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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Separation Anxiety

Pebbles suffers from severe separation anxiety. When I am home she not only follows me room to room she has to be in that room with me or she stays behind the door crying .
I don't work and I am seldom away from home but when I am, I leave her with either my son or my husband. IF I am gone ten minutes or ten hours she will cry and howl the entire time without stopping. She goes door to door and room to room looking for me and howling. There is no way to comfort her they told me. My husband picks her up and holds and carries her in his arms around the house and that just slightly calms her for a few minutes.
She has never ever been left alone. she sleeps in our room in her cage with her bed because if I didn't close the door of the large cage, she would be on our bed.
Any of your guys or gals have this problem? Pebbles has a few issues lol
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 05:16 PM
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A lot of people's havs have the separation anxiety you're speaking about, especially if they get the puppies very young. I'm sure you'll hear from them shortly. The only thing I will tell you is, it will change. You'll hear many tips to help you out. Try not to stress too much about it, when she feels safe, it will get better.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 05:33 PM
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Geri is right, we do have some members that have delt with this, I think one of the things I always remember everyone saying is it always seems to get better with age also.

Leeann, Riley, Monte & Rumor

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 05:33 PM
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I am sorry to hear about Pebble's separation anxiety. My Lizzie is 5 1/2 months and she whines when I am not in the room. My breeder told me to ignore her and not coddle her. I give her a firm "NO Whining" command, as soon as she stops and is quiet even for a couple of seconds, I praise her. It seems to be working lately. She is the most distressed when all three of us - Benji (my 13 month Hav), DH and myself are not in sight. I have not yet figure out how to deal with this.

Here's what I did with Benji when he was a puppy and the only furbaby at our home. I started to leave him on his own starting with just a minute or two. I followed a fixed routine that I have prior to leaving the house; picking up my purse, car keys, exiting through the same door, opening the garage door etc. When leaving, I picked up key words that I repeated: "I will be back soon, be a good boy. Sleep, sleep". I repeated it a few times before I left. I also left a couple of treats in his ex-pen. I gradually increased the time I left, first 10 minutes, 30 min, an hour, so and so forth. When I got back, I put away my purse, key and then greeted him. It worked really well.

I am sure you will get some great ideas from others. Wish you and Pebbles goodluck! BTW, no matter how old they are, get ready for the furbabies to follow you everywhere in the house. And I mean everywhere! You have now 2 shadows...

Best, Poornima
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 06:05 PM
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Hi Roe try isolating your dog in a confined area with a chew toy or kong where she can amuse herself. Do this periodically when you are at home so she learns to entertain herself . Generally dogs especially puppies that have unrestricted access to you at all times can become too dependent on you and develop separation problems. Remember dogs are social animals its in their nature to want to be with us. When you do go away make it a non event just leave without eye contact or talking and when you arrive home do not suck her up right away. Its hard not to acknowledge them enthusiastically when you come in but if you do you are just reinforcing their insecurity. Good luck.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-11-2008, 06:35 PM
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my little guy had developed SA this summer. here's what i did and it works. the dog needs to associate you leaving with a key word. when he hears this word such as guard the house, he knows you will always return. leave for a few minutes and come back. do this a tone of times during the day. increasing the time over the week. slowly, he will understand that when you leave, you return.. also, put a smelly t shirt on his pillow so that when you leave he has something to remind him of you. also, and this works wonders, i per my trainers suggestion, purchased comfort zone with DAP, it plus into an outlet in the kitchen where he hangs out when i am gone. it calms them, it omits phermones that remind them of their moms. i keep it plugged in all the time. we have over come our SA issues but the comfort zone is plugged in, the smelly t shirt is still on his pillow and i always say guard the house. be patient, it's a difficult time but it will get better. i promise. don't get frustrated. also, what works for me is i tell my dog where i am going and why he can't come. i think this helps calm me, which my dog picks up on and calms him. also, leave the radio on while your gone. does he have a kong to play with, that takes up some time. usually, SA hits the first 20 minutes. my dog use to howl and cry for 3 hours. it was awful. he needs to stay busy when you are gone. walk him to poop him out and give him a special treat that he only gets when you leave and return. hope this helps.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-12-2008, 02:26 PM
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Tessa is the same way and we got her at nearly 4 mo of age. In the beginning she'd cry and howl and get frantic if I was out of her sight. Now she just whines a bit I do allow her to follow me around the house, I wanted a companion dog and I'm OK with I get to keep an eye on her so it's all good!

She used to cry in the crate too but I began feeding her meals in the crate plus when I was home I would put the crate next to me with her in it and occasionally give her a treat telling her what a good dog she was (this only worked if I was sitting next to her, not if I was moving around the room) . Now anytime I put her in the crate (bedtime and when I have to leave) I give her a small piece of chicken liver. This is the only time she gets the yummy liver so she began associating her crate with something good.

Tessa also sleeps in our room in a crate.

I also say "I'll be back" in a very matter of fact voice when I leave. I also say this if I have to go upstairs where she isn't allowed yet. She still whines a bit if I go up there briefly (like to get something...I never go up there for an extended time and leave her downstairs) but she no longer panics. She no longer cries in her crate when I leave.

It has gotten much better with time (we've had her for 2 months). She still prefers me and always will. I'm now used to having a partner when I go to the bathroom, shower, etc, lol! If my DH is home with her while I'm gone she will now play with him but then she will go to the door I left from and sleep on the rug until I return. But she no longer cries so that's progress. If we're both home she will stop whatever she's doing, even if it was playing with DH, and follow me if I get up and leave the room.

That part I can live with and we just let her follow me. I was most upset about the crying and howling if I left her...after all, I have to sometimes leave the house!

I spoke with an animal behaviorist about this and this is what she told me to do: tether her to a chair, doorknob, whatever, or crate her (we did this exercise with both), and say your key word or phrase you will repeat every time you leave. Leave the room and as soon as she begins to whine whip around and very sternly "shush" her. This startled her enough to stop whining, even if for just a second, then praise and treat. Gradually increase the time away and be sure to praise and treat for her silence even if it is just for a few seconds. Keep coming back and eventually they learn you WILL return.

I tried the chewies or kongs but she won't have anything to do with them if we're not home. I do take her out of her crate as soon as I get home but I don't make a huge deal over it.

I don't know, one day it just clicked and she just realized that if she goes to her crate during the day I will come back and it's OK. She usually naps while I'm gone so maybe she likes it, she's usually too busy following me around to sleep for long during the day, lol! And as I said, I just let her follow me around if I'm home. We do try extra hard with bonding time with DH. If we walk her DH sometimes takes the leash and even though she'd rather be beside me we don't give in and we tell her what a good dog she is, he has special games only he plays with her (usually roughhousing which she loves), he feeds her when he's home, brushes her, takes her potty (although at first I had to go out with both of them, now he can take her alone)...etc.

Sorry this is so long.....Good luck and believe me, it will get better, just hang in there!
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-12-2008, 02:48 PM
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I am one of those folks that has been through some intense SA w/ my dog. I will say, it *does* get better, but I think that is mostly to her figuring out that I DO always come home!

Like you, I'm with Gucci 99% of the time, and I don't know if that is part of the problem, she's never really away from me unless I go to the store or a doctor's appt. She has gotten alot better...she won't whine anymore, but she will still SIT at the front door and look out the glass and wait for me, she won't MOVE. (I've filmed her a few times)

However, Last night..I went to 16 yo son's swim meet and I sent my daughter to go get pizza and come home and feed my husband and kids when they got home after work and brought home my stepkids...well, apparently my husband told me that Gucci was 'inconsolable' that I wasn't home. Apparently, she didn't understand why everyone else was here on a Friday night, but not me and DS. He said she was whimpering and kept going to the front door and crying for me Perhaps that setback was just because it was an unusual time for me to be gone?? IDK.

Sometimes, I'll bring her home a treat or a toy, and we always go straight outside to potty. I've done many of the things mentioned above, and had some success! It feels corny to explain to dog where I'm going and when I'll be back, LOL...but maybe some part of her understands.

I just think some Havs are more prone to SA than others, and I know Gucci is VERY attached to me, and acts much like Jan's Tessa...she will make sure she knows what I'm doing all the time and/or will follow me.

I think putting others onboard w/ treating, training..taking her outside helped some too! I guess last night was the exception, she wouldn't even stop her whining for pizza! lol, or so my husband told me. *sigh*

Hang in there!
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-12-2008, 03:37 PM
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Hi Roe,

I think my Casper had separation anxiety as bad as it comes...I think I made it worst by not trying harder to leave him by himself when he was younger. I could take him to work with me, so I did and the next thing I know he was 6 months old and never by himself and by then he was really throwing a big fit when left home alone... and I was getting him babysitters or I mean doggie sitters when we went out.

So a couple of things...

I learned start leaving them at a early age. They won't like it, if it looks like they are too upset when you get home....visit the vet and get some advice.

Do it for short periods and work up to longer periods

Leave them with tv or radio on

Leave them in a place in the home where they spend alot of time and are comforable with.

I always leave him with a treat usually in a Kong

Casper likes to be left by a window to see out....I don't know if all dogs are that way.

Oh ya....I did get another havanese to keep him company. That helped out alot.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-12-2008, 03:42 PM
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Oh...I forgot an important thing, the need to have exercise to make them tried,long walk or fetch in the house...really helps.
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