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Separation Anxiety Help


Guest Wasabi303
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Guest Wasabi303

I am sure this topic has been covered before.... extensively.... but I couldn't find the exact answers I need and I am in a bit of a pickle. Hoping y'all can come to my rescue again.

 

Wasabi is 2 1/2 and I have had her for 3 months. When she first got home I worked on leaving for short periods and returning. She did ok but not great. Trainer suggested a crate. Got crate. She was okay in crate when I left (no more than 2hrs) for about a month. Then she started howling in crate, even when I left treats or frozen kongs. Now she resists getting into the crate, even with her favorite treats, so I don't use it anymore.

 

Her only behavior is howling, no potty in the house or chewing or anything else. But it has gotten to the point that the neighbors will call me when I leave because of the noise. I am afraid to leave her alone at all, so she comes with me everywhere.

 

I NEED to be able to leave her alone for a couple hours every now and then. She completely runs my life and as a college student trying to attend classes this is not working. I need her to be able to be away from me without loosing it.

 

I guess I should have paid more attention to alone training initially, but now I have no idea what to do.

 

Suggestions?

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Guest IrskasMom

I really have no Advice since I never dealt with SA . I am just commenting on doing everything with my " Bubby " because HE runs my Life. I am retired and it's ok with me. :hehe

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Start over.

 

Pretend you just got her. Begin at the beginning. You can get "I'll be Home Soon" on Amazon.com in an e-book format for a few bucks--that's the written guide on how to do alone training.

 

Good luck!


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I too would start from the beginning. Start out as if you were beginning from scratch and ignore the fact that she has been OK and regressed. Go slowly, and be thorough with each step.

Here's how I do it:

First, set aside some time. You cannot hurry this.

 

Stage One

Without making a fuss of your dog, pick up your keys and walk out of the front door. Close it behind you. Immediately open it again and go back in. Put your keys back where they belong. Do not say anything to your dog.

 

Do this every half hour until your dog no longer leaps up to watch you go, looking ready to panic. Ideally, he will lie down near the door to watch for you.

 

Stage Two

Without making a fuss of your dog, pick up your keys, walk out of the door and lock it behind you. This time, count to twenty and then go back in. Put your keys away. Do not say anything to your dog.

 

Do this every half hour or so. Your dog may be very watchful, but should not panic.

 

Stage Three

Again, without making a fuss, do exactly the same thing as in Stage Two, but count to thirty before going back in.

 

Do this every half hour to an hour. Your dog may be very watchful, but should not panic.

 

Stage Four

Again, without making a fuss, do exactly the same thing as in previous stages, but this time walk away from the house, and turn and go back inside after five minutes. Once again, do not greet your dog, but be very matter of fact and go about your business.

 

Do this every half hour to an hour. Your dog may be very watchful, but should not panic.

 

Stage Five

Do exactly the same, but stay out for ten minutes. After repeating until your dog is no longer over-alert and watchful, you can stretch out the time to fifteen minutes, and then to twenty minutes. During this phase - as long as you are sure your dog is still not reacting with anxiety - you can get in the car and drive it away from the house for the required period of time.

 

Once you are able to leave the house and drive away, remaining away from your dog for half an hour, you're pretty much home and dry. Just don't rush from half an hour one day to six hours the next day, or you'll undo all the good work.

 

Please note: It is impossible to say how long it will take. One stage might take three days, or it might take half a day. The important thing to remember is that IF AT ANY STAGE your dog howls, whines, barks, pees, poops or shows any signs of anxiety at all, you are going too fast. Go back a stage. If that doesn't soothe him go back another stage, until you find his comfort zone. This will not work if you are impatient and try to rush things.

 

As long as your dog remains calm at all times, you may find you can move through the stages quite quickly.

 

Try to mix things up a little; throw in a quick 30 second outing in the middle of the ten minute ones. Don't go out for two hours, and then go out three short times in a row within a half hour. Go out on foot, by car, or by bike if you have one. Go out with your coat on, and without. Go out with your work clothes and packed lunch bag. Go out with a shopping bag. With 'dog-walking' shoes on, or with smart 'office' shoes. Try all possible combinations.

 

In the end, you should have a dog who accepts your coming and going and trusts that you will return. When you have reached this point, you can begin to greet him when you come home in a normal way.

 

You may find that it's useful to have a key phrase to use when you leave. We say (cheerfully) 'See you later, good dogs!' Always use the same phrase, and it can have quite a comforting effect.

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Guest Wasabi303

Thanks for the in depth instructions, silverfish. I did a little tonight and it very clear that we need work. I have my weekend cut out for me, wish me luck!

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Guest Wasabi303

Wohoo! We got up to 5 minutes today with no setbacks. I am hoping to be at the ten minute mark by tomorrow night. She is getting it, slowly but surely.

 

:bgeorge

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when leaving, dont just hang around outside of your door, because then you may become the "human who does weird things". Actually leave the immediate area. I had done the hanging around outside of the door and it set us back a bit. A couple of trainers finally cued me in to how my behavior became weird to the dog, after that, i either got into my car and drove around the block, or i took a short walk.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Wasabi303

oh man.... it is hard to keep up with when you are busy (like we all are). I would say she is doing pretty well, I can leaver her for about an hour at home, but only under certain conditions. She has to be fed and walked recently, and it MUST be daytime. If I try to leave in the later evenings, all hell breaks loose.

 

So we need more work. But it is improving.

 

How is your pup doing, jsullysix?

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It is kinda difficult, for sure.

 

We're moving slowly (I think?); my guy doesn't howl or cry (much), but we've got him to about 2 hours before we come home to a wet belly band. His issue may be SA or house training, it's hard to tell, but it's definitely been frustrating. I've started using the camera on my laptop as a webcam so I can watch what he's doing while we're gone, which has been kinda interesting, but when he gets up and starts the "hm.....I think I'm gonna pee" walk, it's tough because you can't do anything about it but watch it happen. Admittedly, that experience is funny when I share it with others. :)

 

Sully

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Have you tried leaving Wasabi out of the crate?

Our guy freaked out when left in the crate, but was completely fine when allowed free-roam of the house...

maybe see if that helps alleviated the howling?

 

good luck

time and patience

which can be hard to come by

Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

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