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Old 12-19-2011, 03:24 AM   #1
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Post 1st time dog owner dealing with Separation Anxiety

So I think my title says it all.. I just joined DF and I'm in search for some help with curing my 2 yr old Rottie of separation anxiety.
So, let me tell you a little about Cory's story..

We got Cory from the local shelter 9 weeks ago, and since then it's been an ongoing battle with his separation anxiety. Cory is so sweet and great with people (not with other dogs..but he's in 'doggy cranky pants' class and is getting much better being around other furried friends). However, he hates being left alone. He whines, which turns into barking, which turns into howling. Eventually he tires himself out and goes to sleep, but not before peeing and upsetting the landlord living above us (and the neighbours)! Thankfully he isn't destructive and hasn't physically hurt himself. We have tried a number of things, alone and in combination.. We've read the book "Don't leave me!", recommended by many local dog trainers, and have implemented the behaviour modification steps (all of them! With food alterations, plenty of exercise to tire him out, puzzling toys filled with his favourite foods, desensitizing him to 'leaving cues', slowly increasing his time left at home, you name it!). We play "through a dogs ear" music (shown to help decrease anxiety) and he wears the "thunder shirt" which also has been shown to help calm dogs. He gets a run in the morning and a long walk in the evening, as well as being let out at lunch time. However, nothings worked. My fiance has switched to nights, while I work days, so we can gradually increase his time left alone, but cannot get him to stay calm and relaxed over 20 minutes!! We work with Cory every day, leave him alone for a little bit, but still no success yet.

We feel like we're failing him while upsetting people around us. At this point we don't know what to do, in two months my fiance goes away for work training out of province, and I will have to leave him alone while I'm at work..

We're tired, stressed, and desperately need help. We've looked into doggy daycare, but with his history of showing reactivity towards other dogs he's unable to go there. I'm heartbroken to think of what we would have to do if we're threatened with eviction by our landlord. In our minds, bringing him back to the shelter is NOT an option. Also, I'm a full time student and the costs of trying all these different products is really having its effect.

I've looked through many threads, but most of the suggestions are ones we've already tried, with no success. Any help or suggestions would be great!!

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Old 12-19-2011, 03:39 AM   #2
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Welcome Cory, glad that you have joined us and bless you for giving this dog a home! As you were doing your research did you come across "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell? I found it a wonderful resource and well-worth reading.


http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/pro...ration-anxiety


I'm looking forward to hearing more about Cory and hopefully seeing some pictures of him soon :-)
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Old 12-19-2011, 04:27 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. I really hope you find the answers you need to help Cory settle. Good luck.
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:13 AM   #4
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Hi Cory Welcome aboard to Df Good on you for rescuing Cory I am wondering if the SA is a past behaviour from his previous owners? He is now 2 so it's ingrained in his mind. I am at a loss as to what else you could try ( as you have tried most things) apart from ( it might be a late to try though) some old clothing with your body scent on and a ticking clock Try leaving some items of clothing in various rooms of your flat and some in his bedding area so when he goes to each part of the flat he will be able to 'smell' you this should reasure Cory that you haven't left him. Sorry I could help more. Good luck and let us know how you get on!
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Old 12-19-2011, 08:28 AM   #5
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The other thing i have been reading here is that your fiance has now changed to night working. So you could go back to basics well your fiance can for the moment. Baby steps and from the start leave the room for a few seconds and I mean a few secs do this daily and at various times thoughout the day keep this up for maybe upto a 1 month.
So it has time to embed it's self in Cory's head then gradualy increase the time you leave the room. and keep the number of times in the day that
your fiance leaves the room up. At no time must you fuss Cory either when she leaves or returns no eye contact nothing. Yes it sounds harsh but it could really help Cory adjust! You too can start doing this when you are at home too Good luck and let us know how you get on!
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:14 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you have done just about everything for Cory. My suggestion would have been doggie day care, but not if he has an aggression towards other dogs. Kudos to you for adopting Cory. He sounds like a great dog, except for the seperation anxiety. Bigboy had a great idea with placing your clothing around your flat. Please keep us updated, and again, welcome!

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Old 12-19-2011, 11:59 AM   #7
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Welcome to df! I hope things sort themselves out soon.
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:00 PM   #8
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Welcome! You sound like a really excellent committed dog owner, and you have done so much right. Separation Anxiety is not an easy fix, and sometimes rescue dogs can be challenging since they know what it is like to be abandoned and tend to bond hard and fast to a new owner. Sometimes just time will help, stick to all the protocols you are already doing and give him a chance to learn your routine and that you always return home. In addition I would consider talking to your vet about a course of anti-anxiety meds. These can increase the effect of the behaviour modification and desensitisation efforts you are already carrying out, and over time, most dogs can be weaned back off them gradually.

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Old 12-20-2011, 03:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGLI View Post


Welcome Cory, glad that you have joined us and bless you for giving this dog a home! As you were doing your research did you come across "I'll Be Home Soon" by Patricia McConnell? I found it a wonderful resource and well-worth reading.


I'll Be Home Soon-Dog Behavior Problem Solving Booklets at Patricia McConnell


I'm looking forward to hearing more about Cory and hopefully seeing some pictures of him soon :-)


Thanks JGLI, we'll look into that book and hopefully it'll have some helpful suggestions that we already haven't tried yet. And I'll get some pictures up of Cory when I figure out how to use this Forum

Last edited by JGLI; 12-20-2011 at 03:35 PM.. Reason: fixed quotes

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Old 12-20-2011, 03:21 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for all your suggestions!! We currently leave out articles of clothing (sweaters and even some workout clothes), and we have started from the basics and so far we've worked up to twenty minutes. He seems good up until that point, so we'll keep moving forward slowly.

We've been at this now for two months, so we're seeing our Vet in a couple of days and will talk about anti anxiety medication to help calm Cory. We were hoping not to resort to the meds, as I've read they can have some harsh effects.. But with any luck we'll get a foot hold on leaving him alone for longer periods and then we can slowly take him off the meds.

And thanks for all the warm welcomes I'll get some pictures up of Cory in the next week and keep you updated on what works for him.

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