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TriTitch
1st February 2008, 02:57 AM
Not able to post this in the heath section for some reason....

Am running out of steam regarding my beautiful sweet baby Titch.

A little background - I got him at 10 months having being told he snaps and messes - my **** lol!!
He has never shown any aggression and has never once messed indoors!

He is the most gorgeous well behaved dog you could wish for except for once thing primarily - he is driving me insane with his seperation anxiety issue.
It used to be that I would go out and he would bark....often for min 15 mins at a time and be beside himself on my homecoming - this has been a problem with neighbours and such as he used to make a racket scratching at doors.
Since i have started working 11-3 mondays and fridays he has become severely stressed when I am not there :(
Literally licking windows(he climbs on window sills)wrecking and chewing net curtains,salivating(his chest is soaking wet upon my return)and sweating and leaving a profound `doggy`sweat smell behind.

Today I purposefully waited til 2 of my children were in before I walked into town to pay a couple of bills and do a couple of chores etc.I was gone 1 and a half hours.Titch had the company of my 13 and 17 year old while I was gone yet he chose to sit on the window sill in the sitting room and whine the whole entire time I was gone :( My kids tryed to coax him into a cuddle or a treat but he wasnt having any of it.

My hearfelt question and plea to you all is....What an earth do I do? Im obviously upset that my curtains are being destroyed and my neighbours of 12 years are distressed to the point they feel they have to knock but Im more unsettled as to the fact that Titch is working himself up to the state where he cannot be seperated from me for one second.
I work as a barmaid in a pub that allows no dogs so there is no chance of bringing him with me and even if there was there`ll always be an instance in the future where he is going to be have to left alone for a short period.

Please feel free to ask for more info...all I want is for my dog to be happy,I feel I am in the wrong by not tuning into his needs adequately,therefore being a bad fur baby mum :(

casshon
1st February 2008, 08:26 AM
Molly had quite bad seperation anxiety when we adopted her at age 4 (she's with us now a year and a half). She would howl and squeal if I went out of the room for 10 seconds. One thing I would definitely recommend getting is a DAP and perhaps some Dr. Petals elixir (it's a bit like rescue remedy for dogs). You will need to build up slowly - start by leaving the room for a few seconds (with no fuss) and if he behaves on your return treat him. At first I brought the 2 dogs everywhere with me throughout the house (still do really :rolleyes:), that includes bathroom, showers etc. because Molly could not bear to be without me but she is a lot better now.

It might also be a good idea to crate him (if he is used to it) so he can do less damage to the house and himself. Leaving him with a treat filled kong will keep him occupied for a while.

It will take time but I hope Titch gets better :luv:.

Karlin
1st February 2008, 12:00 PM
That's frustrating all right! :flwr:

As noted, you need to take the time to train him to accept your not being there, and you also need to have a safe place to put him -- like to a single small room -- not allow him the run of the house (when kids aren't there that is)? Most dogs will be a lot more comfortable in a small area rather than a whole house if they are anxiety prone (my Jaspar is like this). Someone once explained it like this: where would you rather sit and wait for someone, alone in a small reception room with some magazines and things to keep you busy or on a chair alone in the middle of a football field?

If he is licking and chewing things, remember this is normal dog behaviour but gone a bit crazy. To prevent this start by removing his ability to access the things you don't want him to access (just as you wouldn't leave a toddler in a room full of things that could be knocked off tables and broken). Incidentally, what did your kids do when he was doing all this? Surely he shouldn't have been able to chew curtains etc if they were with him (or was this previous times?)? Were they just in the house and let him do as he wished, or were they in the room with him watching, or what? If they were elsewhere in the house this clearly didn't seem to him to be a substitute for your presence and therefore he ran about panicking and doing as he wished. He probably needs to be brought in a room with one of them if left like this.

But yes you are right this is extreme behaviour. He sounds like he has perhaps too closely bonded just to you and not to anyone else. I'd start having your family take on the jobs of feeding and walking and grooming him and you halt those things entirely, so he starts to associate good things with a range of people.

I'd first really recommend signing him up for obedience if you have not done this, or keep him in classes, if you have done one before (a positive methods class, not a 'correction method' class) as you will build his confidence and comfort through teaching him self control in such a class. Also I'd recommend taking him for a half hour brisk walk BEFORE you go to work so that he has had a fair amount of exercise and is tired (a tired, exercised dog is a happier dog and ready for a nice nap). If he is left alone for manyhours each day, consider a companion dog -- this really is not a breed that does well left alone anyway, and I do not like to home dogs where they will be singletons unless there's a person around most of the day or there is a system in place to give the dog a break midday or otherwise address this long block of time alone. But you are really only talking about a small period alone.

At the same time I think you need to get a good trainer in to work with you and assess the situation as his activites are pretty extreme. That indicates he really has no idea how to be confident and comfortable on his own. It means you will need to start leaving him alone for very small increments (including while you are still in the house) and work up to longer periods. It means confining him to smaller area not leaving him in the whole house on his own. It means learning to understand the ways in which you are probably, unconsciously REWARDING his anxiety (eg do you make a fuss over him when you come home from work? Do you make a fuss over him before leaving? Do you return to him when you hear him barking and barking in the house or scratching? All this rewards the unwanted behaviour and teaches him that if he goes crazy, you return, and that his behaviour was the correct response to your departure. Have a look at www.apdt.com on the find a trainer section and you can find people in the UK with this good certification. :)

Here is more detailed information on methods of training andtechniques for addressing this poroblem, from the Library:

http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=14390

Remember, this isn't really a problem of his creating, this is normal dog behaviour when it suddenly finds itself abandoned (as he sees it) that the owner needs to take the time to train and/or make provisions to create an environment that isn't as stressful for an animal that is totally oriented towards a social group, not being alone. Hos rection right now is extreme, but the source of the problem is the same, andisaddressed the same way -- time and training.

There are a range of things to try and consider and with him and focus I know one or a combination will work for you! :thmbsup: Just keep in mind there are no easy shortcuts -- you will have to put the time in to train. Crate training may actually be the best situation for him, too... especially as you are only talking about a maximum four hour stretch. You'd be surprised how much more comfortable a crate trained dog can be to one running through the house.

Halina
1st February 2008, 02:03 PM
I work school hours and dealt with the separation anxiety by using blankets, pet bed, crate and baby play yard.

We started by playing and cuddeling with a special blanket and pet bed (I used for pillow when playing on the floor) so these items had our scent. At night, she had her bed and blanket in "her little den". When I was home, I keep her in a play yard, if I had to leave the room; she has her crate and all of her toys. So it was a gradual thing working with scent and tools (toys, bed, blanket). She now loves her crate at 6 months and keeping the playyard open when I am home, she will retreive toys, etc.... she knows where her sanctuary is & when I say "night night" she runs into her crate waiting for the last cuddle and the final cover-up with her blanket.

I also placed the crate/playard in a central location of the house so someone was always visible.
There are many books available dealing with separation anxiety with pets and giving them their own sanctuary really helps.

nubus
1st February 2008, 09:49 PM
yes i agree the crates are a good idea ruby loves hers although now its always open she just toddles in soon as i come to turn the kitchen light of she knows its bed time and gose inside and when i get my coat she goes in now only if its not my walking coat then she jumps with glea as she knows its walkys and she is very close to use all but shes got the separation thing all wrapped up as when we come back theres lots of cuddles which she loves but some dogs are harder to adapt my mum has the same problem hope you sort it out though for both of you:xfngr:

cosmic81
3rd February 2008, 06:44 AM
no saying good bye to the puppie dog. - try not to look at the dog if you could. i know its hard. but give it a try for a couple of weeks.
only says hi when he calms down.

anticipation is bad for them!

really helped me!!

babs
3rd February 2008, 10:31 PM
ALEX is 5 months old and when im taking the kids to school each morning 'i dont take alex with me its just too cold' we found ourselves sneaking out on him the kids were getting worried and myself so what we do now is dont make a fuss give him a treat and leave straight away he feels that you going is nice cos he gets a treat it worked with us when alex sees us getting ready to leave in the morning he goes straight to the drawer where his treats are being kept and sits calmly in his basket :)

Caraline
4th February 2008, 05:55 AM
:xctly: what Karlin said.

In addition to this, when you come back from wherever you are, don't make a big fuss of him. The idea is that everything should be normal & calm. When you leave him, you don't make a big fuss. Just put him where he has to be and leave without looking back. When you come back, don't rush straight to him. Go & get yourself into your comfortable clothese or wheatever. Then let him out without without fanfare. Also if you leave him with your family, instruct them to ignore him and not give him treats while he is freaking out, as this will only enforce the behaviour.

I do feel sorry for you though. This would be very upsetting.

Oh, adding a bit more here: At dog obedience classes, we do work on separation anxiety. We started off by tying our dogs to the fence, telling them to stay, and then just walking a couple of paces away and turning our backs to them, for only a short time to start. Then we would calmly return to them, stand there ignoring them for a little while longer, then untie them & reward. Later we progressed to walking much further away, again not looking at them. The next phase was to walk to a place where they could not see us, and ignore them for about 5 minutes. I remember there were some dogs that would go absolutely hysterical at first, but now they all calmly sit or lay & wait for their owners to come back to them. This is teaching them that even though we might vanish, we will always return.

TriTitch
5th February 2008, 01:36 AM
Hi,wow what brilliant suggestions and pointers,I dont know where to start so Ill just begin in the middle:D

Ive always fancied the idea of a crate but I have visions of - as soon as the crate door is shut on him he`ll woof the house down - I dunno just call it mums intuition! If this does happen what do I do? If I open the door again straight away he`ll think that by woofing the door gets opened wont he?If I leave it shut for a while wont he just work himself up into a state?
The first night I brought him home I put his nice comfy bed with a familiar blanket in the kitchen,said a calm goodnight and went to bed.He barked all night til 5am which was fun :p but to be expected.
The second night I did the same and by 3am I was so tired that I went downstairs,picked him,his bed and his blanket up,deposited all items next to my bed and thats where his bed has stayed ever since!
Would I be best putting the crate upstairs where his bed is or purchasing another bed and putting the crate downstairs in a more central place?
In which case would I then be not using the crate as a bed at night,just somewhere he goes in the day with the door shut if we`re out and open if we`re in?

Regarding dog training,there is a place about 10 mins walk from me on a Wednesday night so Im going to go :) Ive been training before with my mums old dog and two of my past dogs.The most recent class I attended did focus on positive reinforcement but the two classes before were into check chains etc - not good.
From what I can gather this one is a `Teach your dog to do what you ask cos he wants to not because hes scared into it`but we shall see.

Im also gonna take him to pets at home tomorrow to get him a puppia type harness and a kong.

I normally take Titch for a walk about 3.30-4.30 - whenever I get IN from being out so maybe he sees this as a reward for making such a fuss cos walkies comes soon after I get back :rolleyes:
Taking him before is a great idea and it makes sense.
Starting from tomorrow I shall also start giving him a treat BEFORE I go out.
I have already been telling Titch a very short,calm goodbye and basically ignoring him when I come home until hes calmed down so at least Ive been getting that bit right!

As it is Titch is probably left for a maximum of 15 hours a week.The 4.5 hour stints on a mon and fri being the longest stretches.
9 times out of 10 there is usually someone around and he is never on his own in the evenings.
I have considered getting another dog but I dont feel I am ready at this moment to double the workload and financial expenses.I think Titch needs my undivided attention to iron out his problems,getting another could spark off more issues in him and what if the new dog had more than his fair share of problems that he needed help with?(I would 110% get a rescue)He does have the cat for company/to terrorise/to simulate mating with :D

Oh, adding a bit more here: At dog obedience classes, we do work on separation anxiety. We started off by tying our dogs to the fence, telling them to stay, and then just walking a couple of paces away and turning our backs to them, for only a short time to start. Then we would calmly return to them, stand there ignoring them for a little while longer, then untie them & reward. Later we progressed to walking much further away, again not looking at them. The next phase was to walk to a place where they could not see us, and ignore them for about 5 minutes. I remember there were some dogs that would go absolutely hysterical at first, but now they all calmly sit or lay & wait for their owners to come back to them. This is teaching them that even though we might vanish, we will always return.
That would be wonderful if the club that Im going to on wednesday did that with me,I shall enquire ;)

Sorry this post is so long and thanks so much for your help,I`ll let you know how training goes :dogwlk:

nubus
5th February 2008, 11:22 PM
i do feel for you i crated ruby as soon as i brought her home i thought it was cruel at first but was definatly the right move she was house trained in weeks and its her own little den now and as shes used to it no longer needs to be told to go in or needs the door shut in fact she wont let me take it away now but every dogs differant some loath them some love them but you could try one it wont hurt but be patient and its not cruel if its used right she winned for a while and i did nearly give in i felt awfull:( but it payed off you may have it a little harder as she has had it from a pup but anythings worth a go i do hope you sort it out it must be destressing for you both good luck:xfngr:

TriTitch
7th February 2008, 02:08 AM
Hiya,Thank you

Titch and I went doggy training tonight and it was good.:)

Much more fun for the dogs than the last one I attended 5 years ago.Its like a mums and toddlers group. :D

I asked the trainer if he endorses or uses check chains and he said no,phew!He doesnt specifically do any exersizes in the beginners class that incorporates a stay where Titch cant see me - he does that in the second class he says - seeing as the 2nd class are all now currently aiming for the silver I guess thats when he means(Ive got a print out of whats required for the silver so I shall have to hunt it out and have a look)He didnt think at Titch`s age(he`s 3)that he would adapt too well to a crate.
Well,even if he doesnt help me and Titch individually I get good vibes about this place and I think it`ll be good for Titch to have a hobby once a week :)

Ive also bought Titch a kong with some kong treats and some kong paste.It says to smear some of the paste round the inside of the kong and freeze it so thats what I`ve done! I tried the kong and a treat with him yesterday under my supervision and all he did was chew the end off the treat then lose interest! Maybe if Im not there he`ll go for it with a bit more enthusiasm - we`ll see.Perhaps the paste as well as the treat will entice him more.
Im going out for lunch tomorrow between about 11 and 3 so I shall test it out then.:xfngr:

casshon - One thing I would definitely recommend getting is a DAP and perhaps some Dr. Petals elixir
What is a DAP? and where can I find Dr.Petals elixir - do the vets do it or a pet shop?

Karlin - If he is licking and chewing things, remember this is normal dog behaviour but gone a bit crazy. To prevent this start by removing his ability to access the things you don't want him to access (just as you wouldn't leave a toddler in a room full of things that could be knocked off tables and broken). Incidentally, what did your kids do when he was doing all this? Surely he shouldn't have been able to chew curtains etc if they were with him (or was this previous times?)? Were they just in the house and let him do as he wished, or were they in the room with him watching, or what? If they were elsewhere in the house this clearly didn't seem to him to be a substitute for your presence and therefore he ran about panicking and doing as he wished. He probably needs to be brought in a room with one of them if left like this.

But yes you are right this is extreme behaviour. He sounds like he has perhaps too closely bonded just to you and not to anyone else. I'd start having your family take on the jobs of feeding and walking and grooming him and you halt those things entirely, so he starts to associate good things with a range of people.

No he is normally well behaved(albiet a bit sulky)if there is at least one person in the house even if its not me - that occasion where he whined the whole time I was away was a first but was the turning point where I thought -this is getting worse and needs to be addressed,tackled and overcome.I dont think its fair to let him suffer if there is a possibility of helping him to become calmer and happier when nobodies there.
I did think of the theory of sharing his day-to-day care with the kids in the hope it would help him in regards to his attatchment to me but where they`re not used to the routine of doing it they keep forgetting to feed him :eek:
My youngest(13)is always cuddling him and paying him attention and from the day dot she has taken on the role of groomer and she always helps me bathe and blow dry him :)

Halina - There are many books available dealing with separation anxiety with pets and giving them their own sanctuary really helps.
Can you recommend a good book?

Theresa
8th February 2008, 08:25 PM
Jan Fennell, The dog Listener and The practical dog listener.

Absolutely fab books!! She basically uses a method incorporating all the things that people have talked about on here but it makes so much sense. There are also people trained in the method who will come and help you if need be. Look on the website.

She would say that your pup thinks HE is the alpha wolf and as such is in charge of protecting the pack (you and the rest of your family!). When you go out, he has no idea where you have gone and if he will ever see you again and he is stressed out like a mother who cannot see her babies.

I don't know what others think of this book but it helped me a lot with our frightened rescue schnauzer. Good luck!! :)

TriTitch
12th February 2008, 11:54 AM
Thank you,am going past a good book shop tomorrow so shall try and get hold of one or both of them.Can anyone else list any book they think might help us? I may as well go for broke while Im in there!

Im so desperate I`d buy the whole shop if I thought It`d help!

casshon
12th February 2008, 12:13 PM
What is a DAP? and where can I find Dr.Petals elixir - do the vets do it or a pet shop?


Most vets carry DAPS - they are expensive but I think they do work.

http://www.dogtrainingireland.ie/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=41

http://www.dogtrainingireland.ie/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=10

Daisy's Mom
12th February 2008, 02:41 PM
In response to the part of your post about the location of the crate. We kept Daisy's crate right beside our bed for the first few months (maybe 4-5?). Then at some point, we just left it in the family room which is 2 rooms over from our bedroom. She didn't seem to mind. She's always been fine with her crate, though. Only whimpered a couple of times the very first night at our house to go outside. After I took her out, she was fast asleep till she needed to go out again. Even though I was home full time for the first month and a half with her, I made sure to put her in her crate for short periods during that time, so she would be used to being left alone in her crate.

We probably have 2 saving graces with Daisy as far as separation anxiety/crate training. First, she is HIGHLY treat-motivated so she will literally run in her crate for a treat, tail wagging furiously. We use the stuffed Kong, too. We started out sealing it up with Cheese, but she really isn't too hot on cheese, so we now just put various size chunks of treats in there, trying to put a larger one near the top so it's a little bit of a challenge for her. I also put some sort of chewie in the crate with her to give her a longer term occupation. (I'm careful of the type, and she has never choked on anything in her life, but if your dog is prone to choking on things, then this wouldn't be a good idea for him.)

The 2nd saving grace is that she is probably very high on the independence scale for a cavalier. She is velcro at times, but there are many times when she wanders out of the room we're in and goes to a quiet place to lay down. She even did this at the breeder's when we picked her up. She played with us and then wandered away by herself. It's a good fit for us since we do leave her alone up to 6 hours on some days. Sometimes when we're home all day, I think she is thinking "Will you people leave already so I can get my long nap in?"

Twinkle
5th August 2008, 02:19 AM
Generally, how bad is separation anxiety in Cavaliers? I am hoping to get a Cavalier later this year. Currently I work part time and would have someone to let the puppy out in the middle of my shift. When I transition into a full-time job I plan to hire a dog walker. Will that help with SA, or prevent it all together, or is it the case with Cavaliers that they can't be left crated/alone for more that 3 hours or so? If that is the case, are there no working individuals with Cavaliers?

Cleo's Person
5th August 2008, 09:50 AM
How is Titch gett ing on now. Have the classes helped?

To answer Twinkles question, our Cleo just goes to sleep when were out. We both work full time, but my Mum calls in during the day to see her and take her for a walk, so she's never on her own for more than 3-4 hours. She seems to cope fine with this, and never displays signs of anxiety.

LucieLiu
6th August 2008, 12:09 PM
All

Looking for some advice with regards to my 10 month old puppy who has NEVER suffered from any type of seperation anxiety, even when she was very small, until a few weeks ago. We have not changed her routine at all and she heads off into her bed as usual about 11pm when I'm going to bed. However, the last 6/7 nights, she wakes the whole street with her holwing at 3am. It lasts for about 2/3 hours! When I go down to her, she hops out of her bed and is ready for play!
Any advice about this?? I'm getting a bit anxious myself - lol :razz:

The only thing I can think of is that she was on antibiotics recently for a cough.

Thanks