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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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New pup and separation anxiety...help!

Hi all

Sorry for the long post, but not sure what I should be doing...

I have finally got my puppy and he has been with us for almost 2 weeks. He is almost 13 weeks old. We have finally named him as well..Milo! We love him to bits. He is such a smart lil guy and has bonded with my OH and I extremely well. He loves his cuddles and likes to drape himself around our necks. He is my little shadow. But therein lies the problem. I am worried about separation anxiety. He hates being left alone.

If I go upstairs and leave him downstairs he will start whimpering and then start howling. It doesn't seem to stop. Anyone would think we were torturing him the way he carries on! lol

He doesn't like being crated so I leave him in a ex pen, to try and get him used to being on his own. The expen is within 5 steps from where I am, so he can still see me...but he still cries and tries to get out to get to me (Not as much as he used to though.) I ignore him while he cries and let him out of the cage when he stops.

I left him alone for the longest amount of time so far today... 1 and a half hours. When I came home I could still here him howling from the street! It almost broke my heart, poor little guy. I thought he would have stopped crying by then.

I made sure that I ignored him for 10 minutes before I left, gave him a treat, said I'd be back soon, and then I ignored him when I came back home for about 10 minutes. He is left in his expen with toys, chew toys, kong...but just ignores them when alone. I never make a fuss when I leave or come back. He has only been left alone three times now.

How long will pups usually cry for? I have been reading up on SA on the net... Some advise to build the incriments of time away from them, for example, I leave the house for, say, 10 minutes, then come back, and gradually build the incriments of time out of the house to get him desensitised to my leaving? Although, doesn't that mean that I come back to him when he is still crying, and thus, he thinks he can cry to get me to come to him? Not sure what I should be doing?

Apart from the SA and a few potty training issues, he has been perfect.

I hate seeing him so upset.


Jas
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 05:31 AM
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I feel your pain, I will be going through the same thing. My pup is 12 weeks old. I know one thing for sure is when I plan to leave for a lengthy time, he will be getting lots of EXERCISE, so it will tire him out so much that he will sleep.

If the increments of 10 minutes are not helping....go back to less than 10 minutes, to a minute...in and out.....in and out....build it up. Don't make the mistake I made and lock yourself out of the house accidentally!



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 05:35 AM
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Oh! Another thing, let the puppy play by himself when he is playing well by himself. Avoid the holding of the pup all the time.



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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 09:06 AM
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I am working on Separation Anxiety big time today! Dexter is soooooooooo pitiful with his cries, whimpering...................it is really hard to ignore.

I am working on the kitchen enclosure first. Dexter cries when he can see me in the Living Room. Poor thing..............



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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 11:21 AM
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Hi,

Something that I have used for separation anxiety and crate training is Bach Rescue Remedy. You can buy it in spray for immediate needs and drops for 'lace the water and mellow him out all day' needs. I use both, but...be careful about dose! You need to use only a small amount, it has grape alcohol.

It sounds like you know how to train a dog to be alone so I have no advice there but I can make one suggestion. Dogs can feel what we are feeling. If you are nervous or reluctant or if you have any trepidation about what is happening they know! They even know if you are in another room and nervous about what they are doing.

Before I had my kids I had my dogs and I was so 'in tune' with their 'needs and feelings' that they had BIG needs and feelings. Once I started having kids (3 in 4 years), their needs continued to be met but in a much more basic way. They became no longer my babies but my beloved dogs. Since then I have gotten 4 more dogs (3 havanese). These dogs are much more peaceful despite very little effort from me or any change in training philosophy. I adore them and they are loved and very well cared for but ... our house routine is important and they have to fit in with that. I don't feel bad for them when I leave them...they have a GREAT life as I am sure your pup does too!

Our dogs are nice, friendly, obedient dogs (well they still jump up and lick like CRAZY). But we kennel them (in the kitchen) and they stay there with no peep several times during the day for an hour or more at a time. The whole time I am not even thinking about them or feeling bad for them or counting the minutes that they have been there.

I guess what I am saying is...dogs are most comfortable when they are secure in their 'pack'. You are the pack leader and if you are confident and secure and not overly attentive to their 'feelings' (like a dog pack leader would not be) then they can settle into being a confident little dog that knows it's leader is strong, confident and in control (so they don't have to be worried).

Sorry... that went on and on. I just remember how much this consumed me with my first dogs

All the best in your quest...

Meeka
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 02:51 PM
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Overall I think you are doing everything right, and the advice given is good.

I have an 18 wk old puppy who still fusses terribly when left alone. But gradually it just seems to be getting better. He's fussing less and less. Your own anxiety is definitely conveyed to them. Continue to be firm and structured with him when he must be left or in the ex-pen. And yes, be sure he gets tons of exercise. A tired puppy gives up crying after awhile. Good luck, I totally understand your frustration!



HAV A GREAT DAY ! ~~AMY & BISCUIT~~
and HEATH-Y, TOO !
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone

It's so comforting to hear that others are in the same position.

Thanks everyone for your advice! I will make sure that he is exercised before I leave him and will try for 10 minute incriments and gradually build. Will also try to stop fussing so much.


Milo is making a bit more progress today. I can leave him in his expen and although he whines a bit, he is quitening down a lot quicker. He is also going outside by himself and getting a bit more used to being independent.

Thanks again.

Jas
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 08:35 AM
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I have a 2-yr-old with some seperation anxiety. Lina posted the information below in my thread on whining, but I couldn't figure out how to quote it. Anyway, it was great advice from Lina:

Here's a list of things that worked really well for me:

1. Before you leave, ignore your puppy for 20 minutes. That means no eye contact and no touching. This shows him that he can be apart from you while you're home and be happy. It might be hard at first because he might beg for attention. He will stop doing this eventually, though.

2. When you leave give him an extra special treat that he LOVES and ONLY gets when you are leaving home. Kubrick, for example, gets some boiled chicken and a piece of beef jerky. He gets so excited to get his treats, he's actually HAPPY that I'm leaving. You can also do this with a toy if you don't want to go the treat route. Kubrick, however, doesn't even touch his toys or chews while I'm gone, so you might find that to be the case.

3. Leave a shirt or pillowcase that you've slept in for a week or so in the crate with him. This will give the puppy your scent and will help soothe him while you're gone.

4. Leave the TV or radio on for background noise.

5. When you leave, use a key word. I always said Be Good. This will help him associate this word with you coming back.

6. When you come back, ignore him until he's completely calm. I know this is very hard, especially for the kids since they love to see an excited puppy. But it's better for him in the long run. By ignoring him until he's calm, you're showing him that it's OK for you to be out of the house, he doesn't need you around all the time and being calm gives him attention and love.

I hope some of these tips can help you. My vet and my trainer both told me to do these things and it helped Kubrick immensely! I haven't had him cry and/or bark when I leave in a really long time and you had to have seen what he was like before. He used to do the same thing, knock his water dish over, throw everything around and act very upset with lots of barking and crying.

And in your particular case, I will stress that the crate IS necessary for separation anxiety. It's not necessary for every dog, but a dog that has separation anxiety needs to be in a safe enclosed space. You have to get him used to the crate in small steps. Don't stick him in there for two hours while you're gone the first time, it will only make him nervous. I would start out by feeding him in the crate with the door open, this will help him associate the crate with a good place. Slowly, start to close the door, then lock the door while he's eating. Let him out the minute he is done. When he is comfortable eating in there with the door locked, start to put him in by giving him an extra special treat and locking the door. If he cries, ignore him. Don't leave him in there more than 5 minutes and make sure to be within eye sight the whole time. Don't let him out when he's crying, only let him out when he's quiet and make sure to praise him for being quiet as you let him out. Start to increase the time when you are still within eyesight. Once you see that he doesn't cry at all anymore, start to leave the room (not the house) in small time increments, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, so on and so forth. Eventually he will be fine in the crate.

I can't stress enough how important the crate is for dogs with separation anxiety. It's their safe haven. You can eventually (once he is used to being in the crate) put the crate in an expen and leave the door open with him in the pen. Until his separation anxiety is gone, you can't leave him that much space to roam, it will only make him even more anxious.


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