Jump to content

New Separation Anxiety?


Guest GlennandMelissa
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest GlennandMelissa

Hello All,

 

We have had "Clem" for approximately 7 months now. During this time we have transitioned from keeping him in a crate (as he was getting his teeth stuck on the the wire) to now just keeping him gated in our family room while we are at work. We have had not problems with this until this past 7-10 days. The only thing that is new to the family dynamics is that our children started softball and baseball. I have brought him to practices and games (when they are at our home field where I know that dogs are allowed) but on nights that the games are away, we have put him back into the family room. On Monday night once we were home from my son's game that Clem had chewed and scratched the woodwork surrounding the door frame where the gate is located. Then last night upon returning from my daughter's game he not only scratched / chewed the other side of the door frame but also scratched our french doors leading to our porch. (We do not let him have free rein of the house as we have hardwood floors throughout our kitchen and dining room. Clem does not lay on the throw rugs on the floor and so he really struggles to get up off of the hardwood. We are fearful that he will hurt himself getting up since he looks like Bambi on Ice plus scratch and damage the floors.)

 

My husband is always the last to leave in the mornings for work and this morning he gave Clem a chew like he does every morning before leaving. Once he shut the gate, Clem immediately left his chew (which he never does) and came running to the gate. By the time my husband went into our garage Clem was barking and yelping uncontrollably. With fear of Clem hurting himself or the house, my husband went back inside. At that point Clem wanted to go outside. He let Clem out and waited a bit. After a while he tried to get Clem to come back into the house and Clem would either run away from my husband or lay down. At one point it even seemed like Clem was shaking. Eventually my husband got Clem to stand and then tried to lead him into the house by holding his collar (he didn't have his leash outside with him) and Clem was like a statue.

 

I spoke to the President of our rescue who then spoke to a few other members of the group. They suggested a behaviorist or just muzzling him. Wanted to see if anyone had any other suggestions for us too.

 

We do not have any other dogs or cats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(as he was getting his teeth stuck on the the wire)

 

From this statement I question whether Clem has had some separation anxiety all along. Sometimes a dog just hates a crate and will try to get out then be totally fine. But it may also be that the dog doesn't mind the crate but is anxious about being left. Given that he is now having issues I think it's reasonable to question the crate biting as being crate related or separation related.

 

Regardless, given the current situation I would muzzle and go back to alone training 101, not leaving him for more time than he can handle. Always return to him before he can get worked up. If stepping out of sight is too much then simply standing on the other side of the gate at first. Then farther away. Then finally ducking out of sight for a split second. And so on until you are leaving the house for very short intervals. If at any time the dog becomes anxious you are going too fast and need to back up one or two steps. Ideally during this training you never leave the dog alone so he can't get anxious. That's usually unreasonable for most people's schedules so finding someone to watch him during work days or sending him to doggy daycare might be in order for a short period of time.

 

I always leave the radio on, and for newer dogs I'll sometimes even sleep in an old T-shirt I don't care about for a couple of nights and then leave it with the dog when I leave. A frozen Kong or chew of some kind is definitely a good idea, as you are already doing.

 

It's also important to practice the motions of leaving without actually leaving. Think about your routine. Get up early on Saturday (I know, I know!) and walk the dog, feed him, take your shower, put on your work clothes, make breakfast, pick up your keys... and then sit on the couch and watch cartoons. You want to desensitize him to all the motions you go through before leaving so the dog isn't really sure that putting on work clothes means you're actually leaving.

 

There are tonnes of threads on SA here. If you search the forum you'll find a lot of more detailed posts on how to handle it. There are at least 2 other active threads right now addressing it that might be helpful to read through. :)

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

Like us on Facebook!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Regardless, given the current situation I would muzzle and go back to alone training 101, not leaving him for more time than he can handle.

 

Agree with everything Kristie said.

 

My dogs are fairly adaptable, but they do get thrown off by major changes in their schedule. Greyhounds are a little autistic in that way. The only thing I might add is to ask your vet about anti-anxiety meds for the short term. People here have also had success with DAP diffusers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest GlennandMelissa

Thanks Krissy and a_daerr.

 

Clem spent the first half of yesterday outside. My husband came home at lunchtime and then put him into our garage as the weather was going to get bad and Clem still wouldn't go into the house. When I got home from work I was able to get him to come inside the house. There was no baseball or softball last night so we were all home. This morning he fussed terribly again so my husband put the muzzle on and left for work. Clem is at least inside today. Hopefully he doesn't scratch up everything in our family room. Hubby is going to try and get home again during lunch today since he has an hour lunch and I only get 30 minutes. There are games tonight but they are home games so I'll be taking Clem with me.

 

At this point not sure how to do the SA stuff until the weekend as neither of us can take off of work this week. We do keep the radio on for him, will have to try out the shirt and get up early on Saturday (ugh lol). Started to look at the SA postings too. Clem has been an adventure that's for sure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Giselle

A lot of dogs start "freaking out" as soon as you leave the room. They want to follow you everywhere - to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the garage, etc. For these dogs, I think you can start alone training immediately and frequently just by teaching the dog that he can be happy and relaxed while simply away from you. You don't have to leave the house.

 

Example: [From here on out, when I say "reward", I mean give food or treats to the dog] You can tell Clem to Down+Stay on his bed, go back frequently to reward him, and then take 10 steps away. Wait for 30 seconds. Come back and reward him. Repeat this at least 5 times. Then, wait for 1 minute. Go back and reward him. Then, walk out of his line of sight for just 5 seconds!! Immediately go back and reward. If Clem gets up more than once, go back a few steps and the easy Stays again. Once Clem is to the point where you can tell him Down+Stay and walk out of his line of sight, he will learn that being alone is not scary and it's actually really fun! I also outlined the steps to this training in a previous separation anxiety thread by barnsleysfan. This training doesn't have to wait until the weekend because you can do it any time any day, and it doesn't require you to leave the house just yet. If Clem understands "Stay training", "alone training" will be super easy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, if he's alone all day, and then you're coming home briefly and then leaving him again--that's not much fun for a dog, whose greatest joy is usually being with is family.

 

How much exercise is he getting? And I don't mean time alone in the yard while the family gets ready for work/school, etc. EXERCISE.

 

The saying goes, "A tired dog is a happy dog." So if possible, someone needs to get up early and take him for a LONG walk.

 

He's probably bored and lonely even if he isn't anxious!

 

My dog had terrible SA when I got him, but we worked through it with lots of exercise, a Kong, a DAP diffuser, and TIME. Hang in there and good luck!


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A lot of dogs start "freaking out" as soon as you leave the room. They want to follow you everywhere - to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the garage, etc. For these dogs, I think you can start alone training immediately and frequently just by teaching the dog that he can be happy and relaxed while simply away from you. You don't have to leave the house.

 

Example: [From here on out, when I say "reward", I mean give food or treats to the dog] You can tell Clem to Down+Stay on his bed, go back frequently to reward him, and then take 10 steps away. Wait for 30 seconds. Come back and reward him. Repeat this at least 5 times. Then, wait for 1 minute. Go back and reward him. Then, walk out of his line of sight for just 5 seconds!! Immediately go back and reward. If Clem gets up more than once, go back a few steps and the easy Stays again. Once Clem is to the point where you can tell him Down+Stay and walk out of his line of sight, he will learn that being alone is not scary and it's actually really fun! I also outlined the steps to this training in a previous separation anxiety thread by barnsleysfan. This training doesn't have to wait until the weekend because you can do it any time any day, and it doesn't require you to leave the house just yet. If Clem understands "Stay training", "alone training" will be super easy!

 

I have never had a dog who translated being separated from people IN the house to the same thing as being alone when people left. In my experience, "stay training" for a dog with "people left home" separation anxiety just confuses the dog, makes everyone miserable, and takes time away from "people left home" alone training. This type of training is useful for keeping the dog out of the kitchen while people eat dinner, and that's about it.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest GlennandMelissa

How much exercise is he getting? And I don't mean time alone in the yard while the family gets ready for work/school, etc. EXERCISE.

 

The saying goes, "A tired dog is a happy dog." So if possible, someone needs to get up early and take him for a LONG walk.

 

 

Clem gets walked about three miles each night. Going through this week though my husband and I are thinking that we should walking him again in the mornings as well.

 

 

 

I have never had a dog who translated being separated from people IN the house to the same thing as being alone when people left. In my experience, "stay training" for a dog with "people left home" separation anxiety just confuses the dog, makes everyone miserable, and takes time away from "people left home" alone training. This type of training is useful for keeping the dog out of the kitchen while people eat dinner, and that's about it.

 

He's always slept in the family room without any issue but now he's crying at night time too. In this situation then would "stay training" help? We've tried having him in our room at night previously and he would never get settled, however we are thinking since it's now the weekend that we may try that again tonight.

 

Thank you all for your continued suggestions!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would let him sleep in the room with you. He may not settle first night -- it may take several nights. But most dogs do better in the room with their people.

 

If he hasn't had a vet check lately -- fecal, urinalysis, bloodwork -- I would do that as well.

 

 

 

I honestly haven't found the "stay training" described to be of much value over the years except, as noted, to keep the dog away from the family dinner table, hot oven, etc. Others' experience may differ so you really have to eyeball your own situation and your dog and consider what the process might do for you.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest GlennandMelissa

I would let him sleep in the room with you. He may not settle first night -- it may take several nights. But most dogs do better in the room with their people.

 

If he hasn't had a vet check lately -- fecal, urinalysis, bloodwork -- I would do that as well.

 

Thanks for letting me know that it takes several nights for him to settle into a bedroom. Guess this might be common sense but he never cried when he was sleeping downstairs before (unless he needed to go out) so we thought maybe he'd rather not be with us.

 

We had him in to the vet in January so perhaps we should take him back again.

 

Do you (or anyone else) think that it would be better to get a second greyhound to keep him company? Not sure if that would make things better or worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you (or anyone else) think that it would be better to get a second greyhound to keep him company? Not sure if that would make things better or worse.

 

I never recommend getting another dog as a means to "fix" problems with the first dog. Integrating a new pet is always a stressful time for a dog, and any pre-existing issues should be handled beforehand. Clem needs 100% of your time and attention right now without bringing another dog (who possibly has their own set of issues) into the mix. At this point, I would definitely be doing alone training and looking into some anti-anxiety meds for Clem, even if it's just for the short term.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes it helps to get a second greyhound and sometimes it doesn't. I personally wouldn't go that route yet because you can end up with more problems than you started with ... although you can also end up with fewer :lol . I suspect what you're seeing is, he's reacting to changes in your schedule. I would go through the basic alone training exercises, make sure he gets plenty of exercise, and see how things go. Could take 2-3 weeks before you see much difference.



ETA: I suggest the vet check only because I've had more than one experience with very odd symptoms for ordinary things like urinary tract infection. So, unless your vet is very costly or cash is very tight at your house, it can make sense to rule out physical issues up front.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Giselle

Stay training is exactly the same thing as alone training, if we do it correctly and reinforce the right behaviors. What we are reinforcing in alone training is having the dog realize that being alone is a-okay and fun, even. In stay training, we are reinforcing the dog staying alone in one spot and realizing that it's fun and calm. It's the same principle = the goal is to teach the dog independence. I'm not sure why it wouldn't work in your previous experiences, but I've always found it to be a systematic and successful tool. It sure beats anti-anxiety medication and waiting a looooooong time (and lots of damaged goods!).

 

Also, the stay training, which we then shift to alone training, is our standard method of treating separation anxiety for all dogs:

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/separation-anxiety-solution-training-fido-that-calm-behavior-makes-you

I freely admit I'm very influenced by Dr. Yin, but I only follow her standards because they work so quickly - as long as we can put in the effort to train.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe partly the difference between ex-racing greyhounds and other dogs? Although I've had some experience of other breeds who are great at what you call stay training, and have seen no advantage with those dogs in alone training -- hasn't seemed to be any transfer. So I usually don't recommend it to folks or make much effort at it (as part of alone training) myself. Mostly just use it as part of "out of the kitchen" or "away from the front door" stuff.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Giselle

Hmm, I wonder if those dogs had not been "proofed" properly. Fundamentally, stay training shouldn't be about teaching "Stay" but, rather, teaching calm independence. If dogs are trained to "Stay" but are not "proofed", or have not practiced 100 times in 100 situations with them being alone in a room, it won't translate to alone training because they weren't fully taught the correct behavior. So, if they didn't fully understand the point of Stay, it'd make sense that the training would crumble as soon as they're left alone. Then again, that's why both Dr. Overall's Relaxation Protocol and Dr. Yin's recommendations always stress the importance of practicing and "proofing" many times in many different situations to prep the dog as best as possible. So, as long as we can put in the training effort, I've always had success with the method. But I admit that it does takes effort! I think of it as an investment (worth its weight in gold ;) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...