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Separation Anxiety in new dog

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
Dexter

1277225
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 3:01pm PST 
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 I should address further and may develop into a more serious anxiety? 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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Kali

She's game for- anything that's- fun.
 
 
Barked: Sun Dec 2, '12 5:53pm PST 
Have you tried playing a game like leave the room/house for a few seconds then come back? If he's quiet, give him a treat? Slowly extend the time? Good Luck!
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Dexter

1277225
 
 
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 5:01am PST 
We have started doing that a bit. But we haven't made it past more than a few seconds so far. smile
He is fine at night when he goes in his crate to sleep - doesn't make a sound. But any other time of day he will whine as soon as I step over the gate. I was wondering if this is just a puppylike behavior he will get over on his own or if he's going to need to be desensitized to my leaving.
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Hazel

Noise Police
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 4:38pm PST 
I would treat him as if separation anxiety may be developing - it really can't hurt to teach the dog some independence and calmness.
Has he been left alone at all yet?
For now, you could simply start by having him eat from treat-dispensing toys (like stuffed Kongs - read about ideas in the Food & Nutrition forum; also interactive toys that require play, like the Kong Wobbler or Premier Twist N Treat) as you practice leaving him behind the gate. The food will give him something to look forward to when you leave, and he will also learn to entertain himself with those toys.
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Rylee

Want to play,- want to run,- want to play?
 
 
Barked: Tue Dec 4, '12 4:58pm PST 
I would do what Hazel suggested. Those are all great ideas for keeping the dog busy. You could also get dog pheromone collars at a Pet store. They really work! I had a dog that would destroy things when we would leave, but with the collar she was more relaxed and at peace. Also, a good amount of exercise can lessen the anxiety as well. A long walk, the Walky Buddy is what I use to bike with my dog, run on a treadmill (the dog by itself), or just playing ball until they are tired. Mainly work their body and brain to get them tired, and then get things to keep them busy while you leave. I was told the first 5 to 10 minutes are the worst for separation anxiety. So if you get them through those first few minutes then they will relax or go do something else.
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Dexter

1277225
 
 
Barked: Fri Dec 7, '12 5:15am PST 
Thanks guys! He has been doing a lot better lately, it seems to be getting better over time. He is alone for the majority of the day about twice a week - but seems to be fine with me leaving at those times because he is in his crate with a Kong, the same for bedtime, minus the Kong. It's only when I go over the gate and he can't get to me, whether he can see me or not, it's gone down to a few whines, an exasperated moan, then lay down by the gate and wait for me to come back though. Definitely an improvement from the incessant crying we had. He wouldn't even finish his food before - he would stop and follow us until we went back in the area where he ate. We'll keep working with him though!
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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Fri Dec 7, '12 6:40am PST 
Patricia McConnell has a wonderful book called I'll Be Home Soon that addresses separation anxiety.
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Smokey

Let's play tug!!
 
 
Barked: Fri Dec 7, '12 11:23am PST 
It is a great book! I do think puppies usually mind being alone more than adults, but it's a really, really good idea to be proactive. Sometimes it is as simple as putting the dog in another room so he doesn't see you leave and thus take it upon himself to try to make you stay. The book talks about a game where you give him a stuffed Kong or super high value chew (pig ear, bully stick), walk out of the room, and take it away as soon as you get back. You want to start with very short periods so that he wishes you would stay gone longer and let him chew. I think if you read it, you will find some little things you can do that don't involve the whole behavior program of getting a petsitter, etc that is used for serious cases.
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Dexter

1277225
 
 
Barked: Sat Dec 8, '12 10:45am PST 
Thanks! I'll have to take a look at that book.
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