Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

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Midget
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Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by Midget » Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:58 pm

Hello!

I have a 5 year old rescue dog that suffered from Separation Anxiety when she was a pup, thankfully we got over that then. Now, she is suffering from it again and i cant blame her as we moved to another home due to work and everything is new to her (do not have our furniture, the only thing familiar to her is her bed). Also, me and my partner started working, so she stopped seeing us as much as she was used to. Her world is basically turned upside down. Now, when we leave our room (hotel job) she howls and scratches the door (destroying it). We are doing the drill like not making a big deal about leaving or coming back. I am trying to leave for 5 minutes, than 10 than 20 and so on. Good thing is due to the location of the job she gets to run free on her walks in lovely meadows, so she is getting alot of exercise, but it doesnt seem to wear her down enough to make her sleep through the hours we are away.

I have ordered an Adaptil diffuser. Has anyone tried this? My main problem other than my dog having panic attacks, is that it might affect my job cause when the season starts and she is howling we might have complaints from the customers, so we have about 10 days to make this better. I also ordered an extreme kong (shes a chewer) and some extra toys for her to mix em up.

If anyone has ANY tips, please let me know! Also, id love some advice of how to keep her away from the door cause she is close to making a hole in it. I tried vinegar and drops of ammonia, with some good results, but im afraid of the ammonia to be honest, its super strong.Also, im not sure its helping with the anxiety much.

I thought about crating her, but when she was a pup she destroyed the crate i got her so ...

I read somewhere that this has something to do with the alpha? I mean some say that my dog thinks she is the alpha so when we leave she worries about her pack and she cant control us n stuff. Im not sure i believe that, any thoughts? Im 99,9999% sure she is doing this cause of the whole change in her life.


Thanks in advanced!

Im desperate!!

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Midget
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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by Midget » Sun Apr 19, 2015 1:04 pm

I need to add my questions about nutrition.
I read that a diet with low protein (but no corn) is more likely to increase trytophan that is need to create serotonin, the higher the serotonin the less the anxiety (something like that). Any thoughts on that also?

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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by JudyN » Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:10 pm

It's nothing to do with her thinking she's alpha - this is a very outdated concept. She simply doesn't feel comfortable on her own.

I used the Adaptil plug-in when my dog was a rather full-on pup, and it did seem to take the edge off his excitement levels, so it's definitely worth a try. Can you physically block her access to the door at all, such as putting a chair in front of it? It sounds daft, but I know one person whose dog used to do the same and when she stuck a stepladder in front of the door not only did the dog stop scratching it, but she settled down quietly instead.

What are you feeding her at present? It could have some effect on her behaviour but I think it unlikely as she's been OK until the recent changes.

Do you do much mental work with her? Dogs can find this even more tiring than physical exercise.

Have a read through this thread on separation anxiety: https://positively.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=20143 It should give you some ideas. I'm not sure if it's possible to overcome SA in 10 days though - is there any way you could use a dog walker or day care for a while till you've worked through this?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Midget
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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by Midget » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:42 am

Thank you for your reply!

I did check out the forum thread, really good tips. I cant wait for the adaptil to come and now im looking to get the rescue remedy. Any suggestions on drops or spray?

I am also so happy you did not confirm that awful "alpha " thing!

Today im working on wlaking to the door, touching the doorknob than sitting back down. She seems to be getting used to it, yay!!

Thank you so much!

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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by Nettle » Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:22 am

Anecdotally, albeit strongly so among dog behaviour professionals, is that maize affects serotonin uptake, so you could ensure that there is no maize in her food as well as no artificial colourings sugars etc.

Dorwest Scullcap and Valerian can be useful in some anxiety cases. Your dog, as you are aware, has plenty to be anxious about. It's good stuff and I use in for my firework-phobic dog.

Read through the list of Bach remedies to see if any others would be useful, such as Walnut for Change of Circumstances or Rock Rose for Terror. You can use different Remedies together. I suggest a few drops on the nose and some in her water.

Finally, be sure that she has a really good walk before you leave, and plenty of afe things to chew while you are away - but I expect you already do that.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by jacksdad » Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:20 pm

Midget wrote:I read somewhere that this has something to do with the alpha? I mean some say that my dog thinks she is the alpha so when we leave she worries about her pack and she cant control us n stuff. Im not sure i believe that, any thoughts? Im 99,9999% sure she is doing this cause of the whole change in her life.
I won't belabor the point since you don't seem to be buying into it anyway, but do want to confirm your gut instinct that this isn't correct and that your initial thought "my dog is panicking/anxious about us leaving" is correct.

Dogs are social animals, they bond to us and some dogs simply having a very hard time being separated from the person or people they have bonded to. you are 100% correct the move brought this backup.

here are two of the best books out there on how to treat this.

http://www.amazon.com/Leave-Step---Step ... xiety+dogs

http://www.amazon.com/TREATING-SEPARATI ... xiety+dogs

I believe the author of the second book here (Malena) does remote consults depending on where you live..just don't hold me to that as I could be misremembering. If you need professional help that is worth looking into.

The key to SA is slow and steady with building time apart, and do what you can to prevent your dog from even entering a anxious state. If you are under pressure to do something "now", you are going to need some medical help and if your dog is destroying things I would urge it. either look into Nettle's suggestions or discuss with your vet something like Xanax which starts working almost right away + something for long term. If you go this route, DO NOT let your vet simply prescribe ACE. Dr Overall a Vet behaviorist who studies this stuff no longer recommends it. she wrote much of the book that up to date vets involved in medication for behavior and well as behavior work in general follow. here is a bit of a link that might help explain why http://www.drmartybecker.com/fear-free/ ... ork-fears/

IF you do pursue the medical assistance (either the natural options nettle suggests or the phrama direction with your vet) do not drop the training side. to be successful the two MUST go together.

The last thing I would caution against is ignoring your dog too much. this can actually increase stress, remember social animals and your dog is happy to see you and be reunited. so be careful how/when you do this. my dog while never as bad as you describe, did/does have a bit of SA tendencies. part of what helped him was as I was giving him a kong with food to go at while I walk out is a "I will be back" said as I am leaving. this I believe was more for me to keep my tone light and stress free, and that helped him with the leaving. the coming home, I give a quick hello, and a quick pet or scratch under the chin and then I give him a little more time before there is more interaction. when i break from this he greetings get over the top and "unhealthy" so to speak. But there is NOTHING wrong with a brief and calm acknowledgement when you come through the door.

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Midget
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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by Midget » Fri Apr 24, 2015 2:18 pm

Hello and thank you for your replies!

I am trying rescue remedy since yesterday. Yesterday i just gave her one dose (4drops in mouth) half an hour before i left. The results were better than other days, but again you cant tell with one use. Today i gave her 4 doses with intervals of 15 minutes, i also put some in her water. It was bad. To make it worse, i couldnt handle my nerves and scolded her for scratching the door, so when i left again it was even worse. I am seriously considering medication, cause as Jacksdad said, i really need help "now". I wish i was at home to not use drugs and work it out, but im not :( I live in Greece so i do not know what drugs they use here and i cant i will call my vet tomorrow so he can let me know. Shes is making a hole on the door :(
Will the drugs make it easier for her to realize that there is nothing to stress about? I know i must continue the training.

Darn im so sad right now. My boyfriend is anxious about this(he's not very fond of her in the first place) and i need to tell my boss about the damage and the howling, i have no idea how he will take it, although he is super dog friendly. Fingers crossed.

jacksdad
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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by jacksdad » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:18 am

Midget wrote:Will the drugs make it easier for her to realize that there is nothing to stress about? I know i must continue the training.
no. what medication will do for you, be it rescue remedy or something from the vet, is help increase what it takes to send your dog into an anxiety/distressed state thus creating a window where they are not too anxious or distressed for training to be effective and thus allow learning to happen.

when a dog (or human or pretty much any other living animal) reaches a point in their fear, anxiety, distress etc, learning stops or can't even start. sometimes what causes a dog to reach that point is very small. maybe simply getting up out of your chair and simply looking like you are going to another room. very difficult to affect change in behavior if your dog is so easily sent into a distressed/anxiety state. OR simply lives in such a state.

that is what the medication is supposed to do be it more "natural" or more "pharma" based, create a "windows" to help get the training going.

If we just provide medication, but no training, then at some point (seconds later, minutes, hours, couple days) life will over come the benefit of the medication and despite giving it you are back to square one.

so, whichever way you go, it will take time and require training. there is no quick fix here. when I mentioned "now" above, what I was referring to is some medications start working fairly quickly, some take a while. it sounds like you need something that will give some help now. If rescue remedy works for you dog it will happen fairly quickly in taking the edge off. Same for medication such as or along the lines as Xanax, but specific prescription medication should be discussed with your vet after an examination. but again, remember medication by its self won't work as a magic "pill" that resolves the issue by it's self. It has to be paired with a training plan and you MUST do everything possible to prevent your dog from becoming distressed/anxious despite the fact you are giving something to help with that.

The only way for her to learn to deal with time away from you is build time away from you slowly, safely and in a way that doesn't send her into a distressed or anxiety state.

you may have to start with simply being able to leave the room, then work towards being able to walk up to the front door, then being able to open the door, then being able to go through the door, then being able to close it with you "gone" only to turn around and come back etc.

if possible have a look at those two books I suggested. they will really help you put a plan together.

The good news and I hope you can trust me on this is, SA is VERY treatable. But it does take time and patience.

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Midget
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Re: Separation Anxiety, 5 year old

Post by Midget » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:50 pm

We tried rescue remedy, no results. My vet gave me Fluoxitine (20g a day). I just gave her her first dose. He said it will take a while to start working. I really hope it helps her. We found a way to stop her from tearing down the main door, now she is scratching the bathroom door. Unfortunately, we do not have time to not let her enter the anxious state as we both work , so she will have to be left alone for quite some time.today i wore her out for an hour and she went through 3 hours of silence when we left the room. After that she went like crazy for 3 hours.

We will continue the training, although im pretty sure we are practically "Resetting" it every time we leave her alone. Thankfully we have a great boss and we are talking about some solutions with him, like being able to let her roam freely with his dogs while we work. That would be super.

Good thing (and bad thing) is that ive been through this with her as a pup. My partner is having a hard time handling this though. I also wanted to ask, do they ever get fully over it, or it will just happen when under stressful situations, cause i remembered it happened once more a couple of years ago. I lost her and from the next day that i got her back it looked like she was suffering from it again she destroyed my curtains). Anyways, maybe i already answered the question cause obviously she is not totally over it.

Fingers crossed!

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