Separation anxiety in dogs

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Separation anxiety in dogs

Postby penguin » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:55 pm

Hi ladies,

We've just had a new dog about 2 weeks ago.hes 7 years old and is a rescue dog.hes a lovely soppy boy but seems to have separation anxiety. He keeps weeing when we go out for longer than an hour or so. I know it's early days and we are being tolerant cos he is bound to be unsettled at the moment but just wondering if there's anyone who has experience of this? And is there anythingwe can do to help him feel more secure? It makes us feel so sad that he's feeling like this.

Thanks :) xxx
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Postby Hols969 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:54 am

What about a security blanket, like an old cardi of yours that smells of you?

Poor dog, he must feel very insecure at the mo and it may just improve with time anyway.
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Postby wellington » Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:11 pm

Poor mite - you just never know what they've been though. He's terrified you'll leave him again!

I would get another dog. They will be company for each other while you are and play together. It's no more work to look after two dogs than one, and they get so much out of having a friend. You'd have to be careful choosing a companion, but it would be worth it. They just aren't good at being on their own, imho.

Make sure he's really tired out - loads of walks and games for him. Tired dogs are happy dogs and dogs with excess energy will find outlets for it! Another dog is brilliant for this.

Can you give him something to distract him - a treat ball or a chewy bone or something? Chewing is good, because it releases endorphins which make them feel better (pigs ears sound vile, but the dog will love you for ever)

Lots and lots of attention and play to reassure him that his new 'pack' is secure and will always be there, and always come back. Try to keep outings short for now so he can adjust.

A 'safe space' for him - ours love their crate, which is draped with blankets to make it dark and cosy, and they also love the bathroom, and go there if they are scared. Many dogs are happier in a smaller space, and you might find it helps him get into the habit of being dry because they won't mess in it.

We also leave a light and the radio on for ours when we are out. They never update us on the news though, silly things!
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Postby penguin » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:04 pm

Thanks for the replies ladies :)

Holy-that's a good idea, I'll dig out an old t shirt and sleep in it over the weekend and then put it in his bed for him.

Wellington- thanks for such a detailed reply :) another dog isn't really an option, much as I would love two my dad just won't. We're giving him lots of reassurance when we are home. He's got chew toys and I think they work for a bit but then he realises he's alone.We're thinking about a crate but going to wait a bit longer and see if we can avoid it. I think your point about exercise is really good, we will have to try and give him longer walks in the mornings. Will try leaving a light on too.

He had to go to the vet today (conjunctivitis which doesn't seem to be bothering him luckily) and she was helpful. She gave us some dog appeasing pheromone tablets and recommends we get a room diffuser. Does anyone have experience of these? Do they help?

Thanks v much for all your help already :)
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Postby joeyrella » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:47 pm

Do you lock him in one part of the house? I did that with my first dog, turns out he felt safer in the front room so try trusting him to pick his own 'safe' place.
Duke was really bad at first, he used to destroy everything when we left him, including one time he was so wound up he shredded two towels, chewed the lino and pulled the door frame off the wall :shock:
What worked for us was waiting until he was relaxed then walking off and leaving him in one part of the house by himself. Quite quickly he was alright being in the living room if we were in the kitchen for example. Then we progressed to leaving him in the living room and calmly going outside the front door and standing outside for short periods i.e. one minute, then two minutes, five minutes etc until he built up to 10 minutes on his own. We practiced this a few times a day until he was fine with it. After two weeks of practice he seemed to know we were coming back and he didn't destroy anything after that.
I agree that lots of exercise means a more sleepy dog who has less energy to fret. Also, if your dog has peed in the house make sure you clean it with a proper pet stain cleaner which contains an ingredient that breaks down the urine enzymes, otherwise he will be able to smell it and will be encouraged to pee there again.
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Postby cath » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:28 pm

Yes was going to suggest dap, or adaptil as it is now. Does work very well although is fairly pricey. Make sure you don't throw the plug away as you can buy refills which are a lot cheaper than the whole thing.
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Postby hope07 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:29 am

R bless him. What type of dog is he? You'll have to post a picture :)

Re suggestions- do you leave the radio on for him?
Also is he in a crate? I only ask as some dogs like the security a crate provides. My dog lived hers and i used to put a towel over the top to makes it her space.
I would also maybe try giving him a stuffed kong while ur out to keep his mind busy-theyre are liads of suggestions on line for different stuffings.

Good luck x
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Postby petsnponies » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:28 am


This is a common problem in the kennels I run and I do use the DAP spray and feel it helps for nervous dogs.

Other things I do are - lots of exercise is a good stress reliever - leaving the radio on (always radio 4 as there is lots of talking) - a toy or a chew to distract - and not making too much fuss of them when leaving them, or coming back to them - this is important.

Another important thing is to not let him sleep with you at night - All the dogs we get in the kennels that are allowed to do this ALWAYS have seperation anxiety. Give him his own bed in a different room and stick it out until he uses it. A crate does make dogs feel more secure.

I think seperation anxiety is something that can take time to get better, although in the kennels it always seems to happen quite quickly. It is just something that needs to be stuck out. Don't get cross if he makes a mess just make sure you put him somewhere where its easy to clean up!

Also, don't feel sorry for him.I know this sounds harsh, but what he needs is a strong leader, someone to look up to and trust, which he's probably never had. We get alot of rescue dogs here some with 'issues' and we find that the owners think that just because they have had a bad life, that they will always be stuck with their problems and they just feel so bad for them that they never try to fix it, just work around the problem, mard over the dogs and it does nothing to help them. But I think its better to just forget about what happened to them in the past and concentrate on the here and now. He's got you now anyway so no need to feel sorry for him.

It took a good six months for my rescue dog to stop peeing in the house and chewing things up, and I did nothing special. We've had her 6 years now and she's the most confident dog ever. Eventually he will realise that you will always come back - it may just take some time.
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Postby **Fingerscrossed** » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:01 pm

Its really common for rescue dogs to struggle with separation anxiety and sometime its only something that time and patience can help.

It can also take a good few months, even up to a year for a dog to really settle in. Does he have any other symptoms of separation anxiety? As alot of dogs that have been kennelled can often forget house training so that might be another side of it.

Its a really good idea to get a crate, because it becomes their little den. Leave him with something that smells of you, and you can also do things like leave a radio or tv on so he can still hear voices. A good thing to leave him with is a stuffed kong that you have frozen - keeps them busy for ages! If you can also, try and take him for a walk before you leave him so he is more likely to sleep and always make sure he has been to the loo beforehand and leave just a bit of water.

Try and desensitize him to you leaving, so go for just short amounts of time and so he learns you leave and come back. Dont fuss over him before you go and dont fuss over him for a bit when you get back.
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Postby penguin » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:59 pm

Wow thanks for all the replies :)

Joeyrella, we let him have almost free reign of the house, just shut my bedroom and spare bedroom doors, but he tends to settle in the hallway a lot. The tip about leaving and coming back soon sounds really good, we've been trying that this weekend, he didn't wee today on his own, but that was only an hour or so, we shall see how he goes tomorrow.

Cath-that's v encouraging about the dap, and thanks for the tip about the refills :)

Hope-he's a soft-coated wheaten terrier.hes very fluffy and looks a bit like a mini labradoodle, I'll post a pic when I can upload one. Thanks for the tip on the crate, I didn't realise how popular they were but the replies all seem to rate them.all the other dogs we've had haven't had them, but maybe it would help this one. We're going to play it by ear over th next week or so but may be investing in one soon!

Petsnponies- he does sleep in my parents room yes, perhaps that's something we need to change. I think we just let him do that because we felt sorry for him. Hopefully if we get him a crate he might rather sleep there. It's good to hear your success story too. As you say it may just take time and to be expected to some degree. Our last dog just came home, sniffed about and it was like he had always been here-we were very lucky!

Fingers crossed-that's an interesting point about the house training. He does hold it overnight though, and has never weed during the day when I've been here and it's been a while since I took him out. But maybe he forgets when he's on his own?ill try leaving a little bit less water and see how we go with that.

Thanks again, you've given me some really good ideas and reassurance.ill post a picture when I figure out how :)
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Postby Debbs » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:09 pm

Another one in favour of the DAP plugs. We use them for the fireworks and they are fab.

Hope prob gets sorted soon

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Postby penguin » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:09 pm

Thanks Debbs!

He seems to be doing a lot better at the moment, really hope he does ok again this week!

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