Separation Anxiety in Public - Help/Tips? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Ruh Roh! Looking for tips or suggestions, or even relatable experience with the random start of this behavior!

Short Story: Jax has been exhibiting anxiety if I leave him momentarily while in public, was never an issue before and just suddenly began this behavior within the last 2 weeks or so. He just turned 6 months old on April 1. Looking for tips to help.

Long Story - We have been socializing and training 6 month old Jax consistently since we got him in December. One thing we would like to do, is complete the CGC test in the future, so we’ve been working on practicing their requirements.

One of the tests, is to leave him with someone for a few minutes while you walk away and he remain well behaved, in place, and calm. So we were at the brewery yesterday (he’s been here a million times) and I leave him with my husband, give him the “WAIT” (stay) command and turn around to use restroom. Upon returning I discover that Jax not only didn’t handle this well at all for the first time, crying and whining, but he backed out of his harness, slipped through and ran to the bathroom door to find me. *** Extra note: 75% of the time I had taken him with me to the restroom, so I could directly expose him to the sound of the hand dryer but he’s been left with my husband or a friend before and did just fine...

He doesn’t act like this when we leave him at home, it’s only in public. He also displays a mild form of this behavior when my husband leaves his sight in public. I also might add if this helps any, I am fortunate to work from home, so he’s literally been by my side all day everyday, too, so I’m not sure if that definitely hasn’t helped his case and now that he’s getting out of his puppy stage and into his teenager phase, that might have something to do with it?

Wondering if anyone has any tips / experience with this and what you found helpful? We will definitely be practicing “WAIT” in public more often and likely with his prong collar instead for correction, but also should I possibly consider doggy-day care a couple times a week to practice being without me all day everyday? I want to kick this in the butt ASAP!

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Last edited by Tsheaby1; 04-11-2019 at 10:04 AM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 10:29 AM
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In his obedience training, have you worked on sits and downs while you move a short distance away and then come back to reward him, move away, reward, etc? I would work on that and then use successive approximations, meaning, in public, instead of going completely out of site go about 20' away and sit down while you husband has him in a sit or down and expect him to hold it for a few minutes. Have your husband correct him if he needs to get your dog to hold the sit or down, and a harness is really useless for training except for other specific behaviors. Use the prong and be sure you know how to properly size it and place it on the dog and how to give an effective correction. If he holds the sit or down, go back to him and don't have your husband give the release command until you have sat down at the table, then praise him profusely and possibly reward with food. Then wait a while and go a little further away next time and successively increase the distance and time away. I would do a lot of sits and downs at home before trying the moving away in public and make sure corrections are not personal. In other words, be fair and clear, but remain calm.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 06:03 PM
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If he was used to going with you, and this time he didn’t get to, he might have gotten stressed over not being able to do his “job.” Dogs are creatures of habit, and GSDs are Velcro dogs who take their jobs seriously.
And, yes, it has a lot to do with age, as well.
At that age, my Hans broke free from me to cross a parking lot and a driveup at Lowe’s, and charged into the garden center where my husband had gone with the boys... and keep in mind he is my dog, and prefers me. He could have gotten hit by a car. Scared me to death. But in public, when the pack got split up, he panicked, and he took it upon himself to go find them.
Practice moving away a bit at a time, as Chip suggested. Make sure he understands that when you turn the corner, you aren’t going away forever.
Ah, the life of the owner of a young GSD... alaways a challenge, isn’t it?

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