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When To Medicate For S.a.? Advice?


Guest lemon
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Guest lemon

I've had Tosh about a month now and have been doing alone training that whole time. He was doing well but it seems as he has become more bonded to me, he is becoming more anxious when alone. At first he had no problem eating his Kong and if he finished he might whine a few times and then sleep. As we progressed he would eat his Kong and then when finished whine more then usual, and look out the patio door and then sleep. As time went on he began to eat his Kong for a minute then whine, go look out the door, go back to the Kong, then look out the door, then whine, but within in about half an hour he would settle in and then just sleep. Yesterday I had to go to an inservice day for work and it was the first time he was left alone all day. I have a dropcam and he worked on his Kong, did zoomies, whined, paced, also barked some and rooed and it took him longer to settle but he eventually did and slept for the rest of the day. Today I didn't have work but wanted to leave him a long time for practice and when I left he seemed to just lose it, didn't want his Kongs, barked, whined and rooed almost non-stop for a half hour and I just didn't know what to do and went back (making sure not to enter when he was whining). On Monday my school year starts and I will be gone close to ten hours each day (I have someone who comes in to let him out). I am really worried this will get worse before it gets better. If today is an idication of how he will respond to being left alone I think he may need to go on medication to help him get through but he's my first greyhound so I don't know if his whining barking is just something he needs to do for a week until he realizes it doesn't change anything or if just having him "bark it out" will just escalate things.

 

My biggest limitation is that my work is about an hour commute and I have to be there by a certain time in the morning so no doggie daycares or people who watch pets in their home are open by then. We walk for close to an hour each morning and and an hour each night and in order for me to get eight hours of sleep a night we can't just extend our walks though I have thought of possibly jogging him for part of the walk. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Guest Clawsandpaws

When you "left" do you mean you just walked outside the door and waited? Even my boy who couldn't give two poops when I'm gone would show SA signs if I am just standing at my door. (EX: When I am sweeping my front porch, gardening, or just standing outside on the phone) How do you know what he is doing alone? Do you have a camera set up?

 

I think I recall from your previous threads that you haven't started any alone training yet, google it/search the forums and start that ASAP! Some hounds really do need meds to alleviates their SA, but that is a choice you should make after you have already worked on alone training and other variables, such as: exercise, long enough potty breaks, mental stimulation, positive reinforcement, etc etc. I know a few hounds with severe enough SA that they needed medication.

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Guest lemon

Thanks, I'll look into calming collars.

 

We have been alone training and we worked up to me being gone up to four hours and then yesterday I had to leave for closer to 9 for work. I have a dropcam (wireless camera) and I can watch him with an app on my phone and also login to my account and watch what happened earlier in the day. Today when I left he just sniffed his Kong and then watched me leave so I knew something was up so I got in my car and drove away but didn't leave town like I was planning to, I watched and heard him through my phone app.

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Guest Clawsandpaws

Must be really frustrating :( but the fact that you worked up to 4 hours is really promising, in my opinion. Some meds require a few weeks to start working, so you could always talk to your vet and start him on something right away, ask for a low dose to start with and see if it helps at all.

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Guest LunaTheGreyt

When I first brought Luna home, she was perfect for the first week I had her. I'm also a teacher, and she handled the school days just fine - slept all day long (I, too, have a webcam I access from my phone). The following week she was a totally different dog - barked, howled, cried, panted all day for the whole week. That Friday, I came home to poo in her kennel - she had gotten that upset! I started taking her to a friend's house during the day for the last 2 weeks of school as a short-term fix for her noisiness (as I live in an apartment). I did alone training for about a month with no progress, then my vet gave us a prescription for Clomipramine/Clomicalm. She started out on a 50mg pill once a day, but after a month with no results, we upped to 50mg 2x/day. It's been about 2 weeks and I've noticed almost a 100% improvement. In addition to the Clomipramine, here's what else helped us:

 

- I randomly put on my shoes, get my purse/keys, and then sit back down on the couch/go back to whatever I was doing. Repeatedly. Every day. (Desensitization)

- I give her full run of the common areas of my condo (kitchen/living area) - she's currently wearing her muzzle since she chewed up some curtains back when I baby-gated her in the kitchen). Planning to remove the muzzle from the equation soon.

- This is controversial but I'm posting it anyway. I got her a citronella spray bark collar. You'll know right away if this is a useful tool for your dog. Luna would get to the point where she was constantly barking/howling LOUDLY for up to 20 minutes straight with only a 30-second break before starting up again. When I tried the collar for the first time, she barked once, received a spray, and immediately went to lie down on her bed. The whole time I've used the collar she has barked less than 5 times. Some dogs may continue to bark and ignore the citronella, or become even more agitated with it, but it doesn't seem to bother Luna at all. In fact, it seems to interrupt her thought process for long enough that she "forgets" what she's upset about. I am still treating the anxiety as a separate issue, but the collar really helped her quiet down and at least rest on her bed while I'm gone. I know a lot of people don't agree with bark collars, but as someone who has a family member that uses electric shock bark collars, I think this is a completely harmless tool.

 

I think the collar + meds were what really did it for us. We tried tryptophan, DAP diffuser spray, Rescue Remedy, stuffed Kongs/treat balls, toys, being crated/uncrated, tons of exercise...none of it worked. I don't go back to work for 3 weeks so I still have some time to work up to a full day alone.

 

I wish you the best of luck! I know S.A. is a tough nut to crack.

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I can only speak from the human standpoint, but I have OCD and anxiety with a lot of things. Meds have helped me become as close to "normal" as possible. A person (or in this case, a dog) does not understand they are thinking irrationally. They can only understand what they are feeling and how it affects them in that particular moment. So until you can find some relief from those feelings of anxiety and panic, it's hard to get past that into an area where learning can occur. Yes, I think alone training is great, but why should the dog have to suffer in the meantime? If a dog had a physical problem, we would try any medication that would help them, right? I don't know why the same isn't true for psychological meds. Just my $0.02. If it helps your guy, at least in the short-term, I think meds are worth a shot.

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I think it's perfectly logical to talk to your vet about some sort of medication to help get over the hump. Back when I was involved in a foster program, when we embraced medical help for dogs with SA the reduction in stress for both the foster and the dog was incredible. It doesn't have to be a lifetime, just enough to help him settle.

 

I would also recommend a DAP collar.

Colleen with Covey (Admirals Cove) and Rally (greyhound puppy)
Missing my beloved boy INU (CJ Whistlindixie) my sweetest princess SALEM (CJ Little Dixie) and my baby girl ZOE (LR's Tara)

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You may need to start/restart alone training several times over the course of the next few weeks. In addition to the desensitization techniques described above. When doing your alone training, have you been returning to the house after a few minutes and then extending that time up to four hours?? You need to begin with returning *before* he begins to react, a lot of times, and then gradually extending the length of time you're gone.

 

That being said, only 30 minutes of agitation is a relatively good reaction. A *bad* reaction would be if she continued for several hours. Are you in an apartment or condo where the noise is an issue for other residents, or a stand-alone house? If so, contact you neighbors (above and below too) and explian the situation to them and reassure them that you're working on the issue. I have it on good authority that home baked chocolate chip cookies help to break the ice!

 

Have you had your friend come in and let her out yet, to see how fast she settles after that?

 

If it was me, I would probably do more intensive alone training for your remaining days, do the above described desensitization techniques, get a DAP collar/diffuser, and see what happens. I would also be putting her on the schedule you need to be on for work, including outs for potty trips and mealtimes.

 

As Alicia said, medicating for mental issues should be as easy as medicating for physical ones. She may not need any meds, but if she does, she probably won't need to be on them very long.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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

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Guest lemon

Thanks for all the responses, there are some products suggested that I will definitly look into. I am also hopeful that since he could handle 4 hours alone and up to this point he's been managing my absences pretty well that he can handle being an only dog given time. He's in no way destructive when I'm gone, just very vocal. This may have just been too much to soon for him. Also, this may seem weird but one of the odd things is that when I get ready to leave he doesn't whine, pace, or seem anxious. Today I've basically started alone training at square one and have been randomly putting on shoes and picking up keys, getting my bag to desensitize "triggers" and when I do this he comes up to me wagging his tail and rubbing his head against me because I think he thinks he is going on an adventure somewhere. Could he have been so upset today because he thouht he was going somewhere and then didn't get to go? He has never whined or barked or rooed when I have been getting ready to leave, often he is fixated on his Kong and even will wag his tail when he sees it.

 

We have a great training place here with a lot of greyhound experience and they run a doggie daycare. They are incredibly kind because they're letting me bring him by tonight to talk about what is going on and it may be possible to do an early enough drop off there that he can go to daycare until he can be alone. They are going out of their way to help me which I really appreciate and I'm really hoping I can find something that allows him to be okay while I'm at work so we have the time to work through this issue.

 

Edited to answer questions: It was a gradual work up to 4 hours and during that work up time he was fine at first and then we hit the issue of once he had completly finished his Kongs he would begin to whine. He would whine some but then settle and sleep. It was as if he finished his Kong and then was like, I'm alone, now I'm upset and I didn't know what to do to get him over that. The general consensus I got was that as long as he is able to settle in a relativly quick amount of time it was okay for him to whine some. And he was settling in within half an hour with just some whinning. The rooing and barking is new to the last two days and the ignoring the Kong completly was just today. My neighbor is very understanding and I delivered a beer yesterday and talked to them but my big concern is that he was so worked up today and after watching him for half an hour he didn't seem to even be beginning to settle. I came back so I don't know how long it would have taken him to stop. If barking rooing whining non-stop for half an hour is not a big deal (i.e. it's something he will just naturally work through on his own when he realizes it doesn't get results) I wouldn't be as concerned but I don't feel I have enough experience to know if all this noise is normal or not as greyhounds adjust. It also concerns me that at first we didn't have many barking and rooing and now we do, it feels like it's escalating.

Edited by lemon
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Do you leave the television or radio on for him? (Sorry I kept calling him a her before.) Also, he may need a different spacial set up - either one he can't see out of, or one he can see out of better. A crate might help, or might not. Baby gating him into a smaller space, or giving him the run of the house. He may not need a Kong if he will settle faster without it. Mine get a goodbye treat and are fine when we leave.

 

There are a lot of variables that have helped individual dogs be OK with being alone. Sometimes you just need to try different combinations until you find what works for your guy.

 

It's great that you have someone on hand to give you some added support!

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

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

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Guest lemon

Thanks again to everyone who responded, I was able to talk to the most wonderful women with a lot of greyhound experience who is a behaviorist, trainer, and runs a doggie daycare/boarding. We talked about what's been going on and she's willing to help me out as I work with Tosh. I'm starting over alone training with him for the rest of the days I'm off and they are willing to let me drop him off early so he'll then be going to doggie daycare once work starts which will allow me to continue working with him at his pace. It's the best case scenario for me and at some point I'll write an update in case someone else is going through something similar.

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