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They Can Get Over Sa!

Guest dougbb

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Guest dougbb

GT has many threads on people vexed with their hounds' SA (posts to which I have certainly contributed!), so I thought it would be good to mention the flip-side: that if separation anxiety does rear its head, with time, love, and patience, the symptoms can indeed wane.


When we got Doug 6 months ago, he exhibited signs of SA -- panting, pacing, whining, and then non-stop howling. Not only did this make him (and me, naturally) feel awful, but it also wasn't super for the other tenants in our building. We had started alone training from day one, and had in the meantime tried everything from DAP diffusers, classical music, stuffed Kongs, Himalayan chews, K-9 calm treats, Rescue Remedy, melatonin -- you get the idea -- to assuage his fears. When our neighbors complained, we knew that further action was needed, and talked to our vet about medication. Still, up until month about month 5, we couldn't confidently leave him alone for more than 15, 20 minutes, if that. Every week there would be progress and set-backs; we never knew whether we would come back to pitiful howls or a simple snout-to-lap greeting. At one point, when we thought we had crossed the two-hour threshold, we came home to find that Doug, in his consternation, had bitten a section of his tail into a hot spot. So, after he got bandaged up at the vet, back to one-minute alone intervals we went.


And then something clicked. It may have been any of the above mentioned aids and behavioral modification techniques, but the factor I believe helped above all was time. Doug needed time to trust us, to know our routine, to know that when we left we were coming back, and that we would always be back in time for his very important walks. :-)


Last week I attended a farewell party for a friend moving cross-country and, since my bf was working late, I had to leave Doug alone for at least two hours. Most of his SA flare-ups (like that hotspot) had occurred at night, so I was worried about what my bf would find when he returned home. About two hours later, I received a text message from my bf with this photo. His message: "Doug upon arrival."


Of course, we'll never be out of the woods w/r/t his SA. Doug is bound to have setbacks, maybe even bad ones, and there's no way we can deviate from our music-and-Kongs departure routine. But this does mean that he'll most likely bounce back quicker from set-backs, and that we can begin tapering off his fluoxetine dosage, and we can stretch our three-hour departure windows to longer durations, and we can go out to friend and family functions without keeping half of our worrying brains back at home with the dog.


If you had told me four months ago that we would come home one night to find Doug roaching on his bed in the back of the apartment, I wouldn't have believed you (partially because he only started roaching around us about two months ago -- but still!). I'm so proud of him!

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I've had Lena 13 months and her SA is 100% better. Yes it can get better with time.




Kari and the pups.
Run free sweet Hana 9/21/08-9/12/10. Missing Sparks with every breath.
Passion 10/16/02-5/25/17

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That is excellent!!!

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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