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Thread: Separation Anxiety?

  1. #1
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    Default Separation Anxiety?

    Barkleigh is almost 7 months old and doing fantastically. We have been rather devoted to him. I work at home mostly, and he sleeps under my desk. When I go to the office (where I work with my husband), he comes too and has a whole set up there. Sometimes he spends the day there with his dad. We have also left him at home with the housekeeper, with neighbors while we go out to dinner, overnight with the housekeeper. If I am out for 1-3 hours, he is in his "day" crate.

    At night, he cuddles with us for a while watching TV, then with the word, "Nite-nite" he jumps off and goes into his crate with the door shut. He comes back to cuddle in the morning. He loves a routine and is perfect....

    BUT...

    Lately if he "loses" me in one room he howls pitifully. Or, sometimes I must tether him to tend to something messy like cat barf (he loves hairballs) and again he howls. And, if I crate him and go out for a bit, I can hear the howls outside. I know he settles down because he is quiet when I get home, but agitated for awhile until he realizes I am home to stay. I always give him a treat in the crate or when tethered and another when I return.

    How can I make him feel more secure? Or is he just Mama's boy?

    He was neutered 2 weeks ago at 6 months.

  2. #2
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    First I want to say, if I end up with a 7mth old dog that well behaved I will be thrilled! Wow he sounds really nice so you've done a good job. I know my other dog had issues with separation (rooms included) around that age, so personally, I think he will work through it as it appears your doing nothing wrong. In the meantime I'd try finding a special treat - or toy that he only gets when you gone for the crate. The house situation I think I would ignore. We used to tell our lab, Back Soon when we went out versus just going to the garage or mail box. It might reduce the house anxiety because your stating you are infact going but will return.

  3. #3
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    I would read up on seperation anxiety there are lots of different approaches and things you can change. Like ignore him before you leave and when you come home for 10 minutes or so. Don't make a big fuss when you do leave or return with kisses etc and go in and out regular even if its only for 2 mins then 5 then 10 etc and build it up in time, this way he learns you will come back and will settle ???

    Its so hard though, I would never leave the boys side given the chance and cuddle all day
    Luvzcavs xx
    Harry (tri) and Digby (blen).

  4. #4
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    When we leave to shop, etc. Quincy is placed in his XPEN with a treat. We leave the house nonchalantly, and return very casually like we had been outside for just a moment. Most of the time he is waking up from a nap when we arrive home, and he stretches and yawns before he even wants out of the XPEN. I know I am repeating what others have said, but this attitude works for us too.

  5. #5
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    Default

    I think some dogs are just more prone to separation anxiety. There is a test that measures your dog's pack drive, prey drive, and fight or flight levels. Our very first dog trainer had us take the test when we were in puppy class with India, our first and only cavalier puppy at the time. She was almost off the scale with her overly high pack drive instincts, and our trainer immediately started us on an anti-separation anxiety plan, doing several of the things that luvscavs mentioned.

    I was still very concerned about India, because my sister had an adult male pointer mix who had separation anxiety, and he did a lot of damage to her house as well as injuring himself during anxiety attacks. So I opted for getting a second dog within 3 months of getting her. We were planning to buy a second cavalier later, but felt we shouldn't wait. She is now very well adjusted, thank goodness!

    I then had to work very, very hard so they would not get 'litter mate syndrome' which can happen when you have 2 puppies and they get too attached to each other. Actually 'litter mate syndrome' can lead to separation anxiety too. Believe me it was a lot of work!!!! Now they are 3.5 yrs old and well-trained. India is a TDI therapy dog, and Geordie is my agility boy!

    I agree wholeheartedly with luvscavs; please read up on separation anxiety, and possibly work with a trainer to help him while he's young. It's so much easier to help them when they are youngsters!
    Cathy Moon
    India(tri-F) Geordie(blen-M)Chocolate(b&t-F)Charlie(at the bridge)

  6. #6
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    Also: it is important for your dog to be able to be alone; though it is great he almost always has company. This won't always be the case though. Dogs need to be gradually trained to have confidence in being on their own -- including while you are still in the house. EG you should be able to crate him or confine him to a room, for sporadic periods of time, and have him comfortable with that, even though you are elsewhere in the house. Remember if you respond to his whining you are leting HIM train YOU and also teaching him that when he behaves in this unpelasant way, her gets a reward -- your attention. So you have to ignore it. But ignore in a structured way.

    Here's is some starter info to read on training:

    http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=5910
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  7. #7
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    One of the key things I've learned is to make coming and going a non-event. Luckily I've not had a problem with anxiety but have seen it in a couple of my fosters. One of them would just sit and stare at the front door. I hated to leave him..it just broke my heart. I have heard from his new family that it is no longer an issue with him. My guys get a treat and I don't say anything as I walk away. They are left behind a puppy gate in the family room and don't see me leave the house as I go through the garage door. When I come home I don't immediately greet them and I don't immediately give them any treats. I want the treats to be associated by my leaving not my coming home.

    The other thing I did the first few times I left was listen at the door. I could hear Jake barking and would stand there until I didn't hear him anymore. Once I realized he only barked for 5 minutes or so I felt okay leaving and knowing that he did settle down.
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

  8. #8
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    Default Non-events

    It is hard to resist that wagging tail, but I think non-event is a good idea.

    When I want something he has, it is best to pretend I don't care rather than chase or yell. (Easier to say than do when he's biting into a tube of cream or a leaking pen!)

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