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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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worried that separation anxiety has developed

Following handy advice in another thread, I downloaded the iCam app last night and am listening to Sheldon whine today on my iPhone while I'm at work. I'm a nervous wreck!

He howled (an ear-piercing cry, not just whining) non-stop for 70 minutes after I left. Since then, he takes short breaks, then goes at it again. There hasn't been more than 10 minutes of relative quiet since I left for work.

This is despite a pen full of treats, toys, and chews. Radio on in the background, fan providing white noise, a towel with my scent in his crate.

I live in a condo with a neighbor who doesn't like dogs, so I'm worried about the ramifications of Sheldon's behavior.

I've been working with him, leaving him in the pen for periods when I'm home, ignoring him when he whines and occasionally paying attention when he's quiet. I had a dog trainer come over, and we went through lots of fun things we could leave for him in the pen, but he is not very food motivated. He shows a little interest in the supposedly high value stinky treats when I'm there, but none at all when I'm not in the same room.

At 16 weeks he'll be eligible for doggie day care, so that might help a little. Any other suggestions for dealing with what seems to be separation anxiety?
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 03:53 PM
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Is there any way you can take some time off work and gradually build up to leaving him home all day? I don't know if that's realistic for your schedule, but that's how I was able to do it. She had nonstop attention the first week, then a little alone time bit by bit. She still doesn't spend the whole day alone - a walker comes every day at lunch and spends half an hour with her.

I also prepare two baby kongs every day for her and she only gets them when she's home alone. She gets the first one when I leave in the morning (hubby leaves an hour before me), and the second one when the walker leaves. They're filled with part of her breakfast kibble and a little something to hold it together like mashed banana, water, yogurt, pumpkin puree, etc. But the key part is that I always drop a piece of freeze-dried beef liver in the tip before filling with the kibble mix. She will do anything for freeze-drief beef liver. She gets really excited when she sees me packing up to go because she figured out that the kong is coming next. She will go wait by the fridge for me to get it out and then ignore me once I give it to her. But I also ignore her when I leave the house other than a quick verbal goodbye. Without the excitement of the kong, she would not be okay with us leaving her.

Zelda initially didn't seem all that food-motivated either (with the exception of freeze-dried beef liver), but it really spiked after we'd had her for a few weeks, and especially after she came to expect the kongs.

Oh, she also goes for a walk every morning and spends at least two hours with me before I leave the house. She's usually ready for a nap by the time I have to go.

I hope that helps!


Zelda Violet, born March 2013
Mom: Katherine
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 03:53 PM
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I feel your pain. Have you tried a Kong filled with turkey? that keeps them busy for a long time. I learned through trial and error with our dog. You really need to take it slow and be patient. It will pay off in the end.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your suggestions - especially coming with the hint that it might get better!

I have been using vacation to work just half days since Sheldon arrived. I've been wearing him out with a long walk before I leave, and I've been leaving stuffed kongs - with the freeze dried liver stuffed in the tip, thanks to Ian Dunbar's helpful pamphlet. What I haven't done, though, is skip breakfast - i've been using the kongs as "lunch". Maybe I'll try leaving him tomorrow without feeding him anything first.

I even left him a raw beef marrow bone! Watching him on the webcan today, he cried straight for 70 minutes, then intermittently for about an hour and a half, then slept for an hour, then starting crying again. He never touched his treats or toys. What kind of dog ignores a marrow bone?!

As soon as I get home, I wait until he quiets before acknowledging him. Then I let him out, he gets a little Mommy time, then he's happy to jump into his pen to ferret out treats.

Thanks for the empathy. I'll try the starvation tactic and continue working on exercises of leaving him for short durations.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 04:24 PM
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It sounds like you're doing all the right things! I bet things will get easier over time. The crying must be so hard to watch.


Zelda Violet, born March 2013
Mom: Katherine
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 08:16 PM
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Poor baby he wants his mom I must have bought the wrong kind of kong because the sisters couldn't get anything out of it. Then I didn't like the mess cleaning it out. I got maddie at a very young age and was able to stay home the first week. After that I only had to leave her for about two hours at a time. Zoey came only three months later. Zoe never cried at all because she had Maddie. Now I have to leave them for about 10 hours at a time and they seem fine. I have a friend who comes by and lets them out about half way thru the day. I've often wondered if a puppy would like a kitten as a friend? I bet that was hard to hear him cry for so long. I give a treat before I leave for work and leave a radio on. To be perfectly honest having two really makes me not feel bad about leaving them for that long. I'm sorry it would be hard having neighbors that you also have to worry about. Is their any young kids around home for the summer that might come by to play?

Maddie at 5mo old
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 09:04 PM
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Sounds like what Lucy is going through now at almost 12 weeks. I feel your pain DebW! I don't know how long Lucy cries when Im gone, but I know when I'm in the house and I leave her in her crate or pen and walk away she has a fit for a very long time. Everything you said sounds just like my pup and what I've tried so far. I go back to work full time in August and praying I don't get evicted with all this panicky crying and barking!

How do you use the iCam app? I'm intrigued to spy on her while I'm out. I have an ipad I can set up and watch through my phone while I'm away. Or do you need a laptop to use it? Tips provided by the members are very helpful. Thank you!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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The app is called iCam - only $5 and easy to use. But you need a laptop (or similar) to function as the webcam, then you use your iPhone or iPad to watch from afar. Works great.

It is indeed heart rendering. Let's share any small successes we achieve. And Suzi, I contacted a teenager in my building who might be willing to come by at lunch, at least during the summer. We'll see! I slid an apologetic letter under my neighbors door.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 11:14 PM
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Icam is great, but sometimes you almost wish you didn't know . Sheldon is just a baby, so hopefully, it will get better soon. It sounds like you are doing all the right things to try to help him.


**Karen, Mom to Brady, Dugan, and Devon
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2013, 11:36 PM
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I'm new here and am thinking about getting a Hav. I'd like to know if separation anxiety is prevalent in the Hav Breed? Could this be prevented if the puppies were left with the mother longer - say until 12-14 weeks old?
I'm interested in learning all I can about Hav's.
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