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I am slowly but surely making some progress with Zelda and her SA. She has her D.A.P. collar when she is in her crate. And among other little things that i have changed for her, its been helping. I have been through a whole list of different things i've tried with her and none of them helped, except the D.A.P. seems to be. As well as stressing the way I deal with leaving and coming home when it comes to her.
She still has bad SA, and she still rips apart her sheet i put in her kennel, and barks/howls while I am away. But not as much as she was doing, according to the family, after I got her the D.A.P. collar and adjusted my routine with coming and going.
The trainer i am getting is coming on the 10th. And i hope she will have some other good ideas.
But in the mean time, and even after the trainer.
How do you guys deal with your dogs SA? (In terms of how do you live your life and do a full time job?I am not working full time because it just is really unfair to Zelda for me to be gone 9-11 hours a day, even if someone can let her out or hang out with her for a couple hours.
I really need that full time job, i am not even getting by right now with my two part time jobs, its really hard. But i have so much guilt leaving her. I don't even leave her to go and hang out with friends, unless someone can watch her for me or at least for more than half of the time i'm gone.
This is one of the three things about Zelda that has been really stressing my life. Because of financial, emotional and social reasons with this one.
Just wondering how you all deal with it? Do you block out the fact that your dog is freaking out being alone? My sister says thats how she deals leaving her dog for 10+ hours a day, however her dog doesn't have the SA like Zelda But i am considering doing this, and getting that full time job like i really need to have.. But it breaks my heart.. :( :hammer:
 

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I have never had a dog with SA.. One thing I wanted to suggest, can you leave a radio or tv on while your gone? Sometimes the 'sound' can be soothing..
 

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I don't have anything constructive to suggest but i do freak out. If I know he's home alone I can't concentrate. He's rarely alone, my daughter is home but the few days he has to be alone for a few hours I get anxious because I know he's miserable.

On weekends if I need to go to the store and my daughter is not home I get a phone delivery and pay the extra 10$. I know it's crazy but I can't help it.

I don't go anywhere I can't take him. I've taken days off when I knew my daughter would be gone.

This can't go on, she will go to school soon and might work as well, I dread thinking about it


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I will be really interested to see what kind of feedback you receive on this thread. My dog has mild SA but perhaps seems to be getting worse lately. Last week (after only an hour and a half--which is far from the longest he's been alone) my girlfriend came home and he had completely destroyed the TV remote, knocked over two trashcans, and ripped to shreds several hangers that he dug out of the closet...I wasn't even mad, it was borderline impressive (jokes). But I'm right there with you OP...I know he hates being away from us and it is a constant concern of mine.
 

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I have a mental SA labradoodle. He was a foster that could not be placed; he's been with me for 4 years.

1) I got used to coming home and finding my property destroyed when he (inevitably) would figure out how to break out of or destroy the crate he was in. I would get so frustrated and angry at first, but after almost half a decade of adjustment I realized that it's just stuff, and I can fix the house before my lease is up.
2) I stopped thinking that I had to have him around me 24/7. I don't, and he'll live.
3) I found ways to deal with his symptoms because there's no way to deal with the underlying problem. Bark collar didn't work well, he'd just end up with a bloody, raw throat where the collar shocked him 100+ times and didn't stop him in the slightest. So we moved to a home farther from complaining neighbors and with good insulation. I found a welded aluminum crate with keyed lock that he CANNOT destroy and CANNOT break out of. If I'd just paid the big bucks in the beginning I wouldn't have gone through 6 other kinds of crates and the cost of them.
4) I became super conscious of all the triggers that make his SA worse and what I can do to mitigate them. He needs to have another dog in line-of-sight. He cannot have bedding or anything I value in, within five inches of, or on top of his crate. He cannot be in the dark while I'm not home.
5) I found a schedule that works for him. I can leave him for 6 hours without significant worry of coming home to finding him in a wet crate (he's one of those joyful SAs that pee or, if it's really bad, vomit because they get so anxious) but I know that if I'm gone more than 7 hours or if I forget to leave a light on after dark I can almost guarantee that I'll be bathing a dog and scrubbing a crate when I get back.

The most important thing to remember is that your life should NOT revolve around your dog for SA reasons. I have no problem with my life revolving around my dogs for other reasons, but I was miserable and isolated when I was 'chained to my house' because of my SA dog. I felt like I had no ability to leave because he had such a barking problem and I didn't want to get AC involved. I had wonderful neighbors to tolerate what he put the neighborhood through in college!

I have had so many dog gates destroyed. I have my fridge door chained to the cabinets because he can open it. I discovered a few months ago that he can also open the freezer, although he can't seem to get things out of it as easily, so that's chained shut now too. He can open round doorknobs, bend metal, and has broken toenails and teeth off in panicked attempts to emancipate himself from his crate. He does not respond to medication or DAP products, or any "Stress and Anxiety" medications, natural or otherwise. Just about the only thing he hasn't managed to do is break a window or eat a wall. And he's a perfect gentleman left alone in the car.

Ultimately, crate training is essential. In my dog's case it was more like Crate Torture and Breaking. It took the better part of THREE YEARS, but now he will willingly enter his crate, has not done any damage to it, is calm and quiet for the most part, and has not peed himself for a few months now. It took years. YEARS. But it worked. Now I can say "kennel" and watch him jog in, lay down, and huff a sigh while I close the door instead of turning around and hear screaming of bloody murder and banging fit for an asylum.

To those of you who don't yet have an SA but are treating them like one, YOU'RE CREATING THE PROBLEM. Trust me, don't fall into the trap of enjoying your velcro dog. It's cute and adorable until you have to leave them and then it's a nightmare. My dog came to me at 14 months already insane. If he'd been properly socialized and accustomed to being on his own for periods he would be a perfect dog and could have gone into a home of his own instead of being 'stuck with me' all this time. I love him dearly and he'll always have a place in my heart, but he is a huge limitation on the places I can live, the lifestyle I can enjoy, and the jobs I can take. Get your dogs used to being alone, away from the family, and knowing it will be OK.

ETA, regarding jobs, it's your call. I'm looking to move to an area with LOTS of land so that I can have him outside in a run while I'm at work. Then he's welcome to destroy the ground and chew up his water bucket. There's plenty of dirt and plenty of buckets in the world. Bonus: he can pee wherever he wants to, and with land he can bark his little head off and no one but the deer will hear him. We were in a situation like that last year, and when he was outside in a run he would literally bark from the time I went to work at 7am to the time I got home, around 7pm. All. Day. The poor gentleman staying at the house said at first it didn't bother him since it was a kennel, but after a few weeks of it started to get quite tired of it. I took him to work (vet clinic) where he barked his head off in his run in the kennels there. He cannot have bedding or non-metal bowls since he destroys them. Since I moved I have worked jobs that allow me to either come home during lunch to let him out to avoid the wet crate or that only have 6-7 hr work days. I need to move up a bracket financially and I know that likely means a 9-5, but I've been trying to work out a way for me to work from home. So to answer your question, yes... he has directly impacted my work choices. He has also directly impacted my living situations, my long term goals for living situations, and my relationships. "Want to go out this weekend?" "Sure! But I have to leave the bar around 10 and stop by the house to let out my dog, is that OK?" "... never mind". True story.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I have never had a dog with SA.. One thing I wanted to suggest, can you leave a radio or tv on while your gone? Sometimes the 'sound' can be soothing..
It is certainly a hardship to have a dog with SA, hopefully you won't ever have to go that route! And yes, I do have the radio on, and i've tried those dedicated dog music tracks that are peaceful and supposed to make the dog feel safe, etc. I also have fans on for sound.

I don't have anything constructive to suggest but i do freak out. If I know he's home alone I can't concentrate. He's rarely alone, my daughter is home but the few days he has to be alone for a few hours I get anxious because I know he's miserable.

On weekends if I need to go to the store and my daughter is not home I get a phone delivery and pay the extra 10$. I know it's crazy but I can't help it.

I don't go anywhere I can't take him. I've taken days off when I knew my daughter would be gone.

This can't go on, she will go to school soon and might work as well, I dread thinking about it


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I do find myself hard concentrating at work too. Since you do have your dog with someone almost all the time. Now is the time to reallly start practicing leaving him. The most effective and fastest way to help a dog with SA. Is to never leave them alone for month(s) unless you are training. I would look this technique up! And start as soon as possible. Basically you train them so slow.(depending on the dog and severity) ASPCA "it’s crucial to gradually accustom a dog to being alone by starting with many short separations that do not produce anxiety and then gradually increasing the duration of the separations over many weeks of daily sessions." Separation Anxiety | ASPCA
I would DO this.. But i cant, because i have to work, i cant take a couple weeks off let alone a month. And no one else can watch my dog for me. So i have to do plan B. I hope this works for you!!

I will be really interested to see what kind of feedback you receive on this thread. My dog has mild SA but perhaps seems to be getting worse lately. Last week (after only an hour and a half--which is far from the longest he's been alone) my girlfriend came home and he had completely destroyed the TV remote, knocked over two trashcans, and ripped to shreds several hangers that he dug out of the closet...I wasn't even mad, it was borderline impressive (jokes). But I'm right there with you OP...I know he hates being away from us and it is a constant concern of mine.
ASPCA has a great page for SA, perhaps they will share in some ideas that will help you so he does not have to get to severe SA! Separation Anxiety | ASPCA
Good luck with your boy! We may have to start our own SA support group on here! :eek:

I have a mental SA labradoodle. He was a foster that could not be placed; he's been with me for 4 years.

1) I got used to coming home and finding my property destroyed when he (inevitably) would figure out how to break out of or destroy the crate he was in. I would get so frustrated and angry at first, but after almost half a decade of adjustment I realized that it's just stuff, and I can fix the house before my lease is up.
2) I stopped thinking that I had to have him around me 24/7. I don't, and he'll live.
3) I found ways to deal with his symptoms because there's no way to deal with the underlying problem. Bark collar didn't work well, he'd just end up with a bloody, raw throat where the collar shocked him 100+ times and didn't stop him in the slightest. So we moved to a home farther from complaining neighbors and with good insulation. I found a welded aluminum crate with keyed lock that he CANNOT destroy and CANNOT break out of. If I'd just paid the big bucks in the beginning I wouldn't have gone through 6 other kinds of crates and the cost of them.
4) I became super conscious of all the triggers that make his SA worse and what I can do to mitigate them. He needs to have another dog in line-of-sight. He cannot have bedding or anything I value in, within five inches of, or on top of his crate. He cannot be in the dark while I'm not home.
5) I found a schedule that works for him. I can leave him for 6 hours without significant worry of coming home to finding him in a wet crate (he's one of those joyful SAs that pee or, if it's really bad, vomit because they get so anxious) but I know that if I'm gone more than 7 hours or if I forget to leave a light on after dark I can almost guarantee that I'll be bathing a dog and scrubbing a crate when I get back.

The most important thing to remember is that your life should NOT revolve around your dog for SA reasons. I have no problem with my life revolving around my dogs for other reasons, but I was miserable and isolated when I was 'chained to my house' because of my SA dog. I felt like I had no ability to leave because he had such a barking problem and I didn't want to get AC involved. I had wonderful neighbors to tolerate what he put the neighborhood through in college!

I have had so many dog gates destroyed. I have my fridge door chained to the cabinets because he can open it. I discovered a few months ago that he can also open the freezer, although he can't seem to get things out of it as easily, so that's chained shut now too. He can open round doorknobs, bend metal, and has broken toenails and teeth off in panicked attempts to emancipate himself from his crate. He does not respond to medication or DAP products, or any "Stress and Anxiety" medications, natural or otherwise. Just about the only thing he hasn't managed to do is break a window or eat a wall. And he's a perfect gentleman left alone in the car.

Ultimately, crate training is essential. In my dog's case it was more like Crate Torture and Breaking. It took the better part of THREE YEARS, but now he will willingly enter his crate, has not done any damage to it, is calm and quiet for the most part, and has not peed himself for a few months now. It took years. YEARS. But it worked. Now I can say "kennel" and watch him jog in, lay down, and huff a sigh while I close the door instead of turning around and hear screaming of bloody murder and banging fit for an asylum.

To those of you who don't yet have an SA but are treating them like one, YOU'RE CREATING THE PROBLEM. Trust me, don't fall into the trap of enjoying your velcro dog. It's cute and adorable until you have to leave them and then it's a nightmare. My dog came to me at 14 months already insane. If he'd been properly socialized and accustomed to being on his own for periods he would be a perfect dog and could have gone into a home of his own instead of being 'stuck with me' all this time. I love him dearly and he'll always have a place in my heart, but he is a huge limitation on the places I can live, the lifestyle I can enjoy, and the jobs I can take. Get your dogs used to being alone, away from the family, and knowing it will be OK.

ETA, regarding jobs, it's your call. I'm looking to move to an area with LOTS of land so that I can have him outside in a run while I'm at work. Then he's welcome to destroy the ground and chew up his water bucket. There's plenty of dirt and plenty of buckets in the world. Bonus: he can pee wherever he wants to, and with land he can bark his little head off and no one but the deer will hear him. We were in a situation like that last year, and when he was outside in a run he would literally bark from the time I went to work at 7am to the time I got home, around 7pm. All. Day. The poor gentleman staying at the house said at first it didn't bother him since it was a kennel, but after a few weeks of it started to get quite tired of it. I took him to work (vet clinic) where he barked his head off in his run in the kennels there. He cannot have bedding or non-metal bowls since he destroys them. Since I moved I have worked jobs that allow me to either come home during lunch to let him out to avoid the wet crate or that only have 6-7 hr work days. I need to move up a bracket financially and I know that likely means a 9-5, but I've been trying to work out a way for me to work from home. So to answer your question, yes... he has directly impacted my work choices. He has also directly impacted my living situations, my long term goals for living situations, and my relationships. "Want to go out this weekend?" "Sure! But I have to leave the bar around 10 and stop by the house to let out my dog, is that OK?" "... never mind". True story.
First off, I want to say that you are amazing for sticking through all of this and being committed to him, that is truly amazing. Thankfully, Zelda isn't quite as severe as him it sounds like. She does urinate in her crate, at first it was everyday now its once in a while. And sometimes she would even leave a stool in there.. Which is why i always leave a sheet in there, so that if she does, she can hide it, because thats what she did the last few times. And then if she is super stressed she will have a stool, eat it and vomit it up when i get home (has happened 2 times) and that is why the vomit smelled like stool. (And she is not a stool eater, she sniffs them on walks but does not eat them, so i know its only because of her stress, thankfully she hasn't done this in a while!)
Yes, i agree crate training is essential! Thankfully Zelda doesn't hate her crate, that is when i am around, i've even seen her sleep in it before when she could have slept on the bed or on the floor. She will go in there willingly to get a toy,etc. when were just hanging out, and when i ask her to go when she knows im leaving, she will, only once in a while i will have to pick her up and put her in front of her crate, and than she will walk in.. :(
This, "screaming of bloody murder and banging fit for an asylum" was all to perfect. It is totally what it sounds like. She will do sharp barks, howls, very loud upset barking, and then she will bang on her crate door while she does this very pitiful howl.. Poor kiddo..
This, "I'm looking to move to an area with LOTS of land so that I can have him outside in a run while I'm at work." Sounds EXACTLY what i want.. I want a nice big tall fence. I would even live in an RV! But at this point in life, this is merely a dream. I hope that it works out of you to get there though, you sure deserve it by the sounds of it, so does your dog!
Thanks for sharing your story, knowing personally that i am not alone in a SA battle, is helpful in itself to some degree. :paw:
 

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Do you have Patricia McConnell's book, "I'll Be Home Soon"? Rafi had terrible SA when I adopted him and once I realized how bad it was I followed the counter-conditioning protocol in that book. It took 7 weeks (and during that time I had to either take him into the classroom and meetings with me or leave him for short periods in my truck) but he did get over it. I could never have lived with that permanently but I knew the protocol worked if you stuck to it (see below) so I followed it to a tee.

I adopted out a dog with SEVERE SA. It was so bad that her first owners kept her kenneled outside year round (in Wisconsin) while they were at work. Her new owner worked in a vet clinic so she took her into work with her until she was able to go through the counter-conditioning protocol with her (Patricia McConnell was actually a client at the vet clinic where she worked!). It took about 3 months because this dog was 5 years old but she was eventually able to stay home on her own without any destructive behaviors.

It really takes patience on your part and I think you cannot get hooked into their anxiety because that honestly makes things worse.
 

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That is awesome it worked out for you guys!
I wish i could keep her with me or take work off for weeks to do the counter conditioning.. I really cant though. And even if i took her to work, she would be alone.
Did that book also have another option to helping SA dogs than what you did?

"I think you cannot get hooked into their anxiety because that honestly makes things worse."
Because of this quote, and because you went through SA with your dog, in your opinion, do you think i should do a full time job, despite her SA?
I am really hoping this trainer has some good ideas and a good plan to help her with plan B, because otherwise i will be at a lose. Prozac is still an option, but since the D.A.P. collar is helping some, I am putting the medication on hold for now.
 

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Marbury, after reading your post I realized I am the problem. But I can't help it, I actually didnt bother with crate training because I wanted him near me.

And I still do. Why get dogs if u don't want them around you all the time?

I don't know how to deal with this. Start crate training at 8 months? But I do want to be around him when I'm home.


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Lalachka, did you check this website out? Separation Anxiety | ASPCA

Also i guess to answer your question, for them to have this constant desire to be around you and where they act upon it (through destructive behavior, barking, howling for you, breaking out of things..) Even windows (i recently saw this at the animal hospital where the dog with SA broke out of the window and hurt himself bad in the process, he was even on prozac)
It is just unhealthy for them mentally when they have SA. And its not fair for them to have to live a life of fear and worry, because we want them to always want to be with us, because we love them so. I get your intentions, there is nothing quite like the feeling of your dog wanting you more than anything. And this can happen without them also having SA, but there is a very unhealthy level of this desire that they can have too and you just need to be careful about your intentions. Sometimes we mean well, but in reality its for your best interest, not theirs.
 

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Me too! Good luck! :fingerscrossed:
What gives me hope is the fact that I only have get him to be OK for 45 mins. That for some reason seems more doable than 8 hrs though I realize that the 45 mins will take a lot of time and tiny steps.

But for some reason that part is making me feel like there's hope


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I did not take time off of work. I was able to get him comfortable in my truck and I left him in there while working (it was winter) and went out and walked him in between classes and meetings.

It sounds like both of you are coddling the dogs. Honestly, SA dogs need clear, consistent leadership and schedules more than other dogs. They should be on NILIF and have an outlet for their anxiety. Lots and lots of training and exercise to help take the edge off. Rafi is 7+ years old now and I still walk him at least 4 and usually 5 miles a day. A lot of that is off leash. He gets anxious if he doesn't get enough exercise.

It sounds like Zelda REALLY needs you to step up to the plate as a leader. She needs to know that she can't make decisions for herself.

Doggie daycare is another option for SA dogs until you can get them through counter-conditioning.
 

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Yes they do need that consistency and a good schedule. And hopefully the trainer will help point out where my leadership flaws are so i can work on them.
Unfortunately, doggy day care is not a good idea for Zelda and also leaving her in the car. But i have heard of the leaving the dog in the car idea before, and apparently it does work for some dogs.
Thanks for the reply!
 

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Good day all, I hope its ok posting here. I see seperation anxiety mentioned earlier.

My wife and I bought a gsd pup last week. I was off of work so I had enough time to spend with deezol and start his training.

I'm doing as much research as possible, and I came upon this seperation enxiety. Yesterday deezol was alone at home for the first time, and it bothered us that he's alone. So we went to go get one of his siblings, the same litter as deezol and a male too.

Now the problem is, with the new pup around, deezol went from deezol to deamon. I can't believe he's so dominant. He took a smell on his brother, and when we don't pay attention, deezol attacks shadow agressively. When we took em outside last night to do they're last potty, on the grass deezol went up to shadow giving a good smell again, but this time like sezar milan will say, introducing....

Then they were ok, but when it was time to go back in,my wife and I walked,and noticed deezol picked up pace to get to shadow, and when deezol got to shadow, deezol shoved out his chest and gave shadow a nip on the neck. I tapped him and re directed deezol to just come along.

Am I heading for disaster with deezol? I have no experience with gsds and I really want what's best for my dogs. Please help. And deezol is a real chewing machine too, we replace what ever his chewing with a toy every time we notice, but he just won't catch the drift. He is a very clever puppy and learns with treats so fast, but chewing no way....

Please help
 

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Good day all, I hope its ok posting here. I see seperation anxiety mentioned earlier.

My wife and I bought a gsd pup last week. I was off of work so I had enough time to spend with deezol and start his training.

I'm doing as much research as possible, and I came upon this seperation enxiety. Yesterday deezol was alone at home for the first time, and it bothered us that he's alone. So we went to go get one of his siblings, the same litter as deezol and a male too.

Now the problem is, with the new pup around, deezol went from deezol to deamon. I can't believe he's so dominant. He took a smell on his brother, and when we don't pay attention, deezol attacks shadow agressively. When we took em outside last night to do they're last potty, on the grass deezol went up to shadow giving a good smell again, but this time like sezar milan will say, introducing....

Then they were ok, but when it was time to go back in,my wife and I walked,and noticed deezol picked up pace to get to shadow, and when deezol got to shadow, deezol shoved out his chest and gave shadow a nip on the neck. I tapped him and re directed deezol to just come along.

Am I heading for disaster with deezol? I have no experience with gsds and I really want what's best for my dogs. Please help. And deezol is a real chewing machine too, we replace what ever his chewing with a toy every time we notice, but he just won't catch the drift. He is a very clever puppy and learns with treats so fast, but chewing no way....

Please help
Hey, I am not very experienced either.
First, you should make an individual thread of this, and you will get a better response.
Second, my advice, is to get a professional dog trainer, it is never to early to get the guidance from someone who has been there and done that, who can give you real advice because they are seeing the behavior in person. Because i cannot see what they are doing, it is very hard to tell why they are doing it. Is it you? Is it the situation? Or the environment? Do they just need more time?

Good luck!
 
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