Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Share your favorite training tips, ideas and methods with other Positively members!

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
KnittingGirl
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 1:15 pm

Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Post by KnittingGirl » Tue May 07, 2013 2:18 pm

Hi, I am new, and I tried to read a bunch before posting. I hope to not be too redundant, or too long winded. I am in need of help.

I am a stay at home mom, and I'm home most days. We have a 2 year old daughter who adores the dogs. They love her too, and are very close with her. We have two dogs, a 6 year old yorkie named Jack, and a 5 year old terrier mix named Eddie. Eddie was a rescue. He was 5 months old when we got him, and he was rescued from the desert outside Tucson in July. He was left to die. We have been told he is part Jack Russell, part poodle, part corgie, all by different people. We really have no idea what he is. We know there's terrier in there, but that's about it. He's 10 lbs, just like Jack. They are both the same size. He is an awesome dog who is super empathetic and sweet. He is a nervous dog, and always has been. My mom calls him "wiry". He paces when my husband isn't home by the time he should be. He apparently whines when I am not home but my husband is home. He comes to get me when my daughter cries and I don't hear her. He knows when she is awake before I do, and he lets me know. It's very sweet. He also is afraid of wheeled things he's never seen before. Strollers, bicycles, etc all scare him until he gets used to seeing them. He is ok with most now, but still gets a little nervous around ones that look different from ones he's seen before.

We haven't had the most settled life, and have moved 6 times since we got Eddie 5 years ago. We have recently moved again, and Eddie isn't taking it too well. When we leave the house, he screams, howls, barks, thrashes against the door, and generally is upset. He has never done this before. I am concerned about him, but I'm also receiving notes from one neighbor. Yesterday, I had to leave him for about 5 hours. He was a mess. I feel terrible.

He is not food motivated at all, so kongs just sit there, treats are never eaten. He also doesn't like toys. He likes to chase Jack when Jack fetches toys. He also enjoys his 3-4 daily walks. He and Jack run around the house, up the stairs and around the living room a few times a day, and I play with them when they are in a playful mood. I throw a ball or toy for Jack, and they chase, or I do training with them, sit, lay down, that kind of thing. I try to do that daily, but it's more like every third day. I'm pregnant, and I get tired, unfortunately. I do play with them and walk them daily, the training is not daily, though.

We were leaving the dogs in the house while we were gone, but there are many windows and glass doors to look out, and it was causing anxiety for Eddie. We then left them in a well-lit, spacious area in the garage. It is technically a storage area, but it feels very "cave-like" to us, so we thought it would be a good place for the dogs while we were gone. We put carpet in there for them, made sure it was lit well, and put a baby gate across the entrance to the room. They were ok for a bit, then Eddie found a way out, he climbed or jumped over the gate. He was throwing his body against the garage door yesterday when my neighbor stood outside near the door. According to her, he continued to thrash and cry for hours. I don't know why she was standing outside our garage door in the first place, but still.

Now I am at a loss. I have tried kongs, bones, leaving for short times only (he still freaks out...almost immediately), I take him with me whenever I can. If I go to my parents' house, the dogs come with. I just don't know how to address this. He is just so anxious.

There are also two other dogs in our small area that bark and whine. One is a small dog that whines all day long, the other is a large dog, german shepherd, I think, that barks all day. They are alone all day long, for sure. It's sad, but I think they may be upsetting my dog. I don't know.

Any thoughts are helpful. I want what's best for my dog. And I want to keep the peace in my neighborhood. Thank you so much.

JudyN
Posts: 7017
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Post by JudyN » Wed May 08, 2013 2:57 pm

KnittingGirl wrote:We have been told he is part Jack Russell, part poodle, part corgie, all by different people. We really have no idea what he is. We know there's terrier in there, but that's about it.
Methinks we need photos so we can all have a guess :wink: :lol:
He is not food motivated at all, so kongs just sit there, treats are never eaten.
Is this the case even where you are there, or is it more that he's too stressed to eat when you're out?
He likes to chase Jack when Jack fetches toys. He also enjoys his 3-4 daily walks. He and Jack run around the house, up the stairs and around the living room a few times a day, and I play with them when they are in a playful mood. I throw a ball or toy for Jack, and they chase, or I do training with them, sit, lay down, that kind of thing. I try to do that daily, but it's more like every third day. I'm pregnant, and I get tired, unfortunately. I do play with them and walk them daily, the training is not daily, though.
Well done for all you do manage to do! That's more than most dogs get :D

Would you be able to commit to never leaving your dogs on their own for a few weeks? This can involve getting dogsitters, or maybe leaving him with your parents. If so, I would start from scratch. If he gets upset as soon as you start getting ready to go out this might even involve picking up your keys, putting your shoes on, and then taking them off and sitting down again several times a day (You'll need slip-ons in the later stages of pregnancy :lol: ). If he doesn't get upset till you've been gone for, say, 10 seconds, go out, wait 5 seconds, and come in again. Then build up, veeeeeery gradually. Leaving and returning should be low-key. Some people say you should ignore the dog for 15 mins before you leave and after you come back, but that feels unnatural to me. I prefer a brief 'See you later' when you leave and a casual greeting when you come in, just as you would say to your OH.

As he is a generally anxious dog, it may help if he has some calming medication while you work on this - something to talk to your vet about. It certainly won't be the solution on its own, but it could help with the behaviour modification.

You could also try again with the garage, replacing the stairgate with a double-height one, or fitting another above the existing one. I would start of making them think of it as a great place without leaving them - feed, train & play with them in there, just hang out with them there. Maybe add a crate each and see if they enjoy having an even more private corner. Then when they're settled, leave them behind the stairgate for a moment and return straight away. Then stay out for longer before returning, move out of sight & return, go into another room, and return, shut yourself in the other room & return, lengthen the time you're elsewhere in the house, then leave the house & come straight in.. they may not even realise you've left. (My dog is OK in the day now but hates being left in the evening. But if OH is out and I have a bath, he's fine. I've often wondered if I could fit a fire escape going from the bathroom window.... :lol: )

The difficulty is that if you ever leave him for longer than he can deal with, this will set him back a loooooooong way...

This is a good book on the subject: http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/store/ ... -Soon.html
There are also two other dogs in our small area that bark and whine. One is a small dog that whines all day long, the other is a large dog, german shepherd, I think, that barks all day. They are alone all day long, for sure. It's sad, but I think they may be upsetting my dog. I don't know.
You could try shoving a really nice treat in his mouth every time you hear the other dogs. Not good if they keep going all day though :( Actually, I can imagine that stresses you too, so make sure you're not communicating any of your stress to the dogs. It might actually help you if whenever you hear the dogs you say 'Hey, whoopee! Barky dog says it's treat time! Yay!' or something similar...

I'm hoping someone else can chip in with some more ideas for his general anxiety - but it may simply be a result of his bad start and all the changes he's had to deal with.

Is the neighbour who complained the same one who stood outside the door listening to him? I don't suppose she'd be an appropriate person to ask if she'd like to dogsit on occasion... The best approach for the one who has complained is to go round with a bunch of flowers and a big smile, apologise, and say you are doing everything you can to fix the problem. Also, if you absolutely can't avoid leaving him, maybe let your neighbour know in advance.

Good luck - and good luck with the pregnancy :D
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

KnittingGirl
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 1:15 pm

Re: Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Post by KnittingGirl » Thu May 09, 2013 11:49 am

Thank you so much for the reply!

First, how do I post a pic? I would love to have some guesses. :D

Second, he is a pretty anxious dog normally. He paces a lot. He doesn't settle down easily, and won't stand being in a room away from us. He freaks out if someone is in a different room from everyone else. He licks a lot, and will lay right on top of you whenever you sit or lay down. He is very "smothery". He's sweet, so we put up with it, but we've tried hard to get him to be more independent. It just doesn't happen. He is totally attached to us at all times. As I write this, he is standing under the table where I'm sitting.

Treats: He doesn't take treats from us usually. He likes people food (we don't encourage him to eat people food normally, but we have a toddler), and will take treats of cheese or lunch meat occasionally, but normally he won't take any treats at all. And, if it's a dog treat of any kind..or even a dog toy, he is definitely not interested at all. It's odd, I've never seen this kind of behavior, but I was raised around labradors. Also, he eats Acana Prairie food, if that matters at all.

I don't know that I can commit to never leaving him. I can try, but it will be a huge challenge. When I go for long periods, I do take him to my parents', and will continue to do that. They live about 45 minutes away without traffic, but usually when I go out I'm going to see them anyway.

I made an appointment for him to see the vet today to talk about medication. I don't love the idea, but at the same time, he may need something to help even him out a little, just like humans.

I like the idea of trying the garage again with a better gate. I am also planning on leaving some kind of noise in there with them, like a radio or something. He definitely doesn't like white noise. I use it for my daughter and Eddie definitely doesn't like it. He has gotten used to it, but we had to turn down the sound on the machine because it bothered him so much. Our neighbor (who complained) said that he was not too bad when we left him upstairs in our bedroom. I may try that again as an experiment. I don't want him tearing up the door to the room, so I will use a gate instead of the door just in case.

I like the idea of giving him a treat when we hear the other dogs. When my daughter learned to crawl, she really frightened him. Up until that point she had been stationary. Now she could chase. He got cornered by her (totally my own fault, I admit) and he scratched her face. It freaked us out pretty bad and we were nervous that we wouldn't be able to keep the two of them in the same house. We spoke with a trainer who had us give him treats every time she approached or every time she made noise. It seemed to work well. They are best friends now. He would sleep in her bed, if he wasn't so attached to my husband. Plus, I don't love the idea of him in her bed. She is still too young and unpredictable. We are still working on teaching her to leave him alone when he needs a little space. But anyway, point of the story, training that way really worked for him. I will try it with the dogs making noise.

I spoke with the complaining neighbor. I left her a note explaining his situation, and what we are trying to do to remedy the situation. She came over and was almost in tears because she felt bad for being harsh. She is a dog lover, which is a good thing. She is the person who was standing outside the garage, though, so I don't entirely trust her as a dog sitter. She seems to upset the dogs more than make them calm.

Thanks so much for the help! I will see what I can do about not leaving him ever and starting from scratch. I don't know if I can do it, but I can certainly try to make it work. I want him calm. I don't want him to be upset when I leave. That always makes me sad.

Good luck escaping the bathroom, LOL! I know the feeling. And thanks again for all the help, especially in considering my pregnancy and toddler. :D

JudyN
Posts: 7017
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Post by JudyN » Thu May 09, 2013 2:11 pm

KnittingGirl wrote:First, how do I post a pic? I would love to have some guesses. :D
I'm sure there's a guide somewhere, but I can never remember where :oops: Basically, upload your photo to something like Imageshack or Photobucket, or anywhere else online that hosts photos, copy the url of the photo and paste it in your post in between tags. You might have to resize it first as there is a maximum size.
Treats: He doesn't take treats from us usually. He likes people food (we don't encourage him to eat people food normally, but we have a toddler), and will take treats of cheese or lunch meat occasionally, but normally he won't take any treats at all.
You could try something like homemade liver cake or dried liver - or salmon cake. Peanut butter is a big favourite too. Whether it'll help with the SA I'm not sure, though - if we leave Jasper in the evenings he eats all the goodies we've left him and then starts crying!
Plus, I don't love the idea of him in her bed. She is still too young and unpredictable.


Absolutely agree. She only has to roll over in the night and stick a finger in his eye and it could all go a bit nasty...

Good luck - let us know how it goes!
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Leigha
Posts: 1211
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:02 am

Re: Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Post by Leigha » Fri May 10, 2013 3:13 pm

Hi my friend!!

To post a picture--upload it to flicker, click "share," then click BBC code and you can copy that link and past it into your message. Once you've finished your message click "preview" to make sure it looks right, then submit.

I'm so glad you're getting good advice :D

KnittingGirl
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 1:15 pm

Re: Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Post by KnittingGirl » Fri May 10, 2013 4:51 pm

Here are a couple pics of the lovely Eddie. All guesses welcome. :D

Image

Image

JudyN
Posts: 7017
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Separation Anxiety in Rescue Terrier Mix

Post by JudyN » Sat May 11, 2013 1:04 am

Aw, cuuuuuute!! :D

My first thought was that there's Yorkie in there, mainly from the expression on his face in the first pic. But the fluffiness could also be from poodle. Then I'd add a dash of JRT, just to dilute the Yorkie/poodle.

But I'm guessing really!
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Post Reply