Dog Training World Forums Behavior Problems Dog Anxiety severe separation anxiety Re: severe separation anxiety

  • electric

    July 11, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Hi Teresa,

    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it!

    To clarify, I have problems understanding the triangle. I can view it fine. πŸ™‚ I am one of those people that learns best by being shown what to do in exact steps.

    1. She had no major issues when I originally adopted her, but did exhibit some anxiety behaviour like barking in the crate and chewing her bed for the first month or two. After that she was great. Within a few months I started fostering for a rescue and did not notice any further anxiety for about two years, then it came on gradually with mild thunderstorm anxiety at about age 4, some anxious behaviour like tail tucking, defensive barking at strangers, and gradually becoming more severe about three years ago when she began true thunderstorm and noise phobia and destroying my living room one evening while I was at work.

    2. She goes to the vet regularly for bloodwork and occasional urine tests to ensure she is healthy and nothing physical is causing her issues. More recently I believe she may be losing her sight or hearing (or both) but if she is, it’s in the early stages. The vet has found no physical problems.

    3. Most of the time I ignore her behaviours but I do admit that there have been nights where she was crated (when i had a foster I had to keep separated and it was her turn in the crate) and by 5 AM on a worknight I would get fed up and go yell at her to .. well.. stop it. I don’t do so well with no sleep. πŸ™‚ Aside from those 2 or 3 times, I have not punished her.

    4. Golden rules – can you explain more about how this applies to separation anxiety specifically? She’s anxious most of the time.

    5. She is not allowed on any furniture and has never been, and wasn’t allowed in my bedroom at all until 2008, (she only comes in the morning with my other dog to wake me up after my alarm goes off), is petted for praise/reward and also at night when we have T-Touch/grooming time, she is not often cuddled (especially as my other dog is much more affectionate) – she does not ask for attention, but likes to lie nearby wherever I am in the house; she is fed from a treat ball in her crate in the mornings and in her dish at night when I am ready to feed them, she has always naturally allowed me to walk through doors/stairs first. She does not pull on her leash when we walk. I hope I am doing things right! (my other dog – I am working on as he is not as naturally polite as her) πŸ™‚

    6. Restless spirit – I have been ensuring she gets at least 30 minutes of fetch/play each night unless it is really hot and muggy. I am working on training her to walk on a treadmill too. I hope that’s enough. She’s not a hyper/active dog – in fact if you met her you probably would not believe the destruction she is capable of as she seems so calm. It’s hard to know how much exercise is the right amount.

    7. Yes, she is very much housebroken and well behaved in the house – no elimination, (except a few times when she was crated and I was away, but I think that was done in panic), she does not beg for food, does not jump up, etc.

    8. I have been careful since day 1 not to have excited hellos and goodbyes. In fact before she was crated all the time she wouldn’t always even walk me to the door when I was leaving, and just stands calmly by the door when i come in (if a sitter is present), and I scratch her head and say hello then carry on with my day. (one of the reasons it took me so long to realise she had a problem!) If she has been in mid-panic attack then, she is a little more exuberant with her greetings but I ignore her then. She normally has a “safe” toy or treat ball with her when I leave. I have had to remove bedding, water pail, stuffed animals, etc from the crate though as there is potential for injury.

    9. She does treat her crate as a “bed” even though there is no bedding in it anymore. she will sleep in there during the day or evening when I am watching TV – as long as the door is open. On weekends I will feed her a treat ball and close the door and she is fine. I wait until she is finished and laying down (or sleeping) then let her out.

    I have not heard of the manners minder, I will look into that! Thanks for the help.

    You’re right about the drugs, although I do wish I had tried the Clomicalm sooner. I did speak to the vet and she said we could increase the dose of Clomicalm, but I’d like to do that in conjunction with some other training. The graduated leaving is very difficult because I do have to work. Right now I’m having the sitter come just after I leave so she is only alone for about a half hour, which she is OK with, but we can only keep this up for about another week.