View Full Version : Will she settle?

7th August 2009, 08:40 AM
Since we got Chrissie four weeks ago she's been quite unsettled at night. She's fine when we're up and about with her but as soon as it's bedtime she paces around the house. In fairness she has improved slightly but is wide awake from about 4.30am onwards. I work shift, mixture of days and nights so we don't have the dogs sleeping in with us but let them in at about 8am. On a few occasions when it's gone past 7am Chrissie has peed and pooped in the house. We think this is probably from distress. I was home at 3.30am this morning and she pooped outside and when my oh got up at 7.30 Chrissie had pooped/peed in the kitchen. It's not that this is the problem but we just don't know what to do to make her feel more secure.
We suspected that she suffered from separation anxiety so we set up the camcorder and left the house several times. She was scratching like crazy at the front door/glass and pacing a lot. We leave her for short periods and are gradually increasing the time. The longest she's been left is 1hr 15m and she appeared to be ok. She chews like crazy and we hear her chewing her squeaky at night (which we take off her now) so we think she gets distressed when we go to bed. In ways she seems fine and appears very confident but the poor little girl also gets nervous and she cowers a lot. We just don't know which way to turn now.
We're going away for 3 days in September and are leaving her with a relative but we have no idea what she's going to be like. We've tried crate training her to see if she feels more secure and while she was happy to be in the crate playing once she makes no effort to stay in it. Even now as I type this my oh have just left for the shop and George is sitting beside me while Chrissie is pacing from the hall to the kitchen.
Can anyone give me any advice? My oh is out of work so obediance classes wouldn't exactly be an option right now (unless of course they would definitely work).
We've been in touch with the shelter where we got her to try and find out about her medical history. They contacted her previous owner (who wasn't happy to see them) and she said she had no problems medically and the reason she didn't want her back because she was "too hyper."
I honestly can't say what type of past Chrissie had but I suspect she was put out a lot, either as punishment or just left outside. She hated being outside when we got her but she now knows that that's where we play and get a treat! :-) Thanks in advance.

Kizzys Mum
7th August 2009, 09:35 AM
I would persevere with the crate training - just taking it slowly. But once they like and enjoy the crate; they find it a relaxing and safe place to be. We only use the crate now for Bella (who is still in the house training phase), but the others all willingly go in crates if necessary. Maybe get a bigger crate and try crating her with George? Good luck!

Claire L
7th August 2009, 09:57 AM
My Minnie suffered from separation anxiety when she came to us first. She slept in the kitchen for two nights and then she pounded the door down. I put a bed beside our bed and she was fine from then on. I also put up a crate in the lounge for about a month and left it open at both sides. She went in and out of it to get treats and Cara just lay in it. I eventually put two crates beside our bed and the girls slept either together or separately, depending on the temperature (I think :)) I put a light cover over the top of the crates so that they were like a little den.

If I went out of the house, cara would lie in the hall waiting for me to return and Minnie always went upstairs to her crate; she felt really safe there.

I know all dogs are different but I would suggest that you persevere with the crate training and when she gets used to it, put it in a corner and put a cover over the top. That way she will fell safe when she goes inside it .

Love my Cavaliers
7th August 2009, 01:28 PM
I agree with Claire and Kizzy's mum - work on the crate training. All of my dogs were crate trained and slept in a crate until they were at least a year old. For some reason, about 3 months ago Oz started going through what I assumed was separation anxiety at night. He would scratch on the door to the room where they slept and just whine, whine, whine. I wrote about it on here and most people responded by saying to put him back in his crate. It took exactly one night of adjustment. Now he goes right in at night and is quiet until I get him up. I also put a blanket over it to make it seem more like a den. Keep it up, she'll get it.

7th August 2009, 01:51 PM
Thank you so much for all the replies. I'll keep up the crate training and hopefully that will be the solution. The thing that baffles me is that even if she's in a crate it's not going to solve the issue of her wanting to be in with us. If we have Chrissie in with us in a crate, then George will want to come in! :-) Like I said it's very hard to have them in because of my sleeping patterns. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

7th August 2009, 01:59 PM
Direct quote from The Humane Society Of The United States:

Separation Anxiety. Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but he may injure himself in an attempt to escape from the crate. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counter-conditioning and desensitization procedures. You may want to consult a professional animal-behavior specialist for help.


Maybe seeing a professional is the way to go.

7th August 2009, 02:13 PM
The thing that baffles me is that even if she's in a crate it's not going to solve the issue of her wanting to be in with us. If we have Chrissie in with us in a crate, then George will want to come in!

With each dog we've ever owned, they've been crated at night for house-training purposes. Each puppy has suffered the separation anxiety from their litter and human companionship at night, in the beginning, and they strongly voiced their opinion (er...displeasure) at being crated in another part of the house at night. We even crate a dog we "dog-sit" at night and have to bring him into our bedroom because the howling and barking was so awful when left in a crate in another room.

So we learned to bring the crated pup into our bedroom from the first night on. A couple months later, when each puppy feels secure, we move the crate into another room for the evening.

Even if you have to allow George back into your bedroom (not necessarily your bed), it may only be for a month.

Have you considered putting George in the same crate with Chrissie at night?

7th August 2009, 03:33 PM
I suggest crate training as well, even though it's true that crate training doesn't necessarily "help" separation anxiety. However, just because they're anxious to be alone doesn't mean that the crate won't help them feel slightly better about having to be alone.

Puppy has insane separation anxiety. When I first got her she used to urinate/defecate when left alone. She's far better now, a year and some change later, but she's never been particularly destructive, she's basically a pacer/whiner when she gets nervous. However, I crate trained her and when I get ready to leave, grab my things and all, I pat the crate and she rushes in and I give her a treat, turn the TV on, and leave.

For her, it helped to establish a clear cut leaving routine or a signal knowing that I'm leaving - such as the TV (which really helps her out, actually).

And immediately it won't work, trainers suggest slowly increasing the time in the crate and so forth, but I didn't go that method. The method I took (because I didn't really have time to go in and out training her like that) was everytime she goes in the crate and lies down and is quiet, she'll get a treat. And when I leave for school/work, she gets a better treat - like a cream cheese/yogurt/peanut butter filled kong, or a chew.

Good luck though, eventually she'll just start remembering the patterns and knowing that even though she doesn't like for you to leave, you are coming back.

Oh yeah: I also suggest crating them separately, not together. And just training them both to go in their crates for whatever reason because while training Chrissie, George may want to copycat and get treats and things too, hehe.

7th August 2009, 03:36 PM
Even if you have to allow George back into your bedroom (not necessarily your bed), it may only be for a month.

Have you considered putting George in the same crate with Chrissie at night?

We had George in with us in the beginning but he manages to sprawl himself across the bed and snores REALLY loudly! :-) It took us a long time then to get him into the routine of sleeping on the couch and then he's allowed in for a while in the morning. He's well used to that now so we didn't want to go down the road of upsetting his routine.

To be honest no, we haven't considered putting George into the crate. He seems to dislike closed in spaces. Apart from that he sleeps great on the couch and can be left alone for a few hours with no trouble at all.