Separation anxiety - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Separation anxiety

We have a 4 year old havanese named Izzy. Because we work at home, Izzy is very much attached to us. She is with us almost 24/7, except for a few shopping trips per week. During those instances she happily stays in here crate a few hours.
In May our daughter will graduate from law school, and we both would like to attend. Because we live about 6 hours away, we travel and stay in a motorhome when we visit our daughter. Thatís where the problem startsÖ.

Izzy loves traveling in the motorhome and staying in her crate, but only when at least one of us is with her. As soon as we both step outside, she has a fit. We cannot take her with us to the graduation ceremony, and will have to find a way for her to stay in her crate in the motorhome for a few hours.

I have tried training her to stay in her crate alone in the motorhome without much success (she did Canine good Citizen so sheís reasonably trained). She has 3 identical crates. one in our office, one in our bedroom for nighttime, and one in the rv. She stays in them without any problems, so it is not the crate.

Staying in the motorhome by herself with the door open and us outside is also fine. But as soon as we close the door she freaks out. Iíve tried leaving the radio or TV on, but without any luck. Our vet gave us anxiety drops for her (five flower, comparable to rescue remedy) but I am not sure thatís the way we need to go.

I am open to any suggestions or advice.
William
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 08:39 PM
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Is doggy daycare an option for you? perhaps with a friend? If we lived in your area, we would happily take Izzy for a day or two. Ricky is a ladies man!

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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I am afraid not...as soon as we're out of sight, she panics.
Her anxiety has gotten worse over the years. The first 2 years we did a lot of classes with a local dog trainer. Because we live outside town, we don't see many people. Izzy is fine with deer, moose, turkeys around the house, but people are a source of stress.

When we leave her alone at home (in her crate) she is fine...quite, she sleeps, etc., but the same situation outside her home is completely different, even in the motorhome, which is just as familiar as home.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 10:00 PM
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Since she does well alone in her crate at home, how would she do in her crate at your daughters place while you attend the ceremony instead of leaving her in the RV?
Is that an option?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately not... the issue is the separation. She gets really nervous when left alone outside her home situation. The only alternative to the sedative the vet suggested is a lot of exposure. As soon as the snow melts, we'll start practicing daily, leaving her in her crate in the rv for a short time (a minute or so) and then trying to increase it slowly. I hope this will work.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 03:13 AM
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if you haven't already tried it, one option to find out what is going on when you leave the RV is to set up a video that you can access via web interface (allows you to really leave and get far enough away). Sometimes the dog actually settles down and goes to sleep, but causes a ruckus when you are anywhere near and when you return. If you can watch Izzy on your cellphone, it might be an option to try.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzy's dad View Post
Unfortunately not... the issue is the separation. She gets really nervous when left alone outside her home situation. The only alternative to the sedative the vet suggested is a lot of exposure. As soon as the snow melts, we'll start practicing daily, leaving her in her crate in the rv for a short time (a minute or so) and then trying to increase it slowly. I hope this will work.
I think you already know the answer. ��

We also vacation in our travel trailer frequently, and our dogs have learned that it is just their "other house". Their behavior on the road is pretty much the same as at home... including being happy crated when we have to leave them alone ot go sight seeing, visiting, shopping, whatever. It eill most likely be a bit harder for you, because she already has a history of getting upset, but you can do it! Start as soon as you open up your RV in the spring, and practice for very short periods, several times a day. (Starting with 30 seconds at a time, if you have to). Eventually, she will learn that you WILL return and her anxiety should decrease.

While it won't SOLVE the problem, a DAP plug-in, that releases the same gentle, relaxing odors as Rescue Remedy or Five Flower might help too.

Once she is doing well in the RV, you might want to expand this training, and get her to understand that WHERE EVER her crate is, whether it is your house, the RV, or a friend's or relative's house, her crate is ALWAYS her "safe place". This will stand her in good stead if she ever needs to be hospitalized, or should you ever need to leave her with someone else for an urgent reason.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. We'll start training as soon as the snow is gone. I didn't know about dap plug-ins... we'll try it. It might help her to calm down.
We have a security carmera insde the rv. I'll turn it on and see if she calms down.

William
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 09:49 PM
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Hi Izzy,
This may or may not be helpful but we after we trained our Herschel to do down stay we started to train him to get used to us being out of sight. First for 2 seconds, then 5, 10, longer etc. Eventually we could be out of sight for a minute or two.

Then...we started to train him with a new command 'stay home'. We did the same process of leaving him for 5, 10, 15 seconds and rewarded him heavily when we returned because he was quietly lying down. Now when we give him the 'stay home' command he just goes into the kitchen and lies down while we get ready to leave.
If you're in Toronto our Herschel loves having friends over.

Michelle
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 11:19 PM
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I have a similar problem with my Sophie (very encouraged with Herschel's success story!) Sophie also has separation anxiety and unfortunately since I've never had a dog with it before, I didn't realize what a problem it would be early enough and delayed working on it. I work from home so am with her all of the time. I started working on it and unfortunately she ended up with IBD. So I wasn't able to work with her as any stress would make her scary sick. Now she is finally getting better after months of diet changes, herbs, supplements, lifestyle changes (I even got her her own dog for pete's sake!) so am starting the leaving for 30 seconds, etc. Athena the new girl has been really good for her. She's older rescue extremely calm and sweet.

Good luck I'd love to hear updates how it is going we could set goals together lol
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