Will separation anxiety in my new dog pass?
We brought home our first dog last week from a shelter. He has been wonderful so far - but extremely attached to me. He will whine and cry excessively when I leave the room and he can't get to me. He isn't destructive, but will remain by the gate until I come back. I've tried ignoring him before I leave the room and right when I come back to try to discourage this behavior. Do you think this is something that needs some more training or is this just a new dog behavior that will pass as he is reassured I will always come back? He is a little over one year old.
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Separation Anxiety will actually pass but you don't have to ignore him as this will only make his feeling worse. What you can do is try to go out of the door and wait for a few minutes to allow your dog to react. After your dog's reaction, calmly step inside the room again. However, be careful not to step inside when he is crying.
When he stops crying and whining, give him a treat. Do this every day until he gets used to not seeing you around more often. Or you could also get a dog sitter for you so he won't be very destructive at home.
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When Libby first came to live with me, I had to sedate her if I was leaving the house to go to the grocery store because she couldn't be crated (she'd Houdini out and hurt herself). She ate half the window treatments in the house. It was pretty awful, but I hung in there because I knew she was a great dog. And she is! Over time, she began to know that I would come back, and now she's perfectly calm and trustworthy at home alone.
The anxiety he is experiencing is probably just transitioning. I wouldn't ignore him, but love up on him and provide him with structure and routine to help him feel secure. Try to feed and exercise him at the same time every day, so he knows what's coming next. Get him stuff to do (toys, puzzles, a Kong with a treat) while you are gone. Turn on the tv or the radio while you're gone. Give it some time. If that doesn't work, you might call the vet.
Libby answered on 12/4/12. Helpful? / 1