Separation Anxiety Driving Me Crazy!!! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2
Separation Anxiety Driving Me Crazy!!!

I have a 1.5 year old GSD that I have had since he was about 10 weeks old. He is a smaller GSD about 60 pounds. He has anxiety about everything. His major problem is with separation anxiety.

He has uncharacteristic bad behavior whenever I am gone. I crate trained him as a puppy the same way I did with my other dogs. As he grew up he developed bad behaviors that I have not been able to correct.

He screams, howls, whines, barks, pants, sheds, and paces in the crate. When I come home if he has not escaped, the crate is covered in drool and hair. I have tried ignoring him before putting him in the crate and even putting him in there 10-15 minutes before I leave.

He refuses any kind of food in the crate. No treats of any kind. As soon as the door is shut he will drop anything that is in his mouth. He enters the crate easily and happily and waits for his treat but as soon as I shut the door he starts to panic.

He will not play with any toys in the crate but usually find his own toys! He has pulled multiple comforters into the crate and chewed them up along with eating the arm of a chair next to the crate and eating countless dog beds.

Every neighbor I have had has complained about the screaming and howling while I am gone. It got so bad that I had to muzzle him in the crate. Even that didn't last long. He figured out how to get the muzzle off and chew it to pieces. I have been through 5 muzzles. I got him a thundershirt for Christmas and that seemed to work pretty well, but of course one bad day in the crate and that too was destroyed.

The vet suggested drugs to generate more serotonin. These drugs made him more hyper and upset his stomach. We stuck with those for over a month and the situation got worse so I stopped giving them to him. Next we tried Prozac and Xanax. They also made him worse, and he refused to eat.

When I am home with him he is a great dog. He does follow me around, but most GSDs do the same thing. He is very smart and has learned many tricks. I thought the training would increase his confidence and help with the anxiety. The second I leave the house to do anything he goes crazy. Even if I only leave to take the trash out he is at the front door whining and panting. If I leave him with my roommate when I leave he has a panic attack. He has even opened the storm door and run out of the house. I have tried to desensitize him by putting on my shoes and sitting around the house, and picking up my keys and carrying them around.

He gets daily exercise, but unless I tire him out completely it doesn't help. It takes him hours of playing or miles of running to tire out long enough to be good in the crate. I don't have 3-4 hours every morning to run him into the ground. I tire out long before he does! I also don't have the money to send him to doggy day care everyday.

I am a fan of the wire crates and have been through a few with him. I have ordered a plastic crate that will arrive shortly. I am really hoping this will help him feel safer. Maybe I can re-crate train him with this new kind of crate?

I love German Shepherds, but this dog has me going crazy. I don't know what else to do for him. I don't understand why this happened to this dog but not any of my others. I do not coddle him, let him in my bed or on any furniture. I ignore him and discipline him accordingly.

I have read many article and talked with vets and trainers. I feel like I have tried everything with this dog.

Will he grow out of this? I am so frustrated!
satickle is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 11:14 PM
Crowned Member
 
BowWowMeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 16,659
Ok, this sounds like TRUE separation anxiety. He will not grow out of it. However, you can counter-condition him out of it.

You need to order this little book: I'll Be Home Soon-Dog Behavior Problem Solving Booklets at Patricia McConnell

And you need to follow it to a tee. It may take a while (it took 7 weeks for Rafi and 3 months for another dog I know of) but you cannot skip any steps or it will not work.

Ruth & the 4 Legged Rescue Gang

Rafi the malaroo

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Gio & Varda, the krazy kittens
....In my heart:
Cleo Kitty
Chama
Kai
Basu
Massie
BowWowMeow is offline  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 11:16 PM
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,614
How about mental work? Training? Classes? A sport, anything like that? I've found my dogs need both -- lots of physical and a nice share of mental work, too. Every day. A balance of physical and mental is what works best for me. No, I don't always want to do it. I work full time and I'm tired when I get home, but I know I have to. I'll pay the price with the whining and antsiness if I don't.

How about chewies? If his diet allows it, and you've done your physical and mental work, a wonderful end to the night for calm down is a good chew.

How many hours is he crated daily? Is he just being crated too many hours? Is there any way you could have someone come let him out to break the monotony?
chelle is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 11:28 PM
Crowned Member
 
BowWowMeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 16,659
I just have to say that if it's true SA then exercise and/or the most delicious bone in the world will not help. You have got to do the counter-conditioning to get them through it.

Ruth & the 4 Legged Rescue Gang

Rafi the malaroo

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Gio & Varda, the krazy kittens
....In my heart:
Cleo Kitty
Chama
Kai
Basu
Massie
BowWowMeow is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 11:38 PM
Master Member
 
sashadog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Posts: 674
Totally agree with BowWowMeow. True SA isn't about getting enough attention or having enough mental stimulation it's about severe anxiety. Patricia McConnell's book is awesome and I would suggest reading it!! I'm sorry you're having to deal with this... I totally understand how stressful SA can be

Brooke

Tango, lab mix 10/01/2000
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Scarlett, cattle dog mix 04/01/2007
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Sasha, GSD 02/01/2008
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
sashadog is offline  
post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-09-2012, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
New Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 2
Thanks for the advice!
I just ordered the book on amazon.

I only leave him crated for 4 hours at a time. I have the luxury of not working long periods of time and can come home and let him out. We did do training classes but only got through puppy classes.

I forgot to mention he tore his ACL at 6 month old. I don't think this had much of a effect on the SA. He had the separation anxiety before the injury. The recovery required a lot of crate confinement. Any puppy would be restless in the crate all day, so I expected him to be unhappy when he was confined for weeks. His behavior during this time was different than then SA behavior, he was constantly restless - not just when I left him. The vet gave me a sedative so he wouldn't go crazy in the crate all day which got us through the recovery period. The injury set us back with training classes. I will try and get him back into training classes. I'll try mental work too. I am open to trying anything at this point.
satickle is offline  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 12:01 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,614
I didn't mean in any way to downplay true SA.
chelle is offline  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 12:47 AM
Elite Member
 
Falkosmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,105
Quote:
Originally Posted by satickle View Post

He will not play with any toys in the crate but usually find his own toys! He has pulled multiple comforters into the crate and chewed them up along with eating the arm of a chair next to the crate and eating countless dog beds.

I feel your pain, except substitute couch for chair. Fortunately, mine outgrew it.

Do you have two dogs?
Falkosmom is offline  
post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 12:58 AM
Crowned Member
 
BowWowMeow's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 16,659
I had two dogs and it didn't make any difference. And in Rafi's foster home there was another dog and it also didn't make a difference in his anxiety at being left.

I do want to say that I can leave Rafi now and he is fine. I follow a strict routine with him when I leave and come home but this past weekend he was traveling with me and he was left alone in 3 difference houses (including one he had never been in before) and he did just fine.

So, if you follow that protocol, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Ruth & the 4 Legged Rescue Gang

Rafi the malaroo

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Gio & Varda, the krazy kittens
....In my heart:
Cleo Kitty
Chama
Kai
Basu
Massie
BowWowMeow is offline  
post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-10-2012, 06:59 PM
Elite Member
 
marbury's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: WA
Posts: 1,287
Quote:
Originally Posted by BowWowMeow View Post
So, if you follow that protocol, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I'm mooching off this thread for a severe S/A case in one of my rescues, thanks so much! I'm glad to know there's hope in some distant, unmedicated future.
marbury is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome