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Separation Anxiety


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#1 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 05:34 AM

Hello. My dog Koda is having a lot of problems when my husband and I leave the house. She is basically house trained, however, when we are not home, she has tantrums, barking, deficating and urinating all over. Is she insecure? Does anyone think another AIDog may help her feel better since she would not be alone.

#2 liz

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 05:56 AM

Hello. My dog Koda is having a lot of problems when my husband and I leave the house. She is basically house trained, however, when we are not home, she has tantrums, barking, deficating and urinating all over. Is she insecure? Does anyone think another AIDog may help her feel better since she would not be alone.


Sounds like she does not like being alone, Shunka is not happy about it either, we have heard that he 'sings' when we are gone.

He will also growl at us as we leave!

If we take him in the car, there is no problem, he quite happily waits for a long time in the car, he knows we will come back I suppose. Of course we make sure that it is safe to leave him for a while, but we don't have problems too often about it being hot!

Another dog may help, but one dog may pick up the others anxiety too!

Have you tried leaving the tv or radio on? Sometimes this helps. Otherwise it may be a case of leaving her for increasingly long periods of time, until she gets used to you coming and going.

Don't be too 'bullied' by it as she may be trying to get her own way to be with you.

Perhaps someone else has had this problem too!

#3 Allison

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 09:59 AM

Another dog would certainly help, and an older one, is always a good influence, but have you tried the "leaving the house" training?

First, you have to change the whole goodbye thing. These dogs are smart, and they know when you're leaving, no matter what, but try making it something you need him to do. For instance, I say, "Take care of the house".

Then you leave, walk away out of sight, and come right back. Give him the good boy treatment, if things are alright (it's best to keep it short enough so things will be alright). You might do it again, and stay away just a bit longer--15 minutes, say, then try a drive around the block.

Next day, do the same, but then give it 20 minutes, and so on. Some people sneak around the house, and try to surprise their dog in the act of the unwanted behavior...I don't think that is necessary with these intelligent dogs, but try it if you need to. Sneaking back works well for barking, because you can scare them (surprise them) with a loud NO! Or a bang on the door. It may also help it to seem like a game.

Half an hour, then an hour,... you get the idea. The pup won't know when you're coming back, and will start to wait.

Don't forget to get mad, when Koda has used the house for a kennel. Get really mad, steaming mad, so there is no question in that little doggie mind, and then don't look him/her in the eye for a while after that. They hate it no eye contact treatment. I stomp around, blow a lot of air....you'll feel better.

Coyo is very good when I leave him alone, but he still gets upset, when my husband and I leave together without him. I see there are subtle and not so subtle cues that my husband gives him, that help him get more wound up. So be sure to have your last moments be calm and assertive. Don't admonish him for something he hasn't done yet--that just seems like you are leaving him as a punishment. Give him the new job to do, maybe look around and use a hand gesture---I sort of wave my hand over the door and window, and say, "don't let anyone in"--something to make it seem different than the past times you've left.

When you are at the end of your rope, remind yourself, that they do grow out of these things.
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

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#4 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 10:31 AM

Thank you all for your advice. I can use all of it I can get...

Allison, I am the same person who asked about Tommie for the "babysitter/rolemodel" for Koda. I have read to do the exact suggestion that you suggested and we will start practicing tonight. However, my husband nor I can afford to take off from work, so even though we will practice longer and longer every night, she still needs to be locked up during the day for a long time.

We tried something new yesterday and today. Instead of the crate, which gets really disgusting and messy when she soils it, we have her in a large portable pen in the kitchen, where she is still soiling the entire area. We have a shirt of ours with our smell on it in there, a kong toy with frozen peanut butter in it, a chew toy, water and I left her this morning with her breakfast, as a distraction when I walk out the door. (I'm the last to leave) The food worked as a distraction-no barking when i left. My husband comes home to take her out and give her lunch. He runs around with her for 30 minutes also. He came home to a disgusting mess. Every lunch hour he's had to shower her because she is covered with it. Then she gets another shower when we get home because many times, she has done the same thing.

I'm sorry if this is disgustingly graphic, but should we still practice the leaving for a bit then praising, or is there something else going on here and we should be doing something else.

Keep in mind, she seems to be house trained, when we are home and with her. Plus, she sleeps in her crate at night, many times going in on her own when she's tired, and lasts all night with no peeing or pooping. So, it's just when we're not home...

Would another dog with her help? I appreciate your advice.

Thanks,
Sonia

#5 Allison

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 05:37 PM

Don't forget to have her checked to see if she has a bladder infection, or something like that. Also, maybe that food is not sitting well with her. Sometimes that is the cause of this type of trouble.

The other thing that jumps to mind, when I read your description, is that if she is not active during the day, maybe you don't need to feed her three times. I only fed Coyo twice a day as a pup, and dropped to once a day pretty quickly, and he got miles of walking in, everyday. The more I think of this, the more I wonder if this isn't the answer. Maybe feed her more on weekends, when you are home. It certainly won't hurt her to go three of four days with less food. Try it, and see how it works. Don't leave food for her to nibble, but only something to chew on. It will take at least a day, and maybe two to see what the change in food will do.

I feed my dog once a day, and he empties, once a day. So if you are getting multiple stool samples......that's too much.

You might consider asking a neighbor or hiring a walker to take her out for a week, until she gets past this. I am sure you are getting more than a little annoyed. How long has this been going on?

Also, try not shutting the crate at night. You say she is fine when you are home, so take the door off, and put it by your bed (if it isn't already), for the night. Give her a little more trust, during the time you know you can trust her.

I think if she was house trained, and this has recently started, then something is amiss. I am sure she doesn't really want to poop in the house, and incur your anger.
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

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#6 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 04:50 AM

Wow, Koda was great last night. Thanks for the advice, Allison. We left the crate door open last night and she stayed in it all night, even when I left the room to go to the bathroom!!! Then, about 15 minutes before she normally wakes up, she jumped on our bed, so I took her out and she peed AND pooped. So it was a good night and she can be trusted.

I'd like to figure out how to teach her to let us know more clearly, like barking, that she has to go out. It's normally just a look.

Let's hope she does well today alone. My husband woke up a half hour early to run around with her in the backyard after breakfast. (We can't walk her till after all her shots) She actually pooped twice this morning, once before breakfast and once after. So I'm not sure there's any poop left in her.

Thanks for all you advice and everyone else's advice. I look forward to hearing about Tommy.

#7 Allison

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 09:18 AM

It took a while for Coyo to figure out how to tell me, clearly, that he had to go out. Or perhaps I should say, it took US a while to work out the exchange. He was pretty subtle.

We have a phrase "let it go", so now, he silently nudges me awake, and I say, "do you have to let it go?" And he puts his paw on me, and looks at me imploringly. He really seems apologetic when he has to wake me.

Until we had it worked out, however, I just got up in the night, a lot. Also, Coyo had trouble with dog food, so that made it difficult--no grains, I've since learned. Once we worked out his food problem, then he became much more reliable. Of course, as a pup, there were a couple times, he just wanted to go out and bark in the night!

I am glad that you see progress; I know that is what matters--to Koda as well, I'd say. I'll bet she LOVED jumping on the bed in the morning!

Hope things continue smoothly today.
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

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#8 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 10:38 AM

Well, Koda did not have such a good morning. My husband found the kitchen covered with poop and pee, but no dog. She got out of the pen in the kitchen and peed in every room of the house...but she is clean this time. no shower needed. fol. How could she poop so much???

Have you spoken with Kim yet about Tommy?

#9 Allison

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 11:26 AM

I called once, no answer, so I'll try again later.

Oh! Sorry to hear that; poor Koda. Poor you, too. I know it's frustrating.

If you've cut her food intake, it will take a day to see the results, and she can't mess up the house, if she doesn't have anything in her gut. It's okay to be empty part of the day.

Is her stool well formed? No diarrhea?
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

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#10 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 01:27 PM

yup, it's well formed...no diarehea. and a good amount each time. Plus, she pooped two more times after lunch. both, good amounts and well formed. by the way, she escaped again. fol.

she is very klingy so this has to be separation anxiety. people say to exercise her more. but that is quality time with us. will that enable her clingyness and lead to more separation anxiety?

#11 James

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:27 PM

she is very klingy so this has to be separation anxiety. people say to exercise her more. but that is quality time with us. will that enable her clingyness and lead to more separation anxiety?


my thinking on this is : she is klingy because she feels insecure (of course, shes a puppy) i think she needs to see you as a strong consistant pack leader. that will take some time.
maybe allison already suggested it but have you tried leaving for short periods and coming home with lots of praise. maybe you could try that and then stretch it out. i would start with like a few minutes. but make it look like your really going.
i don't know just an idea.
do you leave a radio or tv on ??
our dogs always watch turner classic movies...
A tree born crooked will never grow straight. T.W.

#12 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 27 September 2007 - 02:41 PM

Hi James, We've tried the music channels on the tv. She still poops and pees, so I assume, she still anxious with it on. We've done a bit of leaving for seconds at a time then rewarding. but it doesn't change the fact that the two of us have to go to work during the day and leave her for a long time. we can practice at night, but she still has those rough long days. i'm going to look into getting some agility equipment. maybe getting her more exercise will do the trick. thanks for you advice. will you be in deleware long?

#13 James

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 04:23 AM

i am going back to phoenix this afternoon.
good luck with koda. have you tried leaving her a big bone or something?
A tree born crooked will never grow straight. T.W.

#14 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 04:31 AM

yup, she gets a kong with frozen peanut butter in it.

#15 Lisa

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 07:06 AM

Hi, I am Lisa. I have Hawk. He will be 3 Dec. 25.
I have been reading what has been going on with Koda. I feel for you.
You have been getting some great advice from Allison and James. Here is my two cents: If you could get some one to pop in on her during the day maybe she wouldn't be so bored. I know that's allot to ask of some one but it may help. Or is that even an option? I know how clingy they can be. I am at home 24/7 so Hawk is my shadow. But when I do leave he get's tied up in the back yard. You see he is an escape artist. He likes to jump our 7 1/2 ft. fence. We even had to put a shock collar on him but that didn't stop him. So, if I am going to be gone for most of the day he is happy outside. He has a large dog house to sleep in and lots of chewy toys. But if I am just going to be gone for a couple of hours I always have music on for him and tell him as I go out the door " now you watch the house, your in charge". I have never tried this but in your area do they have doggy day care. I heard that it is helpful. Maybe once a week would help.

I'll send good smoke signal to you and your husband. Some times when you feel it can't get any better it will. She will surprise you one of these days.

My sister is picking up a new pup in two weeks from Kim. I'll keep you posted on Moii's potty training. Maybe you and her can talk about your "babies". You know like new human mom's.

Good luck to you both.

ARF ARF Lisa and Hawk
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#16 Allison

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 07:58 AM

yup, she gets a kong with frozen peanut butter in it.

Peanut butter....that's a whole meal right there. I think you are feeding her too much. We used those kind of chew things that don't tear up so easily, but give the teeth something to do.

Hope the night went well. I'll get back to Kim and to the person who has Tommy--I hesitate to say owner....
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

--David Dunning

#17 Michael and Sonia

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:06 AM

Hi Lisa, Thanks for the 2 cents. Any 2 cents I can get would help!!!

My husband comes home half way through the day at lunch. So it's not like she's home alone ALL day. the problem is, we used to have his parents come over to help out when we weren't hope, and we stopped asking because they would come home to a mess in the crate and on Koda, and they refused to clean it up. so they really weren't of any help. the best we can do is my husband to come during the day. i like the idea of keeping her outside with her dog house and chew toys. does she bark? do the neighbors mind? that's funny that she jumps your 7 1/2 foot fence. that's crazy. we have a 5 foot fence. hopefully, we don't have that issue to deal with also. we should look into doggy day care.

maybe you are right, allison. maybe we should stop the peanut butter and just give her chew toys. we'll just have to find ones she likes enough to distract her as well as the peanut butter.

we may be having a behaviorist come to the house to help us out. we'll keep you posted.

thank you to all for your advice. it's like a big family here.

#18 Allison

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:08 AM

Let me add, if you reduce her food intake, and give her the opportunity to have a day or two without a mess, I think you will see her anxiety will reduce greatly.

I'm sure she doesn't like to disappoint you.

Okay, I'll get off that box, now. I'll let you know what I hear about Tommy.
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

--David Dunning

#19 Allison

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:20 AM

Hey, you know what else might help, as you work through this, sorry I didn't think of it before, but these dogs are easily paper trained.
One could argue that evolution suggests were not idiots, but I would say, Well, no. Evolution just makes sure were not blithering idiots."

--David Dunning

#20 Lisa

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:42 AM

Hawk loves to be outside, he does bark but only when a neighbor dog does. Other than that he doesn't much at all. You will find these sweeties are climbers. I think Allison has mentioned before that Coyo has climbed her fence. Hawk does mainly when he hears a loud noise or when its' the 4th of July.

These critters are smart cookies. Koda is trying to tell you something, and maybe she doesn't know what it is. I some times think they do these things to punish us.

Hawk has had his share of accidents in the house. I have never crated or penned him up in the house. One time when I wasn't reading into his sign of needing to go outside he peed right in front of him and then jumped around as if to say "look at me, aren't I cute". He was in so much trouble, but he did get my attention.

Good luck this weekend.

Later, Lisa and Hawk
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