I have a five month old German Shepherd. Jase is my first German Shepherd and he is a really great dog. Unfortunately he suffers from what I believe to be extreme seperation anxiety. I have done hours of research online and met with my vet. I just want advice from more experienced owners of the breed.
Jase only suffers from anxiety when I go to work. I take him with me as much as I can and he doesn't mind being left in the car. Now I don't leave him in the car long and I always leave it on. I also made a point to make sure that he is well socialized. He doesn't have to be right next to me all the time in the house. He goes to the dog park at least once a week and meets new people almost daily. Jase is very obedient. We have been working on simple commands, sit, down, etc. Jase is also house broken and well mannered. The tech at the vet said he is the most well behaved and mannered dog they have seen in a long time. I keep Jase in a wire crate while I'm at work with plenty of toys and the occasional bone. I've tried to keep him outside in a kennel but he always escapes and has a run in with the law! (: I've had to reinforce the crate with zip ties and wire clips and he still manages to escape that as well.
Our last visit to the vet resulted in a prescription for the doggy version of Prozac, so far we are on day two with no visible change. I have provided him with a stuffed and frozen Kong for the past two mornings as well. He seems to enjoy that tasty treat. I have ordered a Thundershirt and will be giving that a try once I get it.
Any tips, advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please help me, help my fur-baby.
Thank you for your time.
Start with some exercises. Like practice leaving and coming home. Try it for short periods of time, but make sure you ignore the dog when leaving and returning. Don't even acknowledge their presence for a few minutes before coming and going because this leads to anxiety problems. Keep doing this and lengthening the time you do it for; until the anxiety subsides.
A lot of times it is how we behave that makes a dog anxious. If we make a big deal out of leaving or coming home so will they. Don't even speak to them when coming in!
They also need something to occupy their time while you're gone. Bully sticks, natural bones, or kongs with frozen peanut butter can keep their mind off the fact that you're not around. With a radio playing or t.v. In the background.
I had a rescue GSD one time that ripped her crate open with her teeth and tried to jump through multiple windows when I was gone for about 4 hours one day. Thankfully she did not get hurt. She broke one window, 4 Mini-blinds and turned over some bedroom furniture though. I also had a male shih tzu that ate through my door to get out one time.
If your dog is getting out of the yard that can be very dangerous. I've had one shot and killed by the police because they assumed he was vicious and the dog catcher didn't work on Sundays in that town. Be very careful!
I hope everything works out for you!
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Here's an article on Prozac for dogs
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer : Separation Anxiety, Doggie Prozac - Does the Pet Industry Lack Ethics?
I agree with VanBuren as well. The state of mind of the dog when you enter the house and when you leave is very important. The dog should be calm if you want to avoid separation anxiety.
It takes dicipline on the part of an owner to send the right energy to the dog so it can be calm and not insecure.
I don't really feel like I make a big deal when I leave. I'll walk you through my process; we get up in the morning and he goes outside to go potty. Then he stays in the bathroom with me while I get ready. I'll usually let him out once more then we go upstairs and he goes in his crate. Then I finish getting ready and close the door and leave. I've tried changing up my routine. It hasn't helped so far. The only trigger I could think of would be the kennel, but he needs to be in there or he will tear everything up. I should also mention that he gets fed in the kennel and plays in the kennel and will sometimes leave the bed to sleep in the kennel.
When I get home he's usually quiet until I open the door. I feel that it has more to do with his need to relieve himself than anxiety but I don't acknowledge his reaction. Just undo the clips and all the doors are open so he can go outside. Once he's done his business he calms down quickly after being outside for a few minutes.
I've started leaving him for short periods of time in the same room as his crate and he hasn't really shown anxiety in the five minute span that I'm gone. I walk him after work and occasionally he will get walked twice a day. Or we go to the dog park.
I appreciate all the tips and that article. Thank you so much. Please keep it coming!
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