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Coco's mom
16th October 2006, 06:45 AM
Coco is doing well, now just shy of 16 weeks. (I can't believe she is growing up so fast!) I have stayed at home with Coco ever since she arrived. I think she may be too attached to me though. If I leave her with another family member for a few hours, she cries and whines before I leave and just a little after I have left. When I return home, she greets me eagerly, but later she whines as she looks at me. :( It breaks my heart. :cry*ing:

Even if Coco sees me gathering my keys, purse, and coat, she begins to cry. My dad puppysits and she adores my dad.

I don’t want this to get worse. I thought I was taking the right measures to prevent separation anxiety, but clearly not! I’d really like to nip this behavior in the bud. I really appreciate any suggestions!!!! :flwr:

judy
16th October 2006, 10:16 AM
you can leave her for increasing amounts of time and she can learn that life goes on, you must try (hard as it is) to not show your own anxiety, have a casual air when you leave, and don't have a big exciting greeting when you return, just be cordial but like it's not a big deal (and encourage her puppy sitters to lightweight the whole thing). she'll probably take her cues from you and other caregivers.

Leave her often, and do it casually, and ignore her histrionics, don't comfort her or soothe her when she's doing that. You can still be friendly, but i think being casual and emotionally light is probably the needed approach here. rather than hug or pet her when you get back, just speak to her cheerfully, and maybe throw her ball for her to chase, encourage a little game of tug o war or something, disengage from the whole emotional attachment ritual. there can be time for affection and cuddling later.

anyway, that's what i'd try to do. you may already be trying things like this.

maybe you can get her another puppy to keep her company while you're gone. :D

hopefully people here experienced in behavior training can give you some good ideas.

Karlin
16th October 2006, 02:42 PM
16 weeks is very young and she is crying first off because she is only a puppy and the way puppies stay safe is by expecting an adult to look after them. She's letting you know she is in distress and looking for you when you cannot be seen. At the same time she needs to learn a degree of independence and this doesn't come unless you teach it gradually over time. One thing you are doing is giving clear signals to her that you are leaving so you need to desensitise her to expecting that when you pick up keys you are leaving. (see articles below on how to do this). Also you need to work to build up times that you are away and when you return,, return (and depart) without making ANY fuss over her. Totally ignore her when you return for 5 minutes until she settles down and once she has been quiet for at least a minute, then greet her. Same with going out -- get her set up where you leave her and then just leave. If you are matter of fact about departures and arrivals she will be too. If you make a big deal out of them then she will see them as hugely significant events to get very excited/upset about.

It takes time and effort but will pay off. Here's some good reading on how to do this:

http://deesdogs.com/documents/teachingyourdogtostayhomealone.pdf

http://deesdogs.com/documents/separationanxiety.pdf

Good luck!

Cathy T
16th October 2006, 05:47 PM
My Jake is very bonded to me. To the point that it is annoying sometimes. I can't hand him off to anyone (including my husband!) when we are out because he puts up such a fuss. Shelby will go with anyone no problem. When I leave him at the groomer's he carries on. She said that after I've left he's fine. I have no problems leaving him at home though. We are going to work on this when we start training next weekend, believe me!!

When I leave the house I close off the puppy gate, give them each a treat and just walk out. I do go out the garage so they don't actually see me walking out the front door. When I come home I don't greet either immediately. I walk in and put down my purse, check the message machine, open up the doggie door and then say hi. But it's a vey casual hi. There's no manic kisses (at least not until I've been home for a while :) ).

Cathy Moon
17th October 2006, 01:09 AM
When I leave the house I close off the puppy gate, give them each a treat and just walk out. I do go out the garage so they don't actually see me walking out the front door. When I come home I don't greet either immediately. I walk in and put down my purse, check the message machine, open up the doggie door and then say hi. But it's a vey casual hi. There's no manic kisses (at least not until I've been home for a while :) ).

Cathy, you are describing exactly what I do every day! :) When India was a pup (and our only pup), she started showing separation anxiety symptoms. We were very careful to keep everything to do with coming and going very low key. We got Geordie fairly soon after, because her 'pack drive' score was so high!

When we first brought Chocky home, she cried a lot whenever we left, but she soon realized she'd get a treat, then one of us would return within 4 hrs! I think having Geordie and India there helped her adjust quickly, though! :flwr:

Coco's mom
17th October 2006, 10:10 PM
:thnku: for the prompt replies! I got to try some of the new strategies already and I'm seeing improvements. :) (although Judy, I didn't get another cavalier to keep Coco company ;) )

When leaving the house for a couple of hours last night, Coco was in the kitchen with my parents, which is closed off with a baby gate. I had gathered my purse, keys, and coat earlier so she didn't hear or see me looking for any of them. Still, she noticed I was not there with her. I had prepared a kong for her though, so my dad gave that to her, and she was completely distracted! When I returned home, I came in very quietly, and avoided her for about 10 minutes. She didn't see me come through the front door, or with my with shoes, my coat or anything, and I acted like nothing had happened. It went pretty well!
Thank you so much! I'll keep this up and hopefully she will get better. :flwr:

Cathy Moon
18th October 2006, 12:47 AM
That's wonderful how you're helping her adjust! cl*p