Jump to content

Separation Anxiety (pet section)
How do I make it better?


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:33 AM

Bickie is very much "my" dog, despite the fact we bought her for the kids. She clearly sees me as pack leader, and that's fine because I pretty much am.

But her separation anxiety if i leave is getting worse. I'm making sure to change the routine around, give her kongs/toys/chews to play with when I go, don't make a fuss of leaving, ignore her when I get home until she settles down etc. The longest she's been left on her own is about an hour to an hour and a half, but that's only been a few times. When I took DS4 up to daycare this morning (leaving DH and the other 3 boys here) she apparently freaked. DH spent the whole time sitting in the dining room with her (despite me telling him not to) because he was worried she was going to hurt herself otherwise. She was too manic to go into the lounge with the other kids (so far she's only allowed in there to sleep at night and when she's calm during the day) and went berserk if he walked out of the room, even though she could see him through the baby gate.

When I'm home, she'll happily hang out and sleep outside the back door during the day or in the dining room while the kids and I are in the lounge room and doing something that we can't do with her in the room or eating etc. But if she sees me pick up a bag or hears keys clink, she flips. Anyone else does it, and she doesn't care. It's only me she's over-attached to.

I'm buying her a crate next week, but I'm not sure what to do about the fixation with me. Any ideas?

#2 ChexMix

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

If Bickie is at risk of hurting herself or others, a good trainer or veterinary behaviourist (especially if medication is indicated) is the best option.

In the mean time, you could work on breaking the association between keys/bag and going out. Pick up the keys everytime you walk past them, jingle them, then put them back without going out. If you wanted to speed up the process, throw her a treat when you pick up the keys too, to short-circuit that immediate panic response that keys = bad thing is about to happen.

You can also start to build up very short absences and associate them with good things. Give her a kong with peanut butter, a bone or a pig's ear then walk out the front door for a couple of seconds, then come back in. Slowly build up the time you are out and try not to let her practice the panic behaviour - even if you can only touch the door handle to start then work up from there.

Licking and sucking release serotonin in the brain, so kongs or frozen treats are perfect for SA dogs. Also, corn in the diet can affect serotonin processing in some dogs so eliminating that from her diet is a good precaution.

Best of luck with your girl original.gif

#3 ChexMix

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:41 PM

Dr Karen Overall's relaxation protocol can also help with general anxiety including separation distress, it's a 14-day program to teach a dog to chill out where it's been placed, which someone has kindly put into mp3 format - http://championofmyheart.com/relaxation-protocol-mp3-files/

(there are more good tips at the bottom of this article - http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/11...ty_16044-1.html )

Edited by kiddies-n-kelpies, 02 January 2013 - 12:46 PM.


#4 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:42 PM

Hi Karla,

I will come back later with more detailed suggestions, but can I suggest that the very first thing you work on is developing some attachment to other members of the household? First, have everyone else pick up feeding and treat duties, and get them to take Bickie for a walk without you.

How far have you progressed with her obedience work so far? (it will help me work out some things the family can do to ease her stress)

#5 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

Thanks girls original.gif

K'n'K - your first post is pretty much what I've been doing. I'm even leaving handbags and shopping bags around and just moving them to different rooms, putting them in cupboards etc just to break the association with bag = leaving, but it's not working. She starts getting anxious as soon as I touch one, even if we're in different rooms! I'll check out that link though. Thanks!

Spikey - her obedience is great, with me. Not so good with anyone else. She sits, stays, comes, drops, doesn't eat from her bowl until I tell her, gives (not so good on this, even with treats) and fetches. She really doesn't get the lead yet - it doesn't bother her, but she hasn't figured she needs to walk next to me. She hasn't had her third puppy vx yet ( due next week) so can't go out for walks until then.  The kids are too young to be with her unsupervised and DH goes back to work full-time in the office next week (he's only been working part time from home while the office is closed for Xmas). We've only made 1 puppy preschool class so far as she got kennel cough from it. sad.gif So she's not feeling 100% at the moment, but the SA is extreme this week (since I left her with DH overnight on NYE).

I've ordered the crate, but won't have it for at least a week or two.

Edited because I had too many "yet"s in there.

Edited by ~Karla~, 02 January 2013 - 01:52 PM.


#6 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:26 PM

Taa Karla,

I will have a think about it and get back to you - I have some major work to do, so it may be later tonight or tomorrow.

#7 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

Thanks Spikey. original.gif I appreciate it.

#8 madmother

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

Hah - do you have my dog?


Elvis is a houdini and totally freaks if left alone. We HAVE had the behavioural specialist out already ($150 but she was/is great - and the fee includes follow ups) as he has totally bonded to me  - so much so that I call him my Aspie dog - he is as obsessed with me as Boy 1 was during his younger years, lol. But he is 6 and has been abused so we are trying to remove the bad habits (he has been trained in many ways, just the recent life undid a bit).

It is improving but we are on holidays with the dogs atm and all 3 dogs are a bit antsy.

How old is he? We are giving all 3 Rescue Remedy which helps a lot. We also do reward training - food based mainly.

I think we need to look at a crate - where did you get yours from, may I ask?

#9 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:30 PM

Ha ha, it is very similar to that autistic fixation my boys had with me too!

She's only a baby still - about 15 weeks. She's a rescue, but she was never shown any unkindness - her mum was picked up by the pound heavily pregnant and the pups were whelped and raised in a foster carers home. Her mum had such a sweet, gentle nature that I contemplated taking her instead, but she was a bit too old for what we wanted and had a few health issues.

I bought the crate online and am getting it shipped up from Sydney - I wanted one with a metal tray as she chews EVERYTHING and I don't want to have to keep buying new plastic trays. It was cheaper for me to get one couriered up here than buy one locally.

#10 madmother

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:08 PM

Link? We are in the same state...

Oh, and this dog has torn all the metal sheets off the dog run, then ripped the dog wire off the gate (which had heavy galvanised nails into a heavy timber frame) to escape to get to me. Not mentioning the damage to the western red cedar front door he gouged a couple of centimetres into...  huh.gif

#11 Jellyblush

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:22 PM

Hi Karla. This very tough, luckily there's some great advice to be found in this section from Spikey and others.

Here's a link to a couple of threads I've posted on exactly this in case you find them useful for answers:

http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/forums/ind...aration+anxiety

I have done all the de-coupling things you are doing and they had little effect on Roo. Things that did help were: switching to high quality raw diet, I freeze all her food and feed on departure (the behaviourist I saw told me that anxiety sets in within the first 30 minutes from departure so if you can postpone it this long you're in a good position as it may not set in - trying to get into the frozen meat can take this long), also I switched her exercise up so we now run for an hour before I go anywhere, plus she is taking Trazodone for her anxiety as needed. We did try reconcile and it did have an effect but left her zonked all the time which for me ultimately wasn't worth it.  Toys like tug-a-jug etc are great too. I also moved house to one that was more secure.

If you are in Victoria pm me for the name of an excellent behaviourist.

#12 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:26 PM

Sorry - http://petandgarden.com.au/bono-fido-dog-c...etal-trays.html

That was the cheapest I found one with a metal tray that didn't have a heap of negative reviews.

I ordered the biggest one and it cost me $160 including shipping. From memory, your boy is smaller than a lab though isn't he? So you'd probably be able to get away with the smaller one.

Bickie hasn't got to the same extreme as your dog yet, but I am nervous about what she will do when shes bigger if I don't fix this behaviour now (not that she'll be alone much, given that we want to train her to have public access).


#13 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

Sorry jellyblush, we were posting at the same time.

Sadly, raw meat is out for now as my twins keep putting her toys in their mouth and I'm worried they'll get sick while she's eating raw. Once they stop doing it (they are both autistic), I'll switch her back over to high quality raw diet. I'm thinking I could freeze cooked meat though and give that to her though for a similar effect?

We have some kongs etc and I've looked at the tug-a-jug, but haven't got one yet. Once she has her next vx, we can start taking her for walks and I plan on a walk and swim in the morning (we live right near the beach) and another walk at night. Given her age and breed and the fact that her parents' orthopaedic history is unknown, we won't be running her for at least a year. But I hope the swimming will wear out as much as a run would.

Our yard is pretty secure and DH and DS1 are going to build her a dog house to use as her den for outside (so I don't have to keep moving the crate in and out every day once we get it). I'm in QLD, not Vic, but thank you for the offer. We're not at the point of needing medication, but I can see this is going to become a huge problem if we don't sort it now.

#14 madmother

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:20 PM

www.dogworx.com.au

Sandy is great should it come to needing an expert.  original.gif



#15 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:41 PM

Hi Karla,

Sorry for the delay. I've been in and out a gazillion times. I think that some of the advice I gave to jellyblush is very applicable to your circumstance. It seems to me that this could be part of her age related development, along with some anxiety.

QUOTE
If you're still up for some more work on training, the next logical step for you to take is to practice 'leaving', and rewarding her for good behaviour when you return. Similar to what you did with the bathroom, just through the front door instead.

A baby monitor or something similar would let you know what level of noise was going on, so you could 'spy' on her actual behaviour.

I'd start literally with telling her to down/stay, walking out the door, closing it, then straight back in. Do it a dozen times, so she knows what's coming. Once she's 'got it', she'll be waiting for you - and hopefully there will be a quiet moment in there. If she's quiet, reward her. The extend the time you spend outside, 30 seconds, then 1 minute, and so on. If she breaks, drop the time down a notch, and keep repeating.


I also think you need to get into socialising her and training her in a group session - so have a look at when your nearest obedience club starts up again. It will build her confidence, and you can use other people to help with that process, and also get her used to the idea that is required to behave all of the time.

Back after dinner with stage 2!

#16 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:37 AM

Thanks Spikey! I will definitely start doing that. As for the socialization, the poor little girl has kennel cough and is getting sicker, not better. sad.gif We're back at the vets today for a change of meds, but she won't be able to socialize until she's all better (I'm very frustrated, watching this precious imprinting time slipping away, but what can I do?). The ironic thing is the only place I have taken her is puppy preschool (she's not fully vx'd yet so no walks around the block or anything), so she must have caught it from there. sad.gif

Jellyblush, how is Roo going now?

#17 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:15 AM

Now that is annoying! Hope she recovers soon.

Don't worry too much about 'imprinting' time. It may be the easiest time, but dogs can successfully learn to socialise at any age - I've had a lot of dogs come through my classes that haven't been socialised, who 'learn' to play and behave with good doggy manners over a month or two. The ones with severe issues (often rescues) take longer, but we've had success with those as well.

I'll have a bit of a think about stage 2 in light of her KC problem. Shouldn't be too difficult to work around. biggrin.gif

#18 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:27 AM

Thanks Spikey, that makes me feel much better. She loves other dogs and all people, she's just too boisterous with them - which will take lots of time to settle down given her age and breed, I suspect.

#19 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:38 AM

Which reminds me of a game you can play with her. I used this on my Lab, to teach her to be less um, excitable.

Its based on the human game of statues. Basically, the owner jumps around and acts all silly, and encourages dog to be silly too. Then you use a word, such as "freeze!" and then go still and calm. When she goes still and calm too, she gets a treat. At first, it might take a while (and you can assist by suggesting "sit"). After a while, she'll stop quite quickly. Then you can ramp up how 'still', you want her to be.

Don't forget the dying doggy squeal can be used if she's bouncing on or at people. Labs hate it - they have sensitive ears. Mine gives me the "did you have to do that" look whenever I use it on another dog - after checking out to see if they've injured me (not usually, I detest dogs jumping on me, mouthing me, licking me excessively, etc, and the squeal is great for all of those things).

Also, if she's uncontrollable on the lead, consider using a head collar - the Infin8 ones from Black Dog are excellent - or a check chain. As Buttercup can get out of head collars (too smart by half), I use a check chain if necessary. Not that its necessary these days, she shadows me unless told otherwise.

Keep in mind that she's not going to be anything but a big puppy until she's about 2yo, so it will be a slower process at first. Once you're at that stage, she'll have a much better attention span, and you can really push her training. Mind you, Buttercup still thinks she's a puppy - she's the one who rolls around with our youngest dog, pretend fighting and being silly. At a mere 12yo. rolleyes.gif

#20 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

Ooh, that game sounds good for her. I'll definitely start playing that with her, and then get the kids to join in.

Regarding the dying doggy squeal, I'm hopeless at it. I'm way too self concious to do it loudly enough (my neighbours already think I'm nuts!). I suspect I have to learn to suck it up and do it anyway though because the "bah!" isn't cutting it.

#21 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:53 AM

If its any consolation, I don't have to do it loudly once a dog has worked it out - just the merest hint of a squeal has them covering their ears with their paws. wink.gif

#22 Guest_~Karla~_*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:51 PM

I guess I'll just have to put my big girl pants on and start practicing then. I'll admit I have saved your You Tube video on my phone and played it several times when she's being jumpy and bitey with the kids. blush.gif

#23 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

roll2.gif  roll2.gif  roll2.gif

Glad I could help. laughing2.gif




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

How a baby can survive alone for days on end

The baby found abandoned in a Sydney drain may have been alone for up to six days without being fed, leaving many asking how he could have survived.

When it begins to look a lot like Christmas

A child's excitement at Christmas time is a beautiful thing, but one dad ponders whether his toddler daughter is getting into the festive mood a bit too soon.

Hospital lets dads the experience some of the pain of childbirth

A new experience is radically altering men's views of childbirth.

Italian doctors questioned over formula bribes

Italian police have placed 12 doctors under house arrest on suspicion of promoting baby milk formula over breastfeeding.

Heartwarming prank gives single mum the house she was hired to clean

Cara Simmons arrived at work to clean a large and beautiful house in time for a party planned for that evening. It was soon hers.

Those special moments of sibling bonding

Every now and then your child does or says something that is truly memorable.

Why we should stop telling new parents to 'enjoy every moment'

A few weeks ago, some dear friends of mine had their first baby. As the proud dad texted me a picture I had to fight the natural instinct to say “Enjoy every moment!”

Baby monitor footage posted online

Footage of Australian babies and children sleeping in their bedrooms are among the images on a Russian site showing live feeds from thousands of homes and businesses around the world.

Did this new dad really hit on his wife's midwife?

Was there really a man who was actually there by his wife’s side as she laboured and gave birth to his child, all while he was making what he perceived to be meaningful eye contact with a midwife?

Keep calm and ignore the Tantrum Trolls

Tantrum Trolls are a small but growing species of predatory bottom-feeders who delight in picking on parents at their most vulnerable.

It's okay to never 'get over' the death of a loved one

The death of children, siblings, and parents has long term impacts on the rest of our lives.

What Mark Latham needs to know about depression and motherhood

In a bizarre bid for relevancy, Former Opposition leader Mark Latham has deduced that because one female journalist had this week light-heartedly thanked antidepressants and caffeine for getting her through a medical degree while raising two small children, that ergo, all 'inner-city feminists' are selfish harridans who despise their offspring.

'We're just trying to keep our child alive': life with FPIES

We have a beautiful seven-month-old son, and his allergy rules our life.

Transgender dad breastfeeds his babies

A transgender man who breastfed his first baby - despite having his breasts removed as part of his transformation from female to male - has now had a second child.

Couple face $1 million medical bill and bankruptcy after babymoon birth

A Canadian couple were slammed with a million dollar medical bill after their daughter was prematurely during their babymoon.

Win one of 5 Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sport

Australia?s No 1 selling car is now available in a Sports model and we have 5 to give away to some lucky Essential Baby families.

Cigarettes, junk food dominate supermarket sales growth

One in every five dollars spent at supermarkets goes on cigarettes or junk food, according to industry data.

Teacher under fire for breastfeeding in class

There is no doubt mums have a right to continue breastfeeding after they have returned to work, but one teacher in the US has taken it to the extreme.

Video: Baby sniffs beardless dad to make sure it's him

She looks him up and down and then touches his chin, but baby Lindsey still isn't sure this clean-shaven man is her dad.

The tragedy of losing a favourite teddy bear

We were green and uninitiated, perhaps a little naïve when it came to the favourite toy responsibility.

It's possible to workout while pregnant

Medical experts say intense fitness routines can be done safely during pregnancy - if the mums-to-be follow some guidelines.

Baby for Asher Keddie and Vincent Fantauzzo

Fans followed every step of her on-screen pregnancy in Offspring, now Asher Keddie is going to be a mum in real life too.

What parents really want for their kids

Are our hopes, dreams and expectations for our children what they really need?

'I had a feeling something was seriously wrong': the fight for Kaden's diagnosis

Before even giving birth, Katie Myers' maternal instincts warned her something was wrong with her baby.

Win a family pass to Disney Live!

We have 4 family passes to give away to see Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales, touring Australia this December/January.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win one of 5 Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sport

Australia?s No 1 selling car is now available in a Sports model and we have 5 to give away to some lucky Essential Baby families.

Join PADDINGTON on the red carpet!

To celebrate the release of PADDINGTON, we are giving five lucky winners the chance to win a family pass to the exclusive Australian Premiere in Sydney on December 7!

When your pregnancy causes a relationship rift

Some dads-to-be don't miss a beat when their partner is pregnant; others struggle with a range of issues and can become withdrawn, right when their support is needed most.

Couple uses group photo trick to announce pregnancy to loved ones

Katharine and Kris Camilli devised a clever trick to immortalise their family and friends' reactions to their exciting pregnancy news.

Why Tracey Spicer has given up make-up

"After 30 years on television, I had become what I despised: a painted doll who spent an hour a day and close to $200 a week putting on a mask."

Knowing you are one of the lucky ones

I am secure, confident and strong, but the responsibility of protecting my children can almost bring me undone.

Why I am so emotional now I have kids?

There are so many ways in which parenthood changes us as women, but one of the most noticeable, for me, has been the changing state of my emotions.

Baby survives despite sharing womb with 'foreign body'

Baby Maia was conceived against the odds, only to find she was sharing a womb with an ominous "foreign body".

Video: Baby shows dog how to jump - or vice versa

They say dog is man's best friend, but this playful pooch seems to have chosen a jumping baby as her number one buddy.

10 ways to soothe a crying baby

New paernts can get frustrated when their newborn gets fussy and can't settle down. When you're feeling overwhelmed, try some of these simple tips to help soothe your baby.

20 baby names that are becoming more popular every year

The data-lovers at nameberry.com have been at it again – this time, they’ve discovered the names that are continually rising up the ranks, ready to take out some top spots in the next few years.

10 great meals to make for new parents

Ideally, you want to give food that isn’t expensive to make, isn't too difficult to create, and freezes well; stews, bakes, soups and pasta sauces are perfect.

'It's not you, it's me': Boston bombing survivor mum to have leg amputated

Rebekah DiMartino is going through a break-up. She even wrote a farewell love letter. But it's not to her husband.

What it's like to go through early menopause

In a cruel twist, Carla had been breastfeeding and perimenopausal at the same time. But she's far from the only one to go through menopause early.

Weird pregnancy products

Some pregnancy products come to market and are just awesome. Others just leave you scratching your head.

Restaurant served alcohol to two-year-old

Busy restaurants can be forgiven for getting food and drink orders mixed up from time to time, but not when the confusion leads to a two-year-old being served an alcoholic cocktail instead of the child-friendly beverage they ordered.

Julia Morris tells of miscarriage on a flight

Julia Morris has spoken about the devastation of suffering a miscarriage while on an international flight.

Woman's survival after birth 'a story of two miracles'

A US mother is home and tending to her new baby less than a month after surviving without a pulse for 45 minutes.

Best maternity swimwear and beach cover-ups

Thinking about a tropical babymoon but have nothing to wear? Here are some great swimwear and beach cover-up options for mums-to-be.

Duchess's letter to grieving mum

The Duchess of Cambridge has written to a grieving mum on a "very difficult" day.

 

How many weeks til Christmas?

On your To-Do list

Get the "Santa" shopping done without the kids in tow.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.