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I need help retraining my recovering GSD Emma. She initially tore her carpus back in March and we tried the splinting method per the surgeon for 10 weeks to see if it would heal on its own (BTW splinting didn't work so we had surgery yesterday back to square one).

The problem is since her injury she has developed extreme separation anxiety. I can't crate her because she chews at her paws and her splint (ate 2 splints and 1 cast) and I can't put the cone on her head while she is in the crate.

The first round of splinting I couldn't leave her for 5 minutes before she'd have a panic attack ... when I returned to the house she was almost hyperventilating. I know the first 5 days when she comes home I don't plan on leaving her but need help for the future as she will be splinted again for another 8-10 weeks.

How can I make her more secure and comfortable if I leave the house?
 

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I would try giving her Rescue Remedy - you can spray it in her month and also put 4 drops in her water bowl. For the chewing, maybe some bitter apple or that type of spray on the bandages will deter her. Also distracting her with a toy or something to chew on. Right now, I would start by leaving her for just a 10 minutes, I would be calm and just say "good bye, be good" and leave. Upon returning I would ignore the hyperventilating (my husky did that and the more attention she got the worse she did it) but be very calm - say hello and that is it. I would also leave a radio or tv on so she can hear sound. I would do that several times a day - gradually increasing the time so she gets used to being alone again. If possible, I would also leave her outside for some of the alone time if there is secure fenced in backyard.
 

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I have not found Rescue Remedy particularly effective in the long term but it does work for some dogs. You can also get a DAP diffuser to plug in and you could try something like Melatonin or one of the herbal calming treats.

I suspect her anxiety comes from the lack of stimulation, exercise, etc. Are their mind games you can play with her to help ease her boredom?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
She can't be exercised at the moment as she just had surgery and has a metal plate and screws in her ankle. I will try leaving her for small amount of time per Mary Beth suggestion and see how it goes. Thanks!
 
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