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Separation Anxiety Getting Worse

Guest JackieJormpJomp

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Guest JackieJormpJomp

I've had Sonic for a little over two months now and her separation anxiety seems to be escalating. She barks and whines while I'm gone, which is an issue because I live in apartment building with neighbors and my landlord's one rule when it came to me getting a dog was "no bark-y dogs." The thing is, her anxiety seems to be off and on. I've filmed her while I run out for a quick errand and she does fine, although towards the end of the video she gets a little whiny, but nothing bad. But lately when I leave she escalated to full on howling and screeching. I tried to go out to dinner last night and had to cut it short because my neighbors were texting me to tell me they could hear her having a very loud meltdown (mind you, she had just gotten an hour long walk plus some training before I left, so she should've been pooped).


Things we've tried (and are still doing)

  • Alone training
  • Calming treats
  • Radio
  • White noise machine
  • DAP diffuser and collar
  • Frozen kongs + treats
  • Feeding her when I leave (for the temporary distraction)
  • Crating and uncrating
  • Obedience classes
  • Lots and lots of exercise

We went to the vet last week and the vet recommended seeing how she does on Prozac. She's been on it for a week now and I don't expect to see any changed until a month in.


I'm starting to get really really nervous that she may be the type who needs another dog in the house, which isn't an option for me at this point in my life. I love my sweet girl and I just want her to be happy - it's absolutely heartbreaking to know she's so miserable when I'm away and to come home to a dog who's so stressed out.


Anyone have any advice? Is there something else I could be doing, or does she still need more time to settle? I'm concerned about it getting worse as time goes on; it's like she's doing the opposite of settling!

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Guest klipper

I think my only advice is to go back to alone training 101.


Short trips away with increasing length ALWAYS returning before she is having a melt down. I'm afraid that returning during / just after the meltdown is likely re-enforcing this behaviour. (If I howl, whine, bark enough...they'll come back to me!)


When we got Echo, we literally spent a week straight doing nothing but going through the motions of leaving the house and coming right back in. We'd literally get our keys, walk outside, start the car, close the garage door and repeat 40 times a day (we counted once). We then would take a drive around the block. Then we'd go get a milkshake, and worked up to eventually having us gone for the day at work. It was literally insane how many times we went through the process...but we just wanted to make us leaving as normal as possible.


It took a full 7 days to accomplish this, but now when we leave she sometimes doesn't even look up at us. She's so bored with us coming and going she waits until we get home before perking up. That said, she's not perfect with it. If i watch on the camera she paces / whines for about a minute or two right after we leave. But then she calms down and goes to bed.


Good luck to you...I'm sure more experienced folks will chime in as well.

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Anti-anxiety drugs aren't a magic pill that make the SA go away. They only put the dog's brain in a position to accept behavior modification therapy more easily. So continuing her alone training while she iz taking medication is a must.


Also, just like with people, dogs react to different drugs in different ways. Some will work for some dogs and not for others. It just depends on her brain chemistry and what her issues actually are. We went through a trial with four drugs before finding the one that worked for our anxious girl. Prozac/fluoxetine is a good place to begin, but it may not be the ultimate answer.

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

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

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, Lilly

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