Please share your best SA advice!

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!


Our Little- Emperor
Barked: Wed Mar 27, '13 5:58am PST 
**Sorry it's so long - you don't really have to read it all. TL;DR: puppy has really bad SA and goes bonkers and I need advice.**

I didn't realize until Kaiser how good I had it with Tobi. The first time I left home without him, I took him and Dexter, put them in their crate (they shared one for a while when they were young because they were both small and liked to cuddle), turned on the radio, left, and neither of them made a peep. I had one noise complaint once, when one of them wasn't feeling well and was forced to soil the crate - I don't blame them for barking then, I would too if I were sitting in poop, bol. But anyway, Separation Anxiety was never a problem for them, and I never had to think about it much.
Kaiser has been a horrible nightmare in this regard. He gets upset when I go to the washroom and leave him in the living room (he's blocked off for now because he was revisiting there to pee). There's a 50/50 chance that he will get upset when I crate him to do dishes, take a shower, etc.. His anxiety seems lessened when he's crated.

Yesterday I did a trial run. It was meant to be the quick, one-minute type where you wait for them to be quiet, even just for 5 seconds, before you return. The radio was on. He was pretty tired. He had lots of toys, a tasty chew, and was cozy in his crate. I calmly, no fuss, grabbed my coat and left, and stood right outside the door.
He didn't just whine a little. He got louder and louder over time. He whined, then screamed, then started making this horrible shrieking bark. He clawed at the crate and threw himself against it. He outright panicked. It took 15 full minutes to get the 5 seconds of silence. I came back in, and I tried to ignore him for a few minutes, took off my shoes, did some mild busy work, etc. and waited to greet either dog until they were both calm (Tobi was uncrated, snoozing on the couch, and perfectly calm throughout all this).
Every time I left his sight he devolved into acting like I had left again. He abhorred being ignored. He started screaming and fighting the walls of his crate again, even when I was in plain sight. And boy, is he loud. I live in an apartment building and can't have him being as loud as he was... the neighbours across the hallway have a baby. After another 10 minutes of waiting for him to settle so I could greet him, he just wouldn't shut up, and I had to acknowledge him without succeeding in getting the point across.

SO, that was a resounding failure. I may have missed important details for getting help in my post, but that went so atrociously, I just don't know what to do. I can't be home 24/7, and he needs to learn to be alone, but either he is going to be a tough nut to crack or I don't understand preparing for SA as well as I thought. Either way, I need some advice. I can't even run to the corner store to get a drink or go out to get the mail, and I can't keep pawning him off on friends and relatives every time I have something I need to do.

Please ask if I missed some details that might help understand why he went so berserk, or just share your best advice. I don't want to give him up, but I won't always have dogsitters available, and he can't be making this much noise while I'm gone or I'm going to have complaints... or worse yet, get evicted. I'm stumped. Please help! frown

Edited by author Thu Mar 28, '13 5:58am PST


Let's play tug!!
Barked: Wed Mar 27, '13 2:36pm PST 
Oof. That does sound like a particularly bad case. I'd probably move the crate, change the blanket, and do some crate games to try to attack the negative crate association a little bit. Then use the same strategy you were using, but start with walking a couple feet and return for maintained or offered quiet, and proceed that way, rather than starting by leaving the house for a few minutes.
Jake & Sweet- Caroline

Tricolored- Hounds for life!
Barked: Wed Mar 27, '13 7:04pm PST 
There is an amazing book you should read called "I'll be home Soon" by Dr. patricia mcconnell.

It costs less then $10 and it will be the best peace of advice you can find in my opinon on this issue. I read this book three days after getting jake and finding he coudl tear through a metal garage door if left alone for 30 minutes and thru a wooden hollow door in under 15.

The book is really like an info pamplet and is great. She gives great advise on how to help and how to see what level SA you're dealing with.

I thought my beagle was horrible. I mean so bad. But then when i called the $200 an hour behaviorist i discovered there were peoplew ho had it much worse then I. My behaviorist also stands behind this book.

So thats my #1 advise.

Second advise is maybe get a second dog. After I had to retire Jake from working because of his decreasing eyesite I adopted Sweet Caroline and since then Jake hasn't needed a crate at all and I can finally go to the bathroom, the store, to the mail box in peace and not return home to springs were there had once been a matress and feathers were there had been pillows.

He may just need companionship.

Third Advise

If you read the book i mentioned then you will also learn about desensitizing and using treat balls affectively. I used to give jake a treat ball and then leave. Then come back and take it away. Soon jake realized the awesome tastic peanutbutter treat thing only appears when she leaves. That worked for a while but my poor guy was literally having nerotic breakdowns because he couldn't go with me anymore. It was so bad.

Good luck to you! This community is great for people with pups who suffer from SA. wishes

Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Thu Mar 28, '13 5:11am PST 
Skipper too, barks/screams like that when I leave him in his crate... Even when I'm in the same room... He hates it!

After two weeks of constantly crate training him, I gave up... He was on the verge of seriously hurting himself trying to get out of the damned thing...

Now however, I can leave the house for six hours and he's fine puppy

He has full run of the kitchen...

I put his crate in there, put the radio on, give him treats and his kong, place the shirt I slept in over a hot water bottle and close all the doors...

Luckily, I own a detached house but from what I gather, no one has heard a peep puppy

I even had a look in the kitchen window when I returned home a couple of days ago and he was curled up in his crate, sleeping...

Dexter has pretty bad SA but because he's two years old, if I leave the house for work, he goes to doggy day care puppy He also gets fed up of Skip constantly jumping all over him so it's nice for him to get a break too... To Skip, Dexter is just a giant play thing so he doesn't really voter when him and Dexter are sepereated...

Is there a long term confinement area with your house? Like a toilet or something you can try?

It really worked wonders for Skip...

Good luck! It's really not a nice part of puppyhood lol.