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Seperation Anxiety...

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  • Seperation Anxiety...

    I have a 3 yr old pointer that was rescued from a shelter in NC, he was in a shelter for a few months and ended up in CT which is where we picked him up.

    He has seperation anxiety, and we found this out quickly. He crate trained very well and after the first week on the work schedule he settled in nicely and stopped being destructive. (the first two days he broke out of the crate- snapped the metal, ate everything in my house, etc...) For 1 whole year he was fine, didn't chew up his blanket in the crate, had a PB filled kong and an occasional marrow bone to keep him busy during the day. We go for walks 5 days a week (long hikes, run's, etc). It slowed during the winter, but are now back on schedule.
    He's the perfect dog 99% of the time... great with kids, dogs, cats. Just the seperation issue.

    We took him with us to a family members rental house in Cape Cod last year. Was fine for a few hours when we went to dinner one night (he was crated). Next day-Came home after a breakfast outing and he had shimmied his crate to their bed and pulled the blankets in and tore it all apart. Explain that to your SO's Aunt.. "Sorry my dog ate your bed.." ... learned not to leave him alone in strange places! Makes for fun vacations... NOT.

    Fast forward to 3 weeks ago, we moved into a new house. It was a slow move (renovating) so he's been with us at the house for several weeks prior to the big move while we were working on it. (we did this knowing he has issues in new houses.)

    He has a new invisible fence which he loves to run in our 2 ac property. He learned what the 'beep' means very quickly, and is a big baby.

    Back to the problem- Friday I got home from work and he started shredding his blanket in his crate (little tiny itty bitty pieces.. good thing he doesn't swallow them.) I thought it was abnormal, but maybe he heard something outside that set him off. Monday, same thing- come home to shredded blanket. Tuesday I left him without the blanket because I can't keep buying blankets! I come home to this: He ripped apart the tray in the crate (yes this is a new havy crate we got for this house since his old one was bent from when we first got him). Shimmied his crate to where the rug was (2' away) and pulled the rug in, shredded it (thank god he didn't get my wedding photo album on the coffee table). Pulled his new dog bed inside and shredded the filling (can't see it in the photo- it was around the back... the bed started off being 4' away from the crate on the very edge of the rug. He pulled the rug- got access to the bed). Miraculously he was still in the crate. Ne he wan't trying for the bones, they are always scattered all over the house and hasn't been obssesed with them. The crate was bent, all metal clips were broken off, we had double ended snaps and zip ties that were broken off. (we learned that he needed the crate re-enforced!). He's lucky we are putting new flooring in- he scratched the oak floors up bigtime...

    Now- what makes this dog do this all of a sudden... 3 weeks in the new house and he's perfectly fine until now. I'm so stressed I don't know what to do with him. I told my DH that I bet he ate his way out of his house in NC and that's why he was a stray..

    One thing-I think the cat may be tormenting him, I did find her milk cap toys infront of his crate Friday.. so if that's whats happening I dont blame him. She's psycho since she can't go outside (happy laps-tearing around the house, meowing. She's 1/2 Siamese so she's very vocal, and a polydactyl that knows how to use her thumbs!). Today cat is locked upstairs, I took dog for a 20m walk on the trail (can't go any more since it's pitch dark). I gave him Quiet Moment pills (that never seem to work), and a frozen marrow bone (which I stopped giving him since he would burry it in his blanket, and try and push it out of the crate (and would usually succeed, with broken clips and a bent crate). I don't know what else to do. Pheromone collars/sprays did nothing. I was so stressed last night I feel sick to my stomach... what else can I do? I just don't understand how he can be fine for so long and then this? Nothing has changed in our routine??

    Thanks for reading this novel, please help.
    Proud owner of Belle- 17.2h PerchxTB-wannabe dressage horse & Fayah 14.1H arab-trail horse extroidinaire!

  • #2
    I bought a Thundershirt (http://www.thundershirt.com) for a friend of mine whose dog was similar (without the non-destructive break).

    She'd tried other wraps and coats that didn't work, so she was skeptical.

    It worked. Her dog loves the coat, she can leave it on him all day without any harm and come home from work to a non-destroyed house.


    • #3
      the common denominator is that he does it in new places. You'll have to start all over with the desensitizing in new places.

      if you want to find out if the cat is a factor....crate the cat while you are gone.


      • Original Poster

        I would get one, but he's the type to eat it when we aren't home. Maybe it's worth a try?

        It's getting hot out, what if it gets warm in the house (supposed to be 80* today). Is it a lightweight material? We can use a fan/AC but I don't want to make it warmer then he already is.
        Proud owner of Belle- 17.2h PerchxTB-wannabe dressage horse & Fayah 14.1H arab-trail horse extroidinaire!


        • Original Poster

          Three dog- he's been fine for 2+ weeks in the new house.

          Cat is locked in the bedroom today. ::crosses fingers:: he's okay today.

          (hehe they make thundershirts for cats... maybe I should get them *both* one)
          Proud owner of Belle- 17.2h PerchxTB-wannabe dressage horse & Fayah 14.1H arab-trail horse extroidinaire!


          • #6
            "Three dog- he's been fine for 2+ weeks in the new house."

            actually he probably has not bee fine, but he didn't leave you evidence


            • #7
              Do you leave the radio or TV on?

              That worked for mine as he felt someone was in the house with him.
              He no longer has to be in his crate but he does have to have company so I change the channells and got another dog. Good Luck.


              • Original Poster

                Update.... He was fine when I got home, his blanket was still folded in half as I left it, not torn at all! No drool, no panting dog.

                It WAS the cat. Just to double check I left her upstairs today in the bedroom.

                I should have seperated them earlier, when we first moved in she would stand at the bottom of the stairs in the middle of the night, and he would whine and bark until we would get up and flick on the lights to look (he wanted to come upstairs), and there she would be standing there. She would do the same at the top of the stairs when he wanted to go downstairs.

                We knew she was a devil kitty from the moment we got her.. picture

                She's 1/2 Siamese (very vocal) and a polydactyl (can use her thumbs to open things). She's also very active with her happy laps and such.

                Maybe we will start letting her outside in a week or two when we are home (she was an outdoor kitty at our last 2 apartments- on horse farms/secluded properties). She's been known to bust out of screens (again.. thumbs) so we have to keep an eye on her.

                Thanks for all the help! ::sigh of relief::

                Another thing I thought of. He's very nervous with beeps now that he has his invisible fence (he'y only been shocked 2-3x and on level 2 of 6...wimpy dog). The microwave, text message beeps on cell phones, etc. get him nervous. So I was wondering since we got a new house # that someone called and the voicemail message beeped... just a thought. My boss' dog was like that. Any beep- smoke detector, microwave, etc. would set her running for the hills.
                Last edited by Belleaphant; Mar. 22, 2012, 09:35 AM. Reason: can't spell... need more coffee...
                Proud owner of Belle- 17.2h PerchxTB-wannabe dressage horse & Fayah 14.1H arab-trail horse extroidinaire!


                • #9
                  If you have a nervous/anxious dog, the invisible fence may be a bad idea. Some dogs really get freaked out by them. I'm not an invisible fence hater, we actually used one for awhile and it worked really well to train one of the dogs. But I can see how the beeping would set a dog off if it tends to be anxious.


                  • #10
                    The beep could be part of the problem. Our 10 year old goes NUTS with any sort of beep... microwave, smoke detector, voicemail, etc. She even freaks out when I pop my gum. I mean seriously freaks out- panting, shaking like crazy, whining, she becomes super clingy, etc. I would bet money that could be the problem. Try leaving a radio or TV on and see if that helps.
                    "People ask me 'will I remember them if I make it'. I ask them 'will you remember me if I don't?'"


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Belleaphant View Post
                      We knew she was a devil kitty from the moment we got her.. picture
                      I have this mental image of the cat pacing in front of the dog's crate and repeating "We're going to die, we're going to die, they left us here and they're NEVER coming back." For hours. The poor dog.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
                        I have this mental image of the cat pacing in front of the dog's crate and repeating "We're going to die, we're going to die, they left us here and they're NEVER coming back." For hours. The poor dog.
                        I'll be you anything that's what one of our dogs did to the other. One had serious separation anxiety problems, the other was just a typical terrier/terror who was always looking for ways to push buttons. Unfortunately with our special girl, we've been having to medicate her because of the separation anxiety as well as a plethora of other anxiety related issues.
                        I'm glad that you've seemed to figure out at least some of your dog's triggers.

                        I obviously have no idea how your house is set up, but is there any way that you could move the phone/message machine to a location where it might not be as loud for your dog? Or maybe try having a TV or radio playing to help cover up some noises that could trigger anxiety in your dog. We always have the radio playing in the kitchen, where our anxiety dog spends most of her time, so she's used to the tones of the radio and she's a lot calmer when we leave the house because of it.
                        I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know-it-alls who only acknowledge you if you have food.
                        Titania: 50% horse, 50% hippo
                        Unforgetable: torn between jumping and nap time, bad speller


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by vacation1 View Post
                          I have this mental image of the cat pacing in front of the dog's crate and repeating "We're going to die, we're going to die, they left us here and they're NEVER coming back." For hours. The poor dog.
                          That's exactly what she's doing. She was happy being the only kitty.. and then HE came along.

                          I bet she was standing there with her massive paw through the crate trying to reach the poor shaking dog in the back of the crate...

                          Here we were... getting ready to call the vet and get some puppy drugs...

                          He's been fine since devil kitty has been locked upstairs. Not even a spot of drool around the crate, or a tear in his blankets. Poor puppy.

                          Yesterday I watched him from the other room when the answering machine went off... He didn't flinch.
                          Proud owner of Belle- 17.2h PerchxTB-wannabe dressage horse & Fayah 14.1H arab-trail horse extroidinaire!


                          • #14
                            So there is more proof...cats are evil. Time to get revenge with some Sscat spray!