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Old 06-29-2012, 08:41 PM   #1
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Hi there,

I already replied in the Introduction thread but I'd like to do one here too if that's ok. My name is Tanya, I am 25 years old and live in BC Canada. I have a 1.5 year old Pom/Shihtzu/Poodle mix who is my world. I live alone in an affordable housing bachelor unit on the 2nd floor of an apartment building. My sister bought our dog Bailey when she was 9 weeks old and she's been the best little dog we've ever had. She is very smart and she was easy to train, she learned all of her basic commands and even some tricks by 5 months old. She loves to play outside, whether its rolling in the grass and back walking on the grass (I have a video of her doing it, its the funniest thing), running after her ball using the awesome ChuckIt, going for walks, cuddling, playing with my cat, she loves everything....Except being left home alone.

Here's the back story on this. I am on disability and do not work a full time job because I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and possible Rheumatoid Arthritis with the diagnosis still in limbo with my doctors. My sister bought our dog as a companion for me and for her to have fun with. I spend A LOT of time at home because most days I am feeling really sick and sore. I also suffer from Depression and Anxiety, and I had NO idea that my problems could be sent right over to my little dog. Bailey grew up always being with me, pretty much never being alone, and now I have a big problem. I can't leave her home for any longer than 20 minutes or she starts barking. She is not bored, she is obsessed with me, I found this out by having her seen by my aunt who is a professional trainer. Bailey is so obsessed with me that she won't walk with anyone else unless she can still see me, otherwise she plants herself on the ground, flat, or she cries out and wants to run back to me.
I love having the dog with me, everywhere, as often as I can because she provides relief of my depression and my anxiety and I am able to function better in public or around others when she is with me. She keeps me out of the darkness and helps me go on each day, she is my motivation, without her I'd be worse off. I walk a dog for a 90 year old man as a part time job and I am able to bring Bailey with me. I can barely handle it as a job but my doctors wanted me to exercise so I found this to be a good way to make a little money and get exercise at the same time.

Now I need to fix her, and I worry so much that I am causing her even more anxiety when I try to leave her alone. I do not crate her because my place is already so small that I want her to be free when I am gone. I have read up A LOT about separation anxiety and I don't think she's too bad yet, but still bad. She does not destroy my home, she does not salivate excessively or self mutilate or anything like that, she just whines and barks about every 15 minutes or so. I have been recording her when I leave my suite to see what she does so I know for sure what goes on. She stays by my door and she whines, paces, barks, stops and is quite for a while, barks again, stops, whines, barks again, stops. I am glad that it is not constant, but I do not want her to bark AT ALL when I am gone. I told my landlords all about her and how much having her helps me, and that she has developed this problem and I am working to fix her. When she is with me she is very quiet, and she is crate trained but only for the night. She sleeps in her crate, I never let her sleep with me and she is silent all night long. I walk her 2 times a day for 45 minutes and one more time at night which is about 20 minutes. I play ball with her as much as I can and let her run as much as I can. She is definitely not under exercised, she is always on the move.
It's just when we are separated...All hell breaks loose. I have tried the Kong stuffed with treats, bones, toys, brain toys, toys to keep her occupied. She doesn't touch them at all until I come back home.

I am hoping to find some help on here and also to get some support through all of this. I will NOT give her up, and I don't see that happening by force but I still worry about it because that's what I do, I worry and my anxiety just drives me and it is exhausting. I am seeing a counselor and I take anti depressants but its still very hard to battle my anxiety.

Anyway this is long enough, thank you for reading.

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Old 06-29-2012, 10:12 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Hunniebun! I'm sure other members will have some good advice for you. I live in Canada too!
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:22 PM   #3
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Thank you. I read a thread about how to deal with separation anxiety but I still have so many questions.

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Old 06-29-2012, 10:23 PM   #4
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Hi Hunniebun and a massive welcome aboard to Df! That's dedication for you I am sorry to hear you now have a few problems with Bailey you wl crac this I can tl Hey there's nowt ( That's Nothing) wrong in getting some help and advice to help you with these problems hats off to for this! I am off now very tired in the uk it's gone 3 am Some one will be
along very soon to advise and I will chime in tommorow Sat BTW You will love it here too!






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Old 06-29-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
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Hunniebun, welcome to the forum! Give some of our trainers on the forum time to respond.

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Old 06-30-2012, 06:36 AM   #6
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The fact you can leave the house for up to 20 mins is a great start So may be go out for less than 20 mins come home no fuss given to bailey either when you leave or come back as this can make matters worse
Then over a period of time gradually increase the number of times you leave the house along with slowly increasing the amount of time you are away from the house. It's good news that Bailey doesn't destroy the house either and quite agree there's no no need to crate him while you are gone I think that's where the problem lies you let your dog become too clingy towards you so when you are seperated it becomes very hard for them to understand. I like the fact you say you won't give up either that's good to know! Any way I am sure you will get the problem sorted please keep us posted on any progress please
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Old 06-30-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply.

The only reason I THINK she can handle 20 minutes is because when I listened to my recording, she barked for the first 15 minutes and quit, then a while later started up again 2-3 times then quit for the remaining 20 before I came back home. She is NOT a constant barker and I am thankful for that at least.

I don't think she is too bad which is why I think she can be turned around somewhat. I did make the mistake and let her become too clingy to me, because I was also clingy to her. I have changed the way I am with her and I ignore her a lot more and don't let her sit on the couch with me anymore, she has a bed on the floor across from me instead.
I have been trying a few things to try and de-sensitive her. Pretty much every time I get up she will also get up and stare at me thinking I am going to leave, so I have to put her in a down stay as I walk about my place. I practice jingling my keys and not leaving, putting on my coat and shoes but not leaving, to try to get her to not care about those things anymore. I give her hugs and kisses but its not often and when it happens its fast and over with. She used to bring her toys to me all the time to play and now I ignore her when she does, so I can teach her that only I will initiate play and if she wants to play she can play on her own. She is not independent at all and she is very insecure. We also have a problem with leash walking, she will bark at every single dogs she see's and lunges at them. She barks so much she barely takes breaths in between and won't stop until they are out of sight. I have taught her to "watch me" with her eyes but even with a treat in her face she STILL believes she needs to protect myself and her from other dogs and won't stop freaking out. But that's a whole other story...

I had no idea that I could ruin her like this and I am kicking myself for it and really regretting it, but since she's only a year and a half old, she's still a puppy and hopefully I've got time to fix her. I always thought that when she was really young that it wasn't a good idea to leave her home a lone long because she can't hold her bladder for too long and she could get into trouble, big mistake on my part. I should have just put her in a safe area with a pee pad and water and let her be.
I have also been coming and going from my place multiple times a day and coming back after a few minutes and making no fuss with her until she is fully calm, and then I pat her quickly and quietly say "good quiet". The first thing she does as soon as I leave (which I know from recording her) is she runs to the door and takes really strong sniffs underneath it, then starts whining.
I have 2 months to turn her around before I go back to school or else she'll have to go to daycare at night, which I don't really have the money to spend on. I do, but its meant to be spent on other things like groceries. My class is 3 hours long so I also think leaving her alone for 3 hours is just too long, so at least at the daycare she will get walked.
Another thing is, how can I get her to pay attention to her toys when I leave? I leave such tasty things out for her but she's so distraught that she doesn't even touch them until I come back. When I get back that's when she goes and starts playing/chewing on them and I take them away because they are only for when I am gone.

I stress so much about leaving her alone and that my neighbours will get angry with her barking and I'll get into some sort of trouble, even though my landlords know all about her problem and are very nice to me. My own anxiety drives me and I bet I send all sorts of bad or stressed signals to my dog without even meaning to. I love her so much, I can't be without her and I gotta help her somehow. How long should I expect this rehabilitation to go on? Months and months?
*sigh* I'm so sorry I screwed you up Bailey...

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Old 06-30-2012, 05:54 PM   #8
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You might try giving her a kong when you leave and have special toys she only gets to play with when you are gone.
Better run this by the REAL trainers though. I wouldn't want to cause MORE problems.
Good for you to get out twice a day with your little doggy! She not only helps with depression but the getting out in the fresh air helps too.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:27 PM   #9
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That's what I do. She has stuff she only gets when I leave, I only fill her Kong when I leave, but otherwise she likes to play with it when its empty. She has juicy bones for when I leave as well as a Nylabone brain toy with a treat stuff inside that she has to figure out how to get out. I left her alone multiple times today each time within 30 seconds and 5 minutes and she didn't bark. I'd reward her when I came back only when she was calm with a gentle pat and a "good quiet". I asked another neighbour of mine if my dog's barking ever bothers her and she said no and rarely hears her and she understands the issues I am dealing with so that was good to hear.
My aunt is a pro trainer and she is helping me with this but it always helps to talk to others and get more support!
Thanks everyone.

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Old 06-30-2012, 07:37 PM   #10
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You could try leaving your scent on some thing that is hers like a nice soft toy etc and ay be large rug she can lie on or even better a bed sheet that you have slept in! It's feasible that when you leave your scent to some extent this will go with you so maybe a top up of your scent is required for her to remain calm?

Good on you for not over fussing and letting her initiate play time but I think it's ok once in a while as treat or she has unreasonably been left to wait too long (Unentionaly of course!!) so keep up the good work and possibly seek a trainer's/behaviourist's advice if you don't make good progress! Good luck and let us know how you get on please!
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