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Honored Contributor
Posts: 20,570
Registered: ‎06-13-2012

Re: Separation Anxiety--Any Suggestions?

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@CrazyDaisy wrote:

Why do you think it is separation anxiety?  Just because he gets "upset" dose not make it separation anxiety.  What does he do once your son has left?

 

True separation anxiety can be a serious condition that any dog (not just rescues) can have. The behaviors can become very destructive or physically harmful.  Some behaviors can be changed with behavior modification while in sever cases medication may be needed.  Allowing the behavior to continue for 6 years is going to make it difficult to correct.

 

Since the only information you gave was he gets upset when he leaves, I have to assume he is fine after your son has left.  So it seems he is just having a "temper tantrum" when your son gets ready to go.  I would suggest that your son give him a bone or kong filled with frozen treats to distract him from your sons departure.  Once you get into a routine he will start to look forward to getting his treat when you son leaves.

 

OP, I'd like to know this too. It may actually  not be seperation anxiety. What does he do once your son leaves?

 

On thing that really helps to calm a dog when leaving is to not make a big deal of leaving. The owner doesn't do a long drawn out good bye, just casually leaves out the door, no looking back or creating a grand exit. Very subtle.The ownercan  feed into the anxiousness by how they leave- sometimes we don't even realize we are feeding into it because we think we are trying to calm them down.


Valued Contributor
Posts: 932
Registered: ‎11-01-2010

Re: Separation Anxiety--Any Suggestions?

Jasper is adorable! Unfortunately, our dogs don't understand when we leave, we will come back. Dogs live in the present.  I have two poodles and the breeder suggested we "crate train".   I did this by always giving them a treat (after they went into the crate because I don't believe in ever luring a dog) and by slowly increasing the amount of time I was away. It took weeks but now, when we go out, they go into their crates by us saying the word "crate".  This has worked well for us but it may not be a solution for all.

Whether crate training or just training to reduce a dog's anxiety, I believe positive reinforcement is the way to go!   What motivates Jasper?  Some dogs are motivated by food, some dogs like a special toy.  Find something that Jasper will find irresistible and  use it to change what he preceives as a bad thing (dad leaving) to a good thing (he will get a very, very special treat).  Make sure it is something VERY special. ( My dogs are food motivated so I used small pieces of hot dogs.)  Use baby steps as it will take time but give him LOTS OF REWARDS beginning with any sign that he isn't focusing on dad leaving.  Training takes 100%.  Consistency is key.    Good luck!

 

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
Honored Contributor
Posts: 19,200
Registered: ‎10-25-2010

Re: Separation Anxiety--Any Suggestions?

Get him a companion.  It could be another dog, or a cat if he likes them.  Many dogs do not like to be alone.  

 

I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.  I had planned on only getting one.  These dogs are bred to be companion lap animals.  Many of them have separation anxiety and can't be left all alone for any length of time.  My dog would cry and yelp and chew my woodwork, throw rugs and bark for hours when left alone.  She even vomited because of her stress.  My breeder suggested a friend for her.  Because I am allergic to cats and I loved my CKCS I got another one.

 

I have no problems leaving my home to go to work or anywhere else.  Yes, they both bark and cry when I leave, but it is only for a minute or two.  Then they calm down and aren't stressed.

 

They are now bonded and don't like to be separated.  When one of them spent 5 days in an animal hospital after surgery, the other one sat by the door or looked out of the window all day and night and wimpered.  

 

I would make sure the new companion and your grand dog get along really well.  They will enjoy each other's company and not fell alone when their master is at work.

 

Best of luck to your sweet Jasper.  

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,325
Registered: ‎03-08-2014

Re: Separation Anxiety--Any Suggestions?

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The trick to a Thundershirt is that you put it on them many times in a totally positive situation, then give them lots of love and even treats. They start of associating the Thundershirt with positive things. Then, you start to put it on ahead of a known stressful situation. You may put the shirt on him right after everyone gets up, then he gets his breakfast and everyone is still home and things are normal. Once it is time to leave, he will not associate the shirt with daddy leaving him, so hopefully the hug it offers will give him comfort. It would also help if his human could try on the weekends for shorter absences...building up to longer ones. First be gone for 10 minutes and come home, if he accepts that, then lengthen it. Next maybe 20-30 minutes, then an hour, then go to a movie, then a ballgame, and slowly stretch his window of tolerance to absence, while learning daddy always comes home. You could also try Bach's Rescue Remedy for Pets on Amazon (get the pet version not the human version - the human version has alcohol in it). It takes time, but he can adjust to feel comfortable with the absence of his pack leader.  Good luck and be patient with him, this has been his norm for 6 years.

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Super Contributor
Posts: 470
Registered: ‎03-26-2010

Re: Separation Anxiety--Any Suggestions?

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They might try a high value treat that he only gets when they are getting ready to leave like a Bully Stick. Not only does my dog love her Bully sticks, they aleviate some of her anxiety because thay require alot of chewing which takes energy. Also, leaving and comming home should be kept low key. A simple "be good" when leaving and upon arriving home, no acknowledgement of the dog until he calms down so he learns that comming and going is no big deal. Good Luck!     

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,403
Registered: ‎03-14-2010

Re: Separation Anxiety--Any Suggestions?

[ Edited ]

@CrazyDaisy wrote:

Why do you think it is separation anxiety?  Just because he gets "upset" dose not make it separation anxiety.  What does he do once your son has left?

 

True separation anxiety can be a serious condition that any dog (not just rescues) can have. The behaviors can become very destructive or physically harmful.  Some behaviors can be changed with behavior modification while in sever cases medication may be needed.  Allowing the behavior to continue for 6 years is going to make it difficult to correct.

 

Since the only information you gave was he gets upset when he leaves, I have to assume he is fine after your son has left.  So it seems he is just having a "temper tantrum" when your son gets ready to go.  I would suggest that your son give him a bone or kong filled with frozen treats to distract him from your sons departure.  Once you get into a routine he will start to look forward to getting his treat when you son leaves.


Jasper crys and barks.  Then he runs out his doggie door and runs back and forth from the back gate to the front fence.  He's made serious ruts in the yard from this.  When it's rainy, he gets covered with mud and brings it into the house. Neighbors say he crys and barks. When he was little, he ate the Berber carpet, an easy chair, and the gate at the top of the stairs!  My son has tried Kong treats, radio, no eye contact, etc.  He really does need to get this under control.  I'm helping him do research.

Thanks, everybody, for all of your thoughtful suggestions!!!