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Calling the Dog Experts

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  • Calling the Dog Experts

    There are several posters here whose expertise and advice I really respect, even when it differs with what I've known or believed for many years.

    Here's the situation. I'm helping a friend who's gotten a rescue dog after being dogless for 15+ years. Many things have changed regarding training methods during that time. I've kept up with the times and gave her a clicker lesson (together with her verra cute dawg) and there's no question this little beagle/doxie cross is very smart.

    Problem is she's also has a severe case of separation anxiety. She has jumped out two windows (8' drop), chewed threw a plastic crate and redesigned a wire crate which will soon permit her to get her head through the wire and probably kill herself. We are wanting to avoid this. Both times she got out she waited in the yard for her midday dog walker, although once the neighbor put her in the garage for safe keeping.

    Dog (2-4 yrs old) is currently on drugs, wears a Thundershirt, and scented t shirt is placed out of sight in the next room.

    My question is this: should she get another dog? Does having another dog for company avert, prevent separation anxiety? What's your experience?
    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
    Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

    "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

  • #2
    There is another thread on here about separation anxiety that may help. I have a dog with severe separation anxiety and having another dog and 6 cats in the house makes no difference.


    • #3
      I am so sorry to tell you that another dog will probably not help with separation anxiety.

      The good news, though, I that it is generally treatable with a combination of behavior modification and possibly medication.

      Hopefully your friend is working with a behavior person who can help. Please keep us posted.

      I always feel bad for the poor dog...imagine if you had those panic attacks!


      • #4
        Have her google "I'll be Home Soon"


        • #5
          The only thing you've not mentioned that the vet told us to try was the DAP pheromone diffusers. I don't think it helped us much, but the drugs sure did. Maybe you'll have better luck with it, though.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kryswyn View Post
            Problem is she's also has a severe case of separation anxiety. She has jumped out two windows (8' drop), chewed threw a plastic crate and redesigned a wire crate which will soon permit her to get her head through the wire and probably kill herself.

            Dog (2-4 yrs old) is currently on drugs,
            what drugs? When you are dealing with SA this severe, very often you need a pharmacy, not a single drug and many many times the dosage or the combination will have to be altered as some dogs respond better to some drugs than others.



            My question is this: should she get another dog? Does having another dog for company avert, prevent separation anxiety? What's your experience?
            no. This is SA from people not other dogs. Another dog may be helpful or it may complicate things terribly. If complications occur, they can range from verbalizing to aggression with anything in between.

            if your friend/client is not dealing with a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist, that is where I'd put my money. U of Penn has an excellent behavioral clinic set up by Dr. Karen Overall. If you are too far away for that, I'd at least call and ask for a referral to someone they recommend closer.


            • #7
              Don't write him off yet

              Originally posted by Kryswyn View Post
              My question is this: should she get another dog? Does having another dog for company avert, prevent separation anxiety? What's your experience?
              How long has dog been in this new home? Where is crate located? How much exercise before being left alone? How much training has begun?

              Anxiety is high when the dog first enters a new home. It usually takes a couple weeks of learning a new schedule and rules for the pooch to settle.

              When I first adopted my ole Joey from the pound, he chewed window sills, door frames, and launched himself at any glass. I started obedience training cuz it's fun! and it was a means to communicate. My family did not have a crate so he remained loose but was only alone for a few hours at a time after spending a few hours on leash exploring the farm or training. Within a week, the destruction stopped. I have since learned it is not unusual for seemingly unrelated training to reduce anxiety.

              Similar things happened with fosters -who were crated. Having Joey for company did not have any impact. Once they learn the routine and have structure (schedule & training), the separation anxiety diminishes.

              I would not yet label this pup 'severe sep anxiety' and start a regimen of meds and extreme measures. Short-term, maybe. But if he's brand new to her household, give him time and structure.

              Can your friend test-run (say a 20min departure) leaving him in a barren room like a laundry room or bathroom with a baby gate? Sounds like this pooch will need two baby gates stacked vertically. There are heavy duty dog crates but they are $$$$.


              • #8
                when you are dealing with a severe problem with a new dog, adding another dog is probably the worst thing you can possibly do. Adding a new member of the household is best reserved for a peaceful period of time when you have time and energy available to deal with the new addition. Plus adding a new dog will increase the stress level of all members of the household and could easily make the anxiety worse. More likely, it will push the human members of the household over the edge in their ability to cope and will make it more difficult for them to help the ill dog.

                Separation anxiety is a serious mental illness, but it sounds like the person has a good handle on it, approaching it with a combination of medication and behavioral modification.


                • Original Poster

                  Thank you for your advice. Gabbi has been with my friend for a month. The meds do seem to be working and the thundershirt seems to be helping. Gabbi power walks 1/2 hour each morning, has a 1/2 walk with a vet tech/pet sitter midday and another long walk when Mom gets home. I really just wondered about adding another dog, but I'm grateful you've shot that down

                  I will copy your advice and send them to my friend. Thank you very much!
                  ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                  Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                  "Life is merrier with a terrier!"