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Separation Anxiety...?


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Jimmy is our first dog ever and we've had him a little over a month now. He's a bit of a spook and initially we had quite a few issues in terms of him being too scared to go outside to pee etc. Although he's still easily spooked outside the house and with unfamiliar things, we've had some success with adaptil and he's become more confident inside the house.

 

One problem we DID NOT have since Jimmy's been home with us is separation anxiety. From day 1 he was happy sleeping downstairs in his crate (door always open) and was fine with us leaving him at home by himself while we went to work etc.

 

My husband and I have been at home for the past two weeks over the holiday period and during this time Jimmy has opened up a lot more - he's mastered the stairs (to the point where I'm terrified he'll hurt himself because he just races up and down), he's no longer staying in his crate all the time and he is actually interested in knowing which part of the house we are at.

 

Since Jimmy has been confident enough to go upstairs, he's taken a particular liking to the landing of our stairs and will sleep there all afternoon if he could. He will lie down and take up the whole space... which wouldn't be an issue except that Jimmy also has sleep startle which makes it difficult for us to navigate up and down the stairs (our house isn't very big at all). Initially we were pretty happy that Jimmy was comfortable in another part of the house and let him sleep there - but we decided that this wasn't a good idea as we were constantly waking Jimmy up to pass by, and at times he would not be fully awake and would growl or bark.

 

Since yesterday we've placed a barrier at the bottom of the stairs so that Jimmy can't come upstairs during the day. He has no problem staying downstairs... so long as somebody is downstairs with him. If both my husband and I are upstairs, Jimmy will whine and bark like anything. We tried to ignore his whining and barking and waited until he was quiet before one of us went down to him..but we found out he had peed inside the house during the 10 minutes we left him downstairs (he had just gone for a walk 2 hours prior so we think this is stress related..and no UTI).

 

We thought that Jimmy was starting to develop separation anxiety as he was getting attached to us and because we were around all the time over the holiday period...but the strange thing is that if Jimmy is upstairs he literally does not care if both of us are downstairs. He will happily sleep and only come downstairs if he hears the car keys because he thinks that we are going for a drive or we get him downstairs to let him out to pee. He appears to be happy downstairs on his own when both my husband and I leave the house.

 

After the peeing/barking/whining incident, my husband and I left the house to see how Jimmy would react when we were gone. I got my husband to drive the car out of the driveway while I sneaked around the back of the house to see if Jimmy was getting anxious etc. After looking at the door for a minute or so, Jimmy went into his crate and lay there - no whining, no barking.

 

So we're a little confused as to what the whining/barking and peeing is - whether it's related to separation anxiety (and whether this has the potential to get worse if we don't address it) or if it's just him really wanting to go up the stairs?

 

I should add, we do let him come upstairs at night - he's sleeping on the landing at the moment, but last night he was happy sleeping downstairs. Should we be more consistent and not let him go upstairs at all?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lots of terms that adress "problem behaviour". Maybe get this out of your head first. A dog that is new to pet life is not automatically a spook and not being able to stay alone at home not necessarilly seperation anxiety.

His whole world has turned upside down. No established routines so far, no experience being single pet dog etc.

 

(Adopted another hound 9 weeks ago. A hound that I would call outgoing, unspookish and alone trainable. Still he was insecure and shy at the start. Could not release himself outside, barked, whined and jumped at windows when left alone...oh and peed inside several times. I would call that normal.

 

Some dogs adjust better and faster thsn others and some seem "uncomplicated" at the beginning which simply could be because the are afraid and desorientated and then they show "problematic" changes after a while when they settle in.

 

I truly believe in the "relax yourself" method when introducing a new dog to a household.

You have a fully grown hound now that is like a baby in many respects. Has to learn everything from the beginning. Time, patience and humour on your side is what he might need the most.

Edited by Rakete
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That he did not show "seperation anxiety" at the start, well... how should a dog be afraid of losing contact to its pack if there is no pack. No bond between you and the hound. You where total strangers to each other. There are dogs that choose to stay calm in that situation. Not necessarilly the relaxed way of calm.

 

No he may have started to get used to you a little more (still I would not call it a strong bond after such a short while) and may be secure enough to show what stresses him.

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That he did not show "seperation anxiety" at the start, well... how should a dog be afraid of losing contact to its pack if there is no pack. No bond between you and the hound. You where total strangers to each other. There are dogs that choose to stay calm in that situation. Not necessarilly the relaxed way of calm.

 

No he may have started to get used to you a little more (still I would not call it a strong bond after such a short while) and may be secure enough to show what stresses him.

 

 

 

Sorry please don't misunderstand me. I know my post I might come across as a person who's wanting to know why their hound hasn't assimilated quickly into home life and why they're not 'perfect' as advertised etc... which isn't the case at all. By issues and problems I definitely don't mean that it's HIS fault - poor choice of wording there.

 

We've been in contact with the adoption agency and are in regular contact with the person who fostered him and have heard bits about how he was how he was pre-adoption (from somebody who knows his trainer) and know that he's always been a bit of a shy dog and unsure of new things so we have been trying to take that in mind and being patient and understanding..it's definitely been a learning curve for us.

 

We're keeping him off our stairs during the day as our stairs are tiny and he literally takes up the whole space of the landing when he lies down...so if we were going up and down the stairs we were stepping in the space between his legs to get down - we didn't think it was nice to be invading his personal space every time we used the stairs especially since we're still building up his trust.

 

In terms of barking etc, we just wanted to know what it was so that we could look at ways he wouldn't get so stressed out/upset.

 

Thanks for your advice!

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I'm sorry if I come around a little harsh - and especially my written English is far from perfect, as I really have to make my mind do hard work to rembering school english. It was just an impression or my interpretation of a short text written by a person I do not know describibg a hound I do not know and the person barely knows that made me think "Eeeeasy!".

 

You did your homework, seems you read a lot, you know the terms. There is a foster family, a trainer, you know this forum, you seem prepared up to a high level. Which is great but can lead to stress yourself and your hound out to a maximum.

 

I am shure you give your best. To me it just sounded as if you try a little to hard.

 

Not knowing you or your hound, just based on my interpretation all I want to advice you is to relax. What you describe sounds not like a severe case but like a completely normal hound trying to figure out how pet life together with you works.

 

No special training tips from my side as I am more of the "It's an attitude not so much training"school. If something does not work out with a new dog I try it again from the start as the dog might not have been ready yet but main thing always was: the more I relaxed the less "troubles" there where with any new dog.

 

Oh and baby gates. Baby gates work wonders!

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We are going through somewhat similar situations with our girl, so I understand how you feel. It can get all too puzzling!

 

You did your homework, seems you read a lot, you know the terms. There is a foster family, a trainer, you know this forum, you seem prepared up to a high level. Which is great but can lead to stress yourself and your hound out to a maximum.

I am shure you give your best. To me it just sounded as if you try a little to hard.

Not knowing you or your hound, just based on my interpretation all I want to advice you is to relax. What you describe sounds not like a severe case but like a completely normal hound trying to figure out how pet life together with you works.

No special training tips from my side as I am more of the "It's an attitude not so much training"school. If something does not work out with a new dog I try it again from the start as the dog might not have been ready yet but main thing always was: the more I relaxed the less "troubles" there where with any new dog.

Oh and baby gates. Baby gates work wonders!

We are getting a professional advice from a greyhound specialist/trainer and she said similar thing to what Rakete said above. I tend to worry too much about everything, and she said that such attitude can make a dog feel anxious. Now I understand why everyone here says that time and patience play huge role :)

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