7th June 2012, 10:25 AM
Speration Anxiety - Help
Am looking for some advice on how to stop my cavalier - Lady from crying and scratching my kitchen door every night at bed time. She is roughly 4-6 years of age and is a rescue dog. She has been with me for a week now and other than the night time problem she is and excellent wee thing and I love her to bits but I hate hearing her cry and throw a temper tantrum every night, plus my kitchen door is now looking the worst for wear!!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated
8th June 2012, 06:07 AM
Have you considered trying crate training? Crate training Lady could help with her separation anxiety, and save your kitchen door!!
There is a ton of information about how to do it effectively on cavaliertalk. My little guy suffers from separation anxiety too, but has become much better since we worked on the crate training. He came to us at 5 months, and was not crate trained. Before crate training, we tried leaving him just on the porch before we went out during the day (even though it was a short time). He would run from window to window and cry terribly. We slowly acclimated him to the crate, using positive reinforcement with treats like the Ian Dunbar books describe (you can find the links to his books through a search on this forum). We realized that he benefits with not seeing us leave (we put a kong towards the back of the cage, and position his crate just out of view of the door). Now, he views his crate as his haven. When we have to leave him for a bit, he jumps right into the crate and is content (we find him sleeping when we return 90% of the time).
It helped greatly with his nighttime routine as well. We would give him a treat, turn out the lights, and head to bed. We would not give him any prolonged good-night kisses or attention... simply closed the crate door and walked the other way after giving him a carrot. For the first few nights, he would cry usually for 15-30 min. We would let him cry it out, making an EXTREME effort to not give in to his cries (the first few nights I cried a bit hearing him). After a week, it eventually he stopped all together. He came to expect the routine...into the cage, get a treat, lights out. He would occasionally let us know in the middle of the night if he had to pee, but was making it through most nights without a peep! As a side note, my husband and I now let him sleep in bed with us now that he is almost a year. He was just fine in the crate, but we love his cuddles
8th June 2012, 09:52 AM
We had this with Leo when we first got him. My kitchen door looked very simular to yours!
We established a routine where he would get in his bed and have half a bonio biscuit.
I used to leave a radio on quietly as a bit of back ground noise. I also placed one of my T-shirts in his bed so he would smell me.
It took about a week but the whinning got less, and now he's perfect, not a peep.
It takes patience and kindness but you'll get there if you persevere.
Mumma to Leonardo (Leo to his friends)
Waiting at the bridge
8th June 2012, 12:05 PM
Thank you so much for the great advice. I tried closing the kitchen door a few times yesterday and leaving Lady sitting there for a few minutes in the hope that she would begin to realise that I am coming back and not leaving her forever. By tea time last night she sat in the kitchen and waited for me to return without scratching the doow down. At bed time last night I turned out the kitchen light closed the door and went to bed. After a few minutes there was a little bit of whining but she settled down within 10 minutes and there was no door scratching . Hip Hip Hoorah! Lets hope that this is the end of the door scratching. I like the idea of putting a T-Shirt in her bed so she can smell me. I might give that a try if I have to go out during the day.
Will keep you posted
8th June 2012, 04:27 PM
Hi, the advice about crate training is great however, you have 3 options here.
1. you just give up and allow him to sleep where he wants, which I'm guessing is with you
2. you go with the tried and true method of cry it out....believe me I understand this is VERY hard but it is also the best most effective way to training a child to go to bed at night as well. You are heartbroken with your dog try it with your child (adding a t-shirt well it sounds good but my Fletcher would eat the t-shirt!!!! Believe me you DO NOT want to risk that)
3. you can crate train and then go with the cry it out way....however, I think this would only add to the stress "I'm alone and I'm crated" But it will save your kitchen door. And crate training is a great idea.
Sorry there is no magic pill for this issue. Going back in to comfort him will only reward him for crying. I would try really hard to make sure he gets a good exercise session in during the early evening hours. A tired dog is a happy one. Fletcher gets a nice long walk before relax time (when the kids are in bed and its just the grown up and Fletcher time) However, since going out of town a few weeks ago and my husband being the soft puppy parent he is Fletcher has been sleeping with us at night. I don't mind that was my goal all along but he's a puppy sooooo.....
When my oldest child was going thir this stage I thought I was going to lose my mind. She's the subborn kind. I used to go the the oter end of the house, put in ear plugs, read and try to take my mind off of the LONG mins to took her to calm herself down.
Last edited by MomObvious; 8th June 2012 at 04:29 PM.
Reason: I'm blonde lol
8th June 2012, 08:43 PM
Being she is a rescue...and you have only had her a week...she just needs some time to adjust.
I think crate training is good..but since she is 4 - 6 yrs. old..it may be a bit harder for her to get used to if she has never dealt w/ it before. Crate training when they are pups is best.
Have you thought about maybe purshasing a pen instead & set it up in the bedroom so she can SEE you?
Then perhaps slowly move it out to your kitchen after maybe a month?...when you notice she is calm & starting to adjust?
If she is good w/ you thru the day ( try coaxing her to the pen by putting treats in there when she seems tired & ready for a nap.) Then she won't associate the pen w/ punishment.
Just never know what a rescue dog has been thru...so patience is the key.
This would work w/ the crate too..if you can get her to go in. Crates can be scary at first if they have never been in one.
Best of luck to you...please keep us updated.
Would love to see a picture as well !
*Diane ~ Mom to~
Wrigley ( Cavalier)
Zeb ( Labrador)
& Jake ( Labradoodle)
9th June 2012, 02:16 PM
Thanks for the advice. We have now had two nights without Lady scratching the door and whaling like a mad thing! She seems to be more comfortable with me leaving the room, so hopefully she has settled. She goes for two walks every day and also has play time in the house and is quite happy to sleep all evening on the sofa, its just bed time that upsets her but lets hope she is getting used to her new routine and has finally realised that I am not leaving her for good!!
Our next challenge is to get her to play nicely with my sisters cavalier, we have had one or two instances where she has snapped at my sisters dog.
Anyway we are just back from a long walk on the beach and Lady is now snoring her head off!!!
9th June 2012, 02:22 PM
You are right, it is so difficult to know what a rescue dog has been through and god bless her all she wants is love and plenty of hugs. She snores really badly so I dont particularly want her in my room as I will get no sleep at all!!!! As I said to Melissa, she does seem to be getting more used to being on her own at night and I dont really want to go down the crate route as I think she is a bit old and would probably suffer more anxiety. I will perservere with the night tine routine and sure I can always paint the kitchen door , the more important thing is that she is happy. Will post a pic as soon as I get to grips with my new camera!!!
9th June 2012, 06:10 PM
I'm glad that Lady is settling in. It sounds sounds like she is starting to get used to her routine!
Last edited by ashleighelizabeth; 9th June 2012 at 06:13 PM.
Reason: oops wrong name :)
10th June 2012, 02:57 AM
Originally Posted by shinners
Raising/training dogs is a lot like caring teaching for children. I have not been a puppy parent for long but I know children, dogs are just as smart (I mean can understand and learn the same amount as a young child). Be consistent, firm, calm and allow time....its the best way. Changing the rules, get impatient or giving in to undesired behavior is permission and reward. Sometimes its hard and takes a LONG time.
I have no real dog advice about snapping with your sister's cavalier except do not allow it. SUPERVISION and being active in their play, you and your sister should be sitting with the dogs playing and avoid completion like don't have 2 balls have 5 or 6 plenty. Also it is also ok the tell both dogs NO!!! I Time will help I bet. Before you know it they'll be best friends.
Last edited by MomObvious; 10th June 2012 at 03:03 AM.
Reason: I can't type and think at the same time haha