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DTS 02-02-2014 04:27 PM

Odd separation anxiety
 
Titan has begun this wierd separation anxiety temper tantrums.
He's 5 months old. He doesn't cry or bark when we put him in his kennel wen we leave or even when we put him in there and are still home.
However, if we are out and one of us walks away, he freaks out. Barks, whines, cries, and screams.. So bad that our neighbors accused us of abusing him.
He not only will do this with us, but with other people.
Today, we were at training and the trainer got up and walked away and he did it.
When he does this, we do not coddle him, we completely ignore him and when he is quiet we reward, but only when he is COMPLETELY calm.
What else can we do?
What is causing this behavior? We have NEVER reinforced this behavior by retreating back to him or going attention saying it's ok and such. He NEVER gets attention for this.
I don't understand where this is coming from.
Suggestions would be great.
He's so vocal which is fine, but when he doesn't get his way he screams bloody murder. I'm ok letting him cry it out but my neighbors aren't so willing.

wyoung2153 02-02-2014 05:00 PM

I am absolutely NOT an expert with vocal shepherds, Titan (my boy :) nice name btw :p ) isn't too vocal unless he is meeting someone. I'm sure someone will have better advice for you.. BUT Have you taught him an end all command? I know in the situation where my Titan greets people and won't stop barking or whining, "ENOUGH!" is generally what he needs to stop.. followed by "good boy!" and a reward.

DTS 02-02-2014 05:13 PM

We use enough around the house, and it works, however, we are still working on that part outside of the house. When he gets "in the zone" like that, nothing seems to work. I try the look command to get his attention, and that is hit or miss. Works with other distractions like dogs or people walking by but this zone he gets in is hard to break him out of. I even use high value cooked beef liver or chicken breast treats.

wyoung2153 02-02-2014 05:22 PM

Is he ball driven? Or has a certain toy he likes over anything?

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DTS 02-02-2014 05:27 PM

We are working on his ball drive. He is more food driven when out. The only time he's all about any toy when out is when we do rag work to build up prey drive. It's the rg on the lunge whip. He goes nuts for that thing. Even after we are finished he always wants more and will eye ball it if it's left on the table.
We have a flirt pole he loves, but I don't know if we should use it out of training. He's learning to bark to get the rag..
I can't have that in my apartment lol.
It's all about the food for him.

David Taggart 02-02-2014 05:32 PM

That is not a separation anxiety, that is called "a pack unity sense". He must have known your trainer for quite a while, and, because, I guess, you might have done a lot together, Titan decided the trainer is a casual pack member. Young wolves and wild dogs often swap the packs if accepted in order to steal young females. In order to be accepted they make friends. I believe, Titan decided that your trainer is such a friend, because he likes him personally, as well as that person who visited your home. You should note it for youself - Titan is in need of a friend from outside of his own pack. Normally such male friend would lure a young dog away from the pack somewhere into the wild just for the sake of having a companion in case of meeting some enemy.Titain has read your trainers move as a departure and was keen to join him, that's why he barked. The same story repeated at home. This behaviour is pretty innocent and you shouldn't worry about, because it happens only before 3 years of age, unless you meet some stray male who run away from his home. If Titan likes him - he will follow him, so in any such situations your recall will save you a trouble.
A sense of a pack union is instinctive, and that is one of variations how new packs might form. It doesn't mean that here is anything wrong with his original pack in which you play a part of a parent. As you say, this sort of behaviour could be observed when you leave, and it reveals much stronger reactions. You should train him to be patient.
Tether him to the tree and ask him to sit. Walk away slowly, and return quickly every time he gets up, repeating "Sit!". At one moment it would be interesting for him what that is for, and he will keep in sitting position. Then introduce him to a new command, and pronounce straight after old command:"Sit!-pause-Wait!". Later in training "Wait!" should work on its own. Start making circles around him, come back to him and reward for being patient. Make the distance greater with time if he sits well longer than 12-15 minutes. Train him to wait patiently off leash. When that seems good - start hiding behind trees, building corners, anything you find suitable, where from you can watch him. Keep a written record on his progress. I always advise to everuone whom I train to start a diary on his/her young dog, without it it could be difficult not only to estimate his progress, but evaluate yourself as a trainer and to avoid doing one and the same mistake. It would be nice if his record states something like 35-40 minutes of wating in sitting position after 3 months. Telling him "Wait!" when you leave the house would install a sense into him that he is doing something in your absense, doing some job. But, please, don't start with it at home, he must grasp what is required outside home first. The command "Wait" could be very useful in many live situations.

DTS 02-02-2014 05:42 PM

This is only our third session with the trainer.

David Taggart 02-02-2014 06:17 PM

Well, Titan decided he is that desired friend. Must be a good trainer and a nice person then, if your dog liked him straightaway. But, what Titan really needs - a friend of his kind. Some dog to run with, to be together on long walks. Some friendly male, say a young Lab. Be careful with choosing one for him, it should be a well behaved dog, Titan will start copying. Because, two friends might cooperate and start attacking other dogs together. Seems, your dog is friendly by nature, fear him being bitten. But that is not your main issue.
And separation anxiety is a psychic disorder, that is a result of being left alone for endless hours, when boredom presses hard. Your dog is barking and whining because he thinks he is missing something, it can develop into anxiety if he is left alone for days.

Stevenzachsmom 02-02-2014 07:33 PM

I'm not sure David. I am by no means an expert and don't claim to be. Personally, if I were the OP, I would not want to get my 5 month old a "friend" right now. Also, I do not know the cause of SA, but I once had a dog who suffered from it. I got her directly from the breeder at 11 weeks. The breeder kept the entire litter until 11 weeks - so the puppy was not alone prior to coming to me. I was a stay-at-home Mom, with two young kids. The dog was seldom alone and when she was, it was only for short periods of time. Her SA was pretty bad - the bark non-stop, destructive kind.

DTS 02-02-2014 07:45 PM

That's what's so odd about this SA.
He goes in the crate no problem when we leave. No crying, not a peep.
We also crate after he eats while we are home or if he just needs down time. Again, not a peep.
Only when we are out and one of us walks away or if someone was giving attention to him or like our trainer today.
Another odd thing is that at our other training class we are out with a group of people (puppy class) he sees other dogs and people coming and going and he's fine.
When we go to our schutzhund training is when he gets very vocal excited pulling screaming, crying, carrying on.
He has started to sometimes bark at other dogs while out at home but not at training.
When he does we distract him and give commands to get his attention away from the dog and then treat as he ignores.
My schutzhund trainer says he should grow out of it.
My puppy class trainer hasn't given any advice.
He can be taken from us by another class member if they have treats and give him commands.
I'm just really confused on how to handle this.
He made a huge scene today, enough for the neighbors to come out to see what was going on.


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