Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest distorento

Separation Anxiety Not Improving...

Recommended Posts

Guest distorento

Hi fellow members,

 

My girlfriend and I are new adopters of Sam, a 3 year old ex-racer, who we have had for almost 2 months now.

Things are overall going very well with Sam. He has an extremely calm temperament (exactly what we wanted), he is getting along well with our cat (after cat de-training), and he is nothing less than an angel when we are around.

HOWEVER, when we are not around, he tends to panic. We both work 9-5 jobs so Sam is alone for most of the day. We always leave a kong before leaving and the radio on, he can go a few hours without saying a word, and then he can begin vocalizing for 2-3 hours straight (often times we get home and hear him vocalizing from the hallway). He has been crated since day 1. We were told to give Sam barely any attention when he first arrived and that's exactly what we did. We read a lot about alone training and did everything we read (including some of the great tips in this forum!). We tried leaving him alone uncrated (as this was a suggestion), and taped him while we were gone, he continuously paces and howls and vocalizes more than when he is outside the crate. So we keep him crated as he is overall calmer.

Luckily, he does not display any destructive behaviour (no accidents yet).

 

Since we live in a condo, we are beginning to be worried about the disturbances he is making, and after this much time, it does not seem to be improving. We continue to do some alone training, but we are still not seeing improvement...

 

Any insight and expertise you can give us would be extremely appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you considered trying an anti-anxiety medication like Clomicalm in the interim? At least until he gets more adjusted?


2vs2tdx.jpg

Alicia, Sterling, & the boys: Truman (AKC Mystery of Andarab), Wolfgang (Blue Alec), and the world's smallest greyhounds, Boogie & the Meez.

Forever missing my one-in-a-million tripawd, Henry (Rico's Dexter) | 12/20/2007 - 10/4/2015. My good boy, until we meet again.

For unique greyhound merch, visit my shops at: www.wetherbymartingaleco.etsy.com & http://www.wetherbysapparel.etsy.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest happygrey

Have you thought about hiring a dog walker to come in mid day and give him a walk to tire him out a bit?

 

In our case of SA the only real cure (besides a short few months on doggie prozac) was strict routine and time.

 

I'd also ditch the advice to not give him any attention -- at least now that he's with you for a couple of months. He may be looking to bond.

 

Best of luck, it can be frustrating. But typically it does pass once they finally feel secure in their new environment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, and welcome to GT.

Two months is a very short time for a dog to fully integrate into his new home.

I agree with the suggestion to actually give him attention now. It may sound weird but if you go back to SA Training 101 with 1/2 hour away, 1 hour away, 2 hours, 4 hours, then the working day again - if you bond well then the dog will know for sure you won't dare to be so mean as not to come back. I even bring mine back a treat which is given about a minute or so after getting home when she's settled from greeting. About 20 minutes before coming home (they 'know' by some 6th sense) she will move to the front door and wait.

Hiring a dog walker or dropping off at doggy daycare is also a good idea. Do any neighbors who stay home there like dogs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are other things to try too. A DAP difuser or collar. Canine Lullabyes, lavender scented spray. Leave the tv on. More than just one toy. A good long walk before you leave is helpful too. Good luck. Your boy sounds very sweet.


Irene Ullmann w/Shine and Odin in Lower Delaware
Angels Brandy, John E, American Idol, Paul and Fuzzy
Handcrafted Greyhound and Custom Clocks http://www.houndtime.com
Zoom Doggies-Racing Coats for Racing Greyhounds

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have seriously given everything a good, conscientious try - strict alone training, lots of exercise before you leave, DAP diffusers and collars, crating and not crating, dog walker at midday, dog day care (if you can afford it) - then the next step to try is talking with your vet about some prescription help.

 

Beginning a course of anti-anxiety meds does not mean your dog will be on them for life. Some dogs just need some extra support as they settle in and get used to home life. Two months is really not that long, and you are away for many hours every day. Most vets will begin with Clomicalm, which is a drug specifically marketed for veterinary use, but there are several other human drugs that can also be used for dogs.

 

Just as with people, dogs respond differently to different classes of anti-anxiety drugs - tri-cyclic anti depressants vs benzodiazapines vs SSRIs (selective seretonin re-uptake inhibitors). You may need to try a couple different ones to find the one that works the best for your dog.


Chris - Mom to: Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Lilly, and Felicity ( DeLand )

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), and Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby),

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know two months SEEMS like a long time, but it's really not.

 

I've had George for SIX YEARS and just now stopped with the Kong when I leave! He'll also cry at the door if I leave him on the weekends.

 

You might consider giving him another try out of the crate at this point. If he's good right when you leave, I imagine he'd be fine.

 

Also, the DAP diffuser is one of the few things I tried that actually seemed to help a big. That and exercise before you leave for work! Very important!

 

Hang on. You're doing fine, and it WILL get better.


gallery_14387_3165_14194.jpg

Susan,  Marcai's Mister Bigglesworth (AKA Da Evil Won), and Sleekat's Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming and George (Driven by Chile) and Buck (Vogo Player)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to GT. :) Many good responses so far. A few more things come to mind.

 

If Sam is quiet for the first couple of hours, that's a GREAT sign. Vocalizing later may be his only way to communicate that he needs a potty break. Many dogs need more than one or two potty outings before humans' departure. Males especially (and some females) hold a "reserve" in their tank (for marking during walks), so he might not be fully eliminating before your departures..

 

Also, newly retired hounds are often trying to adjust to a different food or medicines. They may have softer stools requiring more frequent eliminations than usual. Anxiousness can make dogs (and people) need to potty more frequently. Many GH groups suggest arranging potty breaks a minimum of every 4-5 hours during day. (Daytime hours are different from a calm 8-hour night when humans are home.) Good to have a fecal test if he hasn't had one.

 

If possible, secure a good size mirror several feet away (floor level) across from Sam's crate. Important: Ensure sunshine will not reflect on the mirror during the day. Retired racers are used to living in a kennel with Greyhounds, so this gives Sam (sighthound) a visual feeling that he has a Greyhound friend in sight.

 

Best for more than one person to share dog duties so dog doesn't hyper-attach to only one person. Try to share feeding and walking duties. I agree that if one of you can't come home briefly during lunch, ask a dog walker, neighbor, friend, or family member stop by mid-day to offer him an outing.

 

Another option: Your adoption group may know another Greyhound owner willing to watch your hound inside their home during your work day. There are many options that help hounds adjust to new homes. Please keep asking questions as needed. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest givemepenguins

Hi there!

We had trouble with our pup at first, too (he was the same age as yours when we adopted him). We did a lot of the things mentioned here, and they helped, but the big breakthrough happened when someone suggested that we let him see us leave the house. The idea was that he was vocalizing because he thought we were right behind the door the whole time!

 

It worked like magic. We'd leave the front curtain open and he'd watch us walk to the car and drive away. No more wailing after that.

 

Most important thing to remember is that it DOES go away. I remember feeling like it never would and feeling really desperate about it. We did reach out to our neighbors (we were in a condo) and asked them to please bear with us, letting them know that we know about the problem and were working on it.

 

Good luck and congrats on your new pup!

 

 

 

Edited to add: took about 3-4 months for it to go away.

Edited by givemepenguins

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Giselle

Do you specifically train for independence?

 

If the dog is not explicitly taught to be independent, he won't quite understand the point of alone training. Alone training in and of itself is a stressful venture for a dog. Alone training just tries to make the separation a little less stressful, a little bit at a time. But, in real life, these little bits often take far too much time for most people. I have always advised people to train for independence, and this is our standard solution for separation anxiety. If done correctly - if you explicitly train a dog that only calm behaviors make you return, the learning curve should require a few days to weeks, not months and years. My mentor would kill me if she found out that an SA case of mine took longer than a year to fix! :P

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

 

And if you seriously feel that you're hitting a rut, I would recommend a professional behaviorist prior to recommending medication. Medication, in my opinion, should only be used in conjunction with a highly skilled behaviorist and a well thought-out training plan. But IMO, if you have the skills and the plan, you usually don't need the medication.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest shanesmom

I dealt with separation anxiety with 2 greyhounds. What helped most for them was lots and lots of exercise. A long walk in the morning before I left no matter how tired I was. Elton had to have a very regular schedule too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have had Toley almost 6 months now. We had some separation anxiety with him too - peeing and pooping, chewing, destructive behavior in the crate (which we ditched after 3 days when he became even more agitated), What helped us, besides practicing alone training on the weekend was a thundershirt and calming cookies which I got at a pet store. It made an immediate difference, he wasn't panting when we left or anything. We used it for about a month straight, and now no longer use it, except if we go out at night. I feel for you, I know it seems so overwhelming when you are going through it. It will get better, you just have to find the right method for your dog.


Mom to Toley (Astascocita Toley) DOB 1/12/09, and Bridge Angel Opie (Wine Sips Away) 3/14/03-12/29/12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest distorento

Wow so many amazing tips! I really did not expect this much help!

I have heard many times about the DAP diffuser and this can definitely be an option. We have a the spray bottle that we give a few shots before leaving but I think it only lasts an hour or two.

We know that 2 months is not very long, but the biggest stress for us is the fact that we have neighbours so close by, luckily we have concrete walls and it seems to be pretty sound-proofed between units.

The mid-day dog walker also sounds like a good option but it can be quite costly for us right now (still adapting to a new condo and a new grey).

The idea of letting him watch us leave is not really an option, being in a high-rise condo, he can only see us walk out the door. But he is so distracted by his kong that he doesn't even care!

He has never had any accidents in the house so I don't think it is associated to bladder issues. We have our first visit to the vet today so we will find out if that's an issue.

 

We will definitely put some of the great things mentioned here into practice and keep you guys updated. Thanks so much to everyone here!


Forgot to mention, we already do use anti-anxiety meds. Our adoption group recommended them after we began (not exactly sure of the name), but they're natural pills that are not very strong so it does not create any dependence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have a young dog. I second the comment about exercise. He may need a lot more than you are giving him to deal with his day alone.

 

I know you are rushing off to work but a major walk before you leave might make a big difference. Take him for a 90 minute to two hour walk than record some video and see how he does.

 

Also as time passes please be aware that he may be better without the crate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Giselle

I disagree. I don't think more exercise will "cure" anxiety. I'm tired of the "exercise-cures-all" mentality that has been touted so ardently by a certain TV celebrity. Anxiety is a thoroughly studied psychological disorder that can be found from rats to dogs to humans. It is often characterized by hyperattention to the environment and reactivity to "normal" stimuli. Exercise will not blunt this response.

 

Have you ever spoken with an anxious person? People with anxiety disorders may be incredibly healthy and exercise for hours a day, but they are still anxious because it is a psychological disorder. After an hour run, they may still be unable to "turn off their brains" and sleep at night. Anxiety is not something that can be blunted by exercise. Of course, exercise is always recommended to uphold the integrity of one's body, but saying "needs-more-exercise" is like slapping a Band-Aid onto a gaping wound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regiment, regiment regiment.

 

Feed breakfast, take out for walk, return home, put radio on, give frozen kong with peanut butter or yogurt before you open door to leave. Keep doors to bedrooms, bathroom closed. Sometimes dogs don't know what to do with all that space. His safe space should be the same everyday.

 

Humans: get dressed, pick up keys, open door, leave.

 

 

In the long run a midday walker will calm everyone down. Dog looks forward to walk, humans can breathe easier.

 

Freeze 2 kongs one for morning and one after midday walk. Good luck and keep us posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest distorento

Thanks again everyone for your great comments. We are now into our 3rd month with Sam and we have not seen any improvement. If anything, he seems to have got worse. We continue to crate him when we leave (tried uncrating and did not see a difference in vocalizing), and he could go into a panic 5-10 minutes after we leave, and we really bark/howl/cry for an hour until he falls asleep... and once he wakes up he starts again (we know all this because we film him during the day).

The situation got much worse since we got a call from our building manager 2 weeks ago, indicating that they have received complaints and if it doesn't change immediately we will have to get rid of Sam... this is devastating news...

 

We have now tried:

-Large frozen kong before leaving

-3 km walks in the morning

-DAP diffuser

-LOTS of alone training

-Clomicalm (on 3rd week now)

We have also started with a trainer who strongly emphasizes alone training along with building our relationship with Sam. As much as we are trying, time is no longer on our side. We sent a letter to everyone on our floor, but who knows how long it will help for...

We just bought a thundershirt so we'll see how it helps but I know it doesn't have the same effect on all dogs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest LunaTheGreyt

Thanks again everyone for your great comments. We are now into our 3rd month with Sam and we have not seen any improvement. If anything, he seems to have got worse. We continue to crate him when we leave (tried uncrating and did not see a difference in vocalizing), and he could go into a panic 5-10 minutes after we leave, and we really bark/howl/cry for an hour until he falls asleep... and once he wakes up he starts again (we know all this because we film him during the day).

The situation got much worse since we got a call from our building manager 2 weeks ago, indicating that they have received complaints and if it doesn't change immediately we will have to get rid of Sam... this is devastating news...

 

We have now tried:

-Large frozen kong before leaving

-3 km walks in the morning

-DAP diffuser

-LOTS of alone training

-Clomicalm (on 3rd week now)

We have also started with a trainer who strongly emphasizes alone training along with building our relationship with Sam. As much as we are trying, time is no longer on our side. We sent a letter to everyone on our floor, but who knows how long it will help for...

We just bought a thundershirt so we'll see how it helps but I know it doesn't have the same effect on all dogs.

 

What dosage of Clomicalm is he on? Luna was on 50mg once daily for a month with no improvement, but once we upped to 50mg 2x/day (100mg is the max for her weight) her anxiety started to lessen significantly after about 2 weeks. Another thing that really helped her was the introduction of a citronella spray bark collar. She does not have destructive tendencies, only vocalization. She has only barked 4-5 times when left alone since I got the collar for her. I know not everyone agrees with using them, but it was extremely helpful for me being able to keep her in my condo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Marie

I can't offer any new advice but I'm keeping you in my thoughts. Chase would jump around in his cage several time a day when we first got him.He eventually calmed down. We ''alone trained'', it took a while.

 

Hopefully your neighbours can keep being understanding for a while. Hang in there!

 

Marie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have to see it from your dog's point of view. If you work 9-5 then you are probably gone for about 10 hours. That's 10 hours of being stuck in a crate: bored, lonely, anxious, hungry and probably needing to relieve himself too. What sort of life is this for him? I do not say this to be mean, only to suggest that his reaction is completely understandable.

 

If you are serious about keeping this dog, I would suggest that you find the money for a doggie daycare for him in the short term. This will take the pressure off you all and give you time to work out a longer-term solution, such as giving the drugs time to work, working on alone-training over a much longer period, and finding a trustworthy dog-walker to take him for a nice walk during the day and something to eat to tide him over until you get home.


SunnySophiePegsdon.jpg

When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Marie

How is Sam doing?

 

I hope you didn't get scared away and will keep us posted. I have kept you and Sam in my thoughts. We live near by and I am available to help if you need it.

 

I hope you are all doing better.

 

xx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest distorento

Thanks to everyone who posted.

GREAT NEWS! 3 weeks in a row now, and Sam's vocalization came to a complete halt. We tried the citronella collar (as suggested by Luna, thanks!) and it worked wonders. We literally tried everything in the book and what seemed to work best for us was: clomicalm (still on it as still show other signs of anxiety such as panting and digging in crate), citronella collar and meeting with a behaviourist. With no complaints from the neighbours, we are able to enjoy our time with Sam now and we are all much happier.

Once again, I have to thank everyone who took the time to reply to my post and everyone who contributes to this forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so glad to hear that things have gotten better ! I too have a separation anxiety dog and have come a long way with it. It's trial and error until you find what works for your particular dog. For mine, if there are no windows to see out of to know that we are not around ,it is a guaranteed that there will be curtain and door frame destruction. If curtains are left open, no problems. Maybe the citronella collar prevents your dog from working himself up with all the barking. His anxiety is is interrupted before it gets to that level.whatever the reason, I'm glad it helped!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Marie

Oh this is such good news!

 

I'm really happy for you guys and for Sam too! As I was saying we got Chase from the same adoption group you did and he really has come a long way too. We didn't have to medicate him but it was a close call. Alone training really did it for us.

 

Share some pictures of your boy when you have a chance, I would love to see him! :)

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...