Separation Anxiety?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Red.Apricot, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    Elsie is almost three, and until now has never shown any signs of stress when left alone.

    The last couple of weeks, she's been showing increasingly bad signs of separation anxiety, and I'm having to work really hard not to get upset about it.

    A few weeks ago we had a new roommate move in, and that's more or less when this started. She's crying in the room when left alone, which she's never done, and she's drooling on herself, and licking her front legs. We've always had roommates, usually two at a time, and she's never had problems like this in the past.

    It also seems that she's only having this problem when my new roommate is home; she doesn't seem to have had anxiety/stress when it's just the old roommate around. My new roommate says she doesn't make any noise at the dogs when she gets home if they're shut up in my room, but she does take a more active interest than any roommate in the past (which is nice, but we have had to have discussions about boundaries, a little).

    I would like to try crating her while we're gone, but I am limited by what I can try by the fact that we have roommates; she can't be allowed to bother them, particularly my roommate who has been here longer, since she works graveyards and sleeps during the day.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm a little baffled and super irritated, which I know is not a helpful emotion. I understand logically that she is not doing this to be irritating; she is upset and it is not her fault, because she is a dog, but because she's always been so perfect about being left in the past, and the quarter just started and I'm stressed, it kind of emotionally feels like this is being done 'to' me, which I know logically isn't true. I am having a little trouble adjusting to having our new roommate, even though I like her a lot.

    I'm not even sure it's really separation anxiety, although that's obviously part of it. Last night, for no discernible reason, she was extremely stressed all night long, and right now, when I got home she was trying to race around pacing and panting. I made her down in the living room and she was stress panting and drooling non-stop. She's in her crate right now because it was bothering me.

    Help?
     
  2. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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    I would probably try a DAP diffuser before trying crating tbh - the DAP diffuser seems to help anxiety of all kinds in about 60% of cases and it's a simple fix if it does work. Often I'll have clients use it for a month or two to get their dog over the stressor and then they no longer need it!

    Similarly a Thundershirt might be helpful and does have a higher response rate (about 70%) though it is a little trickier for some situations since the dog must wear it.
     
  3. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

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    I agree that I don't think crating is a good idea. My son has a dog with the same issues and when he tried to crate him even as a young pup, the dog drooled so badly that he was making himself sick. His vet has suggested mild meds which my son won't give, so he deals with some destruction in the house when he's not home.

    I wonder if there's just something Elsie doesn't like about your new roommate. Sometimes they have instincts that we don't.
     
  4. frostfell

    frostfell Kung Pow Fish

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    the usual, have her looked at by a vet to rule out anything physical. also check the weather and crossreference with friends to see if anything funny has been going on with THEIR pets. yknow, seismic activity, barometer/pressure changes, bitch in heat down the road, etc

    set up a camera for a few days to see if new roommate is a lying sack of **** and IS doing something underhanded when you arent around

    i do not buy animals having a sixth sense about people. theyre more observant than we are to subtle nuances of body language, but theyre also dumb animals that become terrified by cardboard boxes and ceiling fans. clearly theyre not some kind of all-knowing wise creatures. because im pretty damned certain cardboard macaroni boxes are NOT out to rape and murder me in my sleep
     
  5. Dex

    Dex New Member

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    Bummer :( The good news is that this sounds workable and it hasn't gone on for so long that it's harder to work on. When I worked on SA with my older dog (think: tore off an entire stair, door frames, etc) here's a few things that helped:

    1. Exercise. However, in order to make sure it wasn't a trigger that I was leaving, we exercised randomly throughout the day including before I left for work or school.

    2. This book! I'll be Home Soon by Patricia B. McConnell.

    3. The usual range of fun things to do while I was gone (Kongs, etc). He didn't touch these at all until we'd worked on counter conditioning for a few weeks (remember though, he was ridiculously bad).

    Rescue remedy is also helpful when it comes to stress (both for you and Elsie). Does Elsie have access to her kennel while you are gone? In case she wanted to go in and relax on her own. I'd also probably go to the vet since this is so out of character and sudden.
     
  6. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    Thanks--I'll order at DAP diffuser and see how it works, since it's a little less involved on the dog's part than the thundershirt; she really doesn't like wearing extra stuff, so I'm not sure if she'd appreciate the thundershirt. I know it's different than a backpack, but it'd still be an adjustment, so I'll try the DAP first.

    Elsie's always liked her crate in the past, but I will try the other ideas first.

    I have no idea; Elsie liked her fine before she became my roommate.

    You know, last night after I posted this Elsie started shaking her head more than normal and was holding one ear funny. I'm calling for an appt. as soon as I'm done teaching this class. The weather did change dramatically recently, and our back yard neighbors have been doing renovations (with lots of strange, big trucks coming and going and construction noises--there might be more to this than I originally thought... but none of this has bothered her in the past). I wish dogs could just talk--that'd be a lot easier.

    If Elsie doesn't improve over the next week or so, I'll get a camera.

    She's actually been getting MORE exercise the last couple weeks because our training classes are on hiatus; usually in evenings, after I've been home for an hour or so.

    I bought the book. I will read it and apply it to our situation; thank you so much.

    I don't leave food toys out for the dogs when we're gone because they're loose together. Zobby isn't crate trained (not my dog, please don't yell at me, lol) and so Elsie would have to be crated with him loose in order to have a food-kong, so I think we'll call that plan C. :]




    Thank you all so much for the advice; I'm feeling a lot better about this today. Last night I had a bit of a meltdown; seeing my dog panicked for no obvious reason is really stressful for me. I really don't have enough distance from the situation. After I posted, I took her outside and played fetch with her until she'd calmed down again, and brought her in. She fell asleep and was fine, until the dipshits next door* dropped something large and metal, which startled her and then she went to the back door and wouldn't stop panting at them.

    I'm going to get the DAP going, read that book and apply it, take her to the vet, and take it from there. (Donny just got home and texted me that she wasn't upset at all when he got back; she was curled up asleep on the bed and greeted him calmly; no drool, no panting. My roommate is at work. Hm.)

    *it was 11 at night and they were still letting their dog bark (which it does all day every day) AND they were still doing construction on their house at that hour. Come on. Yes; my dog shouldn't care that they dropped something, but it was loud and it was late.
     
  7. frostfell

    frostfell Kung Pow Fish

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    it could be a combination of things. she wasnt feeling good one day, the pressure change made her ear hurt and she was kinda dizzy, and then on top of that, a steel beam was dropped and a lot of noise was made at the same time roommate came home, now shes sick and confused AND has built an association of pain and scary noises + particular person, and its just a downward stupid spiral from there. i mean.... we dont speak dog. who knows :rofl1:
     
  8. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    Yeah, they're a mystery.

    Her vet appointment is in 35 minutes, so we'll see what they say.

    She's napping on my dad's couch right now; she spent all afternoon running around with Zoey.
     
  9. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    So her vet said it was either an episode of anxiety or the aftermath of a seizure. She doesn't think that it WAS a seizure, but it is possible, and we need to keep an eye out.

    Otherwise, the DAP is on its way and we're going to be trying all the other great suggestions here. Thanks. :]
     
  10. Dog Boarding Toronto

    Dog Boarding Toronto Dog Care Taker

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    I agree with most of the other users, a crate is probably not the best solution. One thing that gives dogs even more anxiety is to be locked up in a crate or small room. It sounds like your old roommate made very little noise at all when she was home. And even though this new roommate says she does not bother the dog, she may not realize the type of noises she makes when in the house. It may be something as small as listening to music through ear buds or leaving a tv on without playing anything. It also could be a sense of perfume or smell that this roommate gives off. But don't just throw everything to the roommate right away, as it could be many things and just a coincidence that you got a new roommate when this behavior began. Have you thought about having a mobile vet come into your home?
     
  11. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    Elsie is already crate trained, but I haven't had her in her crate during the day for a couple of years. :]

    Our old roommate still lives with us, too--she's not gone, haha.

    I'm not going to have a mobile vet come; I already took Elsie to our vet, and I really doubt a vet coming to my house would change much

    Elsie hasn't shown any stress at being left alone since I made the original post; I'm still going to be trying the things people suggested, but I now think the cause of her anxiety was the renovation our next door neighbors were doing. I found out they removed a wall while I was gone when Elsie had her episode, and they have since stopped construction. I believe things are going back to normal, but I'm still treating her like they haven't.

    I really appreciate everyone's concern and advice.
     

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