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Remington2017

Separation Anxiety Frustration

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Hi everybody,

 

I have been using this forum as a resource for the entire time I have owned my grey and for a few months in preparation for adoption. I am finally going to make my first post! I adopted a 6 year old female named Remington last year in November 2016. She came straight from the track without foster. As of now, I have had her for almost 10 months. The first few months were definitely rough due to her separation anxiety. In the first 6 months, I had her crated when I was at work (~8 hours). She would bark and howl constantly all day long in the beginning. I had tried leaving her out of the crate and had the same result but with her jumping at the front door and scratching at the wall to the outside. Eventually she began to quiet down and would stay quiet for around 6 hours straight in the crate with minimal howling. This was in an apartment with neighbors on all sides and surprisingly I never heard a single complaint!

 

Then about 4 months ago, I made a move to a new apartment complex and within a few weeks of living there the complaints rolled in. I spoke to management and explained the situation and what I was working on with her. The neighbors appear to be understanding but I don't want to risk getting any further complaints. I eventually moved her from the crate to being baby gated in my bedroom with the crate available to her. I have tried almost everything with her: Alone Training, DAP Collars, DAP Diffusers(still use this), Thundershirt, Kongs & Kongs & more Kongs, Busy Buddy Bristle Bones, Bully Sticks, Melatonin, L-Theanine, Rescue Remedy, nylabones, dental chews. I try to give her enough stuff during the day to keep her busy so that she does not focus on the fact that I am not there. I also take her on a 45 min- 1 hour walk every morning before I leave for work. My roommate just adopted a beagle puppy so she has a buddy during the day who sits right on the other side of the baby gate during the day. I have made some strides in her axniety which is that I can leave in the morning and by the time I get to work (20 minutes) she is asleep on my bed after a small amount of howling and whining. She also will stay relatively quiet during the day with around 7 hours straight sleeping(yay!). My only issue lately is that she will get up after that 7 hours and howl and whine constantly until I come home. She also has been biting at the baby gate and actually destroyed part of one and I had to replace it last week. She has also scratched part of the door frame in my bedroom and chewed on a door stop. I would leave her free to the apartment seeing as she has never gotten into any trouble at any other time, but she does jump at the door and I am worried she would bite the door handle and I don't want to pay the apartment complex for her destruction.

 

 

When I am home, she literally lays on her bed and sleeps constantly so I know she is a lazy grey inside haha. I just want her to be that way when I am not around. She does wander into her crate in my bedroom when my roommate and I are in the living room and does not follow me to every room so she is not clingy when I am in the house. I also have a huge issue leaving her on weekends or for odd times. I had to step out to go move my car for 5 minutes the other day and I put her in the room and I could hear her the whole time I was out howling and barking. She also chewed on the baby gate that time also. I have tried my fair share of alone training with no luck. I need some advice on how to address this work day anxiety and some help with leaving for short periods without full on anxiety. I do record her during the day which is how I know she sleeps for 7 hours.

 

My vet is aware of the problem but hesitant to put her on medication because of the progress she has made. I would like to hear your opinions on what should be the next step in the process. I apologize for the novel, but I wanted to give every detail!

 

 

Thank you all for your help!

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I would put her on meds. It sounds like you've done your due diligence. But unless there is some way you can avoid leaving her at the times that she gets distressed (doggie daycare if she would enjoy it, dogsitter, taking her with you, etc) then medication is needes to allow her to cope. You could try a dog walker on your longer days as that's the only,thing I think you haven't really tried, but that also has the potential to make it worse. Also, are you sure she's calm and relaxed that whole 7 hours? You can't go based on complaints or lack there of. Hooefully you are using a webcam to observe her behavior?

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Hi thank you for your response!

 

I am weary of a dog walker just because I think that might set her off again in the middle of the day. I do have a webcam that I have set up so I do see her relaxing during the day and roaching.

 

I will speak to my vet about putting her on meds to get her over that last hurdle.

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I'd try the dog walker at @ 1-1.5 hours before she starts to fuss. She's had a good nap, and now she needs something to do.


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.

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On the weekends, when you step out, do you give her something like a stuffed frozen kong? Will she eat it if you do?

 

Assuming there's no way to shorten your work day a bit? Could you work shorter days 3 or 4 days a week and on the 1 or 2 longer days work something else out for her?

 

Violet had SA when I got her. Leaving her uncrated mostly solved the problem as she needed to be able to watch for me at the door. She would tend to get antsy around the 7 hr mark as well, but she would just have a wild play session and then lay waiting by the door. You could consider trying her free in the house or if there's a way to restrict her from the door if you're afraid she'll damage it but oet her be able to see it (an x-pen around the door maybe) that *could* do the trick for the work day issue. Of course, any change could disrupt things and have the opposite effect, like the dog walker might, but you won't know unless you try. The other thing is maybe getting a food dispensing toy if some sort that could come on around that 7 hr mark to keep her engaged. The one I love is really expensive, but there are some other products that spit out treats and also let you talk to your dog that are less expensive.

 

Just trying to give you any suggestions I can think of to get her over that hump. But I wouldn't worry about or feel bad about using meds if she needs them. There's very little risk of side effects and its so much better than a dog living with constant stress. Not to mention that she could hurt herself in her state of panic.

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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You mentioned a roommate having a puppy, but not that roommate's schedule. Is s/he gone all day the same as you are, or is s/he coming and going more often? This could make a difference for your girl.

 

Medication isn't a miracle cure. It's a process, first of all, to find one that works for your individual dog and your individual situation. We don't really know how and why they work for canines, and they can't talk, so it's really a luck-of-the-draw type thing for one that will help and not make things worse. Most need an extended dosing period - as long as 8 weeks - to begin with to build up to a clinically helpful level in the bloodstream. Then you need to continue with your behavior modification techniques - alone training, other desensitization. All a medication does is to put your dog's brain in a chemically balanced state so that the training has a chance to take hold.

 

FWIW, as far as being successful, Trazadone was a lifesaver for my anxious girl. Prior to that drug we had tried Prozac, Clomipramine, xanax,... and one other I can never remember. It took about a year to find the right one as you also need to gradually taper off the drug to get them off it. You just ahve to find the one that is the chemical key to your dog's behavior.

 

You've had your dog for a while, so I'm hesitant to say this, but, in the end, some dogs just can't be "only" dogs. You got her straight fom a kennel situation so you had no way of knowing if she would be OK by herself, and obviously it's been a journey for the two of you. If you're committed to sticking this out and keeping on working with her, then medication would be the next thing to try (in addition to NeylasMoms suggestions).

 

Good luck.


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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Thank you all for the advice. I forgot to mention that everytime I leave, I put on some soothing music for her and give her 2 frozen kongs and a bully stick. She tends to ignore these treats until later in the day. On weekends, I do all of the above including a long walk in order to tire her out. My roommate works a similar schedule to mine so we leave and arrive around the same time. I will look into a treat dispensing toy to distract her in those later hours or something that can keep her busy.

 

I would like to try as many things as I can before medication because I am wary of the side effects. She is a very sweet and friendly dog who loves people and I worry that the medication would knock her out or change her personality. I am curious if there is anything I could give her just for the time I am out of the house. I do give her a dose of melatonin and L-theanine before I leave which takes a bit of the edge off. I also understand that the medication can be temporary, but I want to try all of my options before making that jump.

 

Again, Thank you all for your help!

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The medications we are talking about don't tend to do what you are worrying about at the appropriate dose. I understand the reticence to use meds, but it really isn't kind to allow your dog to be stressed when meds could help. I'm not speaking to you directly, but just in general. Its tough as a professional to see so many people continue to avoid meds when it could literally change a dog's life for the better. And what many people don't consider is that stress can cause physical issues, especially over time. And dogs fear chemicals stay in their systems for some time, meaning often you get into a vicious cycle of dog is still amped up from last event, which makes him more likely to react now to an event he wouldbt otherwise and so on.

 

Getting off my meds soapbox :lol the good news is you have made a lot of progress without them. If you want to try a neutriceutocals option that might actually make a dent, I would do the following every day, not situationally:

 

Zylkene at the recommended dose twice daily - if you find this helps, tuere is a cheaper himan supplement you could replace it with down the road.

 

L-Theanine - At least 5 mg/kg twice daily to start, but consider doing 10 mg/kg and you can go up to 15.

 

These substances are harmless even in large doses (they pee out excess) ajd don't cause sedation.


gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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The medications we are talking about don't tend to do what you are worrying about at the appropriate dose. I understand the reticence to use meds, but it really isn't kind to allow your dog to be stressed when meds could help. I'm not speaking to you directly, but just in general. Its tough as a professional to see so many people continue to avoid meds when it could literally change a dog's life for the better. And what many people don't consider is that stress can cause physical issues, especially over time. And dogs fear chemicals stay in their systems for some time, meaning often you get into a vicious cycle of dog is still amped up from last event, which makes him more likely to react now to an event he wouldbt otherwise and so on.

 

Getting off my meds soapbox :lol the good news is you have made a lot of progress without them. If you want to try a neutriceutocals option that might actually make a dent, I would do the following every day, not situationally:

 

Zylkene at the recommended dose twice daily - if you find this helps, tuere is a cheaper himan supplement you could replace it with down the road.

 

L-Theanine - At least 5 mg/kg twice daily to start, but consider doing 10 mg/kg and you can go up to 15.

 

These substances are harmless even in large doses (they pee out excess) ajd don't cause sedation.

I tried this mixture with Xavi at NeylaMom's suggestion and it seems to have helped. Additionally, my vet was impressed that the exact same drugs and dosage could be purchased for a lot less at the store than from her clinic :lol


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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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If your dog had an infection, would you delay giving her antibiotics because they *may* cause stomach upset or vomiting? Mental illnesses are just as much a physical issue as an infection, and just as subject to being helped by the proper medication in the proper dosage. Why would you want your dog to suffer when medication can help?

 

Separation anxiety isn't only a behavioral challenge. At the level you're indicating it's also about an imbalance of chemicals in her brain causing her to not be able to learn that being alone is OK. That chemical imbalance then causes a cascade of other effects throughout her body, as she becomes more and more anxious and upset. The stress hormones that are released in her body during this process can cause physical symptoms that are at least as bad as anything that occurs because of an anti anxiety medication.


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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I actually bought a "noise maker" as I call it. Has different sounds, white noise, waterfall, birds, etc. There is even a light industrial fan noise. I have found that this has worked to disrupt disturbances going on outside the home way better than a radio or music. Just thought I'd make that suggestion. For sure a constant sound in your home of some sort is a great consideration for SA.

 

Does she like her crate? (Is she in there by choice when its in the gated area)? You could also try making it more den like - although I suspect you may have already.

 

For peace of mind, have you considered buying a webcam to monitor her activity? This could help for training or even complaints. :)


Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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