|Barked: Thu Jun 24, '10 10:08pm PST |
|It definitely sounds like separation anxiety. My dog had it really bad for the first 6-9 months after we adopted him. There are a number of things that can be done. To start, make sure the floors or carpets are clean from the feces. On carpets, Nature's Miracle is the best cleaner on the market - expensive but very effective. If your dog is urinating use white vinegar with a carpet cleaner. You need to make sure your dog can't smell it anymore. He's more likely to defecate again if he smells previous accidents.
1) Crate him when you're gone - Even with separation anxiety, he won't mess his crate. Of course, that could change if you're gone for extremely long periods of time (10 hours) and he, physically, cannot hold it. Many dogs will actually end up feeling safer inside the crate, during periods of anxiety. If your dog isn't used to a crate, make sure you get him accustomed to it before leaving him alone in it
for a long time. If the crate isn't an option, isolate him to one room like a bathroom.
2) Like others have said, leave out MANY chew toys. A favorite of mine is the Kong which can be filled with treats. Of course, not all dogs will play with them while you're gone, especially if the anxiety is really bad (that's how it was with mine). Regardless, always make them available.
3) Natural calming aids might help - Comfort Zone® with D.A.P (i.e. diffuser), calming pheromone dog collar, natural calming treats, Bach Rescue Remedy drops. I've tried all these products and the D.A.P. diffuser and pheromone collar have helped the most. Remember, they won't stop the separation anxiety just help it, a little.
4) Anti-anxiety medicine - Go to your vet and see if they can prescibe anti-anxiety medicine. I currently have my dog on "clomicalm" (http://ww.clomicalm.novartis.us/) and it makes a huge difference. I'd ask your vet for an actual anti-anxiety medicine as opposed to a sedativetranquilizer medicine. In the past, sedatives were used for dogs but now, they have actual anxiety medicine. Remember, this must be used with some form of training for it to be truly effective.
5) Training - Find a good dog training school that offers classes in behavior modification. Talk to them before signing up and ask if they offer a class that will help with this issue. If classes aren't possible, do home training - Lots and lots of positive reinforcement training. When you return from work, NEVER EVER scold him for making a mess. Scolding him increases the anxiety. When he pees or poops outside, give him lots of praise, every time and sometimes use treats. This is key and I found it to be extremely effective. There are many good books and online resources that can help you with this.
6) Tire him out before you leave - This is one of the easiest methods. If possible, give him him 15-20 minutes of rigorous exercise before you leave. Throw a ball around or play with him for a little while. My dog trainer always said "A tired dog is a good dog!" and that is definitely accurate.
I'd recommend using a combination of these methods. For my dog, lots of positive reinforcement, crating only when I'm gone and anti-anxiety medication were the most helpful. I did this for many months and eventually he got much better. Now, we don't need the crate and his anxiety medicine has been decreased significantly (maybe 1-2 timesweek tops). I continue with the positive reinforcement which can be used for all aspects of dog training. I still keep the crate out because he likes to sleep in it, sometimes. It's not going to be fixed overnight but if you invest a little extra time now, in the future you will have a well behaved dog and much happier roommates.
Edited by author Thu Jun 24, '10 10:11pm PST
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