. all in an attempt to escape to come find me. He can't tolerate the crate at all. For us, it's been a combination of things to try to LOWER his anxiety level....nothing has worked 100% consistently but I think if I keep up the combination of things, he may settle down a bit when I leave him (which is not often...in a way that's bad too). I've tried meds, crating, gates, trainers, behaviorist, TV/radio on, etc. right now here's the combination I'm using:

-- he's now on Zoloft; might help him.

-- I have a pet sitter that comes in for an hour or so if I have to leave him all day.

-- I allow him free roam of house but he has to have his muzzle on, no compromise there.

-- If he shows signs of scratching my door again, I'll go back to approach of putting his little doggy snowboots on (he can't scratch anything with them on!)

-- I try to tire him out before I leave him.

-- I enroll him in k9 sports classes (like rally) periodically; he enjoys it and it tires him mentally and physically. (tired hound = content hound)

 

I figure eventually this combination will win out. I'm not giving up on this boy. he's a great dog and very loyal and lovable. Some day he'll settle in. It's been over a year now. In one month I go to pick up a new greyhound that I've already picked out with Ben. Nice laid back dog. I think that (plus the above) will help. Don't give up. There is hope. My dog is a bad case....he doesn't respond to things that seem to work easily for other dogs. But...eventually it will be OK. I'm pretty confident about that for some stupid reason. Fingers crossed for you too.

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Guest ryeamans

Wow, I'm sorry you've been having so much trouble with your Ben. I've been lucky in that Charlie doesn't destroy anything in the house unless it's the crate and he's locked in it. I'd be willing to bet that Charlie's issue is more of a fear-of-crate thing than a OMG-where's-my-mommy thing. Sounds like you're taking great steps to help ease the SA for Ben, and I'd also think that getting a second dog would definitely help. I would get a second one, but it's simply not feasible for me at the moment.

 

Best of luck with Ben!

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Thanks. i just love my dog. Eventually I think things will be OK if I keep up the onslaught of multiple things to help him. Good luck to the person starting this thread too. Keep at it!!!!

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Guest ryeamans

UPDATE: Turns out Charlie does not have separation anxiety, but instead had some sort of "crate anxiety". He's been out of the crate since then, and he's been a completely different dog! He's not upset at all when I leave, and nor does he relieve himself anywhere in the house. The only thing I'm doing different is that I close the doors to the bedrooms and turn on NPR. He seems to be just dandy alone now. No problems. Thanks again, everyone for the suggestions.

 

I think it's safe to say this thread has wrapped up well.

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Guest pichick712

I am a brand new Greyhound owner. I adopted a retired racing greyhound and was told to crate him when I was not home. Hey, he's used to being crated so I thought this was gonna be a no brainer for me and him. Well 5 days in, my son comes home from work and finds my dog had broken out of the crate and was bleeding. he bent the bars on the crate in a frenzy to get out. Several stitches later he came home from the vet who told me to just put up a baby gate giving him a bit more freedom but not total freedom. I came home and found the door molding scrated up where he tried to get the gate down. That was the last time I confined him. He now has a home, family, and lots of love and wants no parts of being confined. It's not worth him hurting himself. He has only had 2 accidents in the house so I am happy to give him the freedom he needs. I got Valium for the stress (for him, not me) but definitely want to see about the Prozac for him. He needs to understand that no one will hurt him ever again, that he will be loved and have a secure home for the rest of his life.

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