Separation-related inappropriate barking.

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!

Firefly- **Adopted**

Barked: Thu Feb 14, '13 4:41am PST 
I am fostering a puppy who has had a bit of a rough time. At 8 weeks, she and her siblings were dumped at my workplace, and she was the only one nobody in the store adopted that day. I found her a home a few weeks later only to have her returned when the new owners got an unexpected job offer out of state. Then her best buddy, one of my older foster puppies, was adopted out.

All of this has somehow caused her to latch onto me to a ridiculous degree. How ridiculous? The second I leave her line of sight, she barks relentlessly, sometimes for hours. It doesn't matter if she has enrichment toys in her playpen, if other people are in the room, if she's been fed and watered... constant barking.

I'm perplexed as to what caused this, as I work most of the day so she SHOULD be attached to my husband, if anyone. I do not acknowledge her when she barks like this, nor do I come back into the room to stop it; I try to let it stop or at least PAUSE on its own before I do, in fact. Either way, the second I enter the room, even if I do not so much as glance her way, she goes silent and calm.

She has figured out that I get up at 4am every morning and has started barking at 3:30, even though she doesn't have to go potty at that time. It's driving my husband up the wall and I'm about there, too.

Any advice?

Edited by author Thu Feb 14, '13 4:44am PST


The- Schnauzinator
Barked: Sat Feb 16, '13 3:04pm PST 
What have you tried to stop the behavior, other than just not acknowledging it? If you haven't tried this already, I'd start by slowly (very slowly) getting her used to being alone. Put her in a room that get's a lot of traffic going by it, or is near a room that you or your husband spend a lot of time in. Leave the door wide open and put a baby gate up so she can still see you all the time but can't be right next to you. When she gets used to that, move on to putting her in a room (still with door open and a baby gate) that's a little more secluded from the action, but still close enough so she can hear (but not see) you.

At the beginning of the 'baby gate' faze you have to walk by the door/ stay in the adjacent room a lot. As she gets more comfortable, you can increase the amount of time you stay away from her room. When you think she's ready, you can up the ante by closing the door to her room or putting her in a spare bedroom so she feels a little more "closed off" from you. Hopefully you'll be able to work up to being able to leave the house for a few seconds, then minutes, then possibly even hours.

Separation anxiety can take a long time to get over, so you have to be super patient no matter how frustrated you feel. It's just one of those things that will either be solved with training, she'll grow out of it, or (worst case) she'll always be like that. As a side note, I wouldn't adopt her out again until she's a lot more comfortable with being alone. Her mind state is just too fragile right now to deal with another stress like that, and it might make the problem worse.

I'm sure this isn't the only way to solve this problem, but this is the first idea my brain farted out so if it doesn't help maybe other people will have some better ideas that will work for you wink wishes