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Husky Separation Anxiety

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  • Husky Separation Anxiety

    I am at my wits end!

    I have a 2 year old Husky who has separation issues. He usually doesnt pee, but if he can get onto carpet, he will poop. He doesnt chew furniture or walls. He likes cardboard/paper type stuff and the odd shoe. He howls pretty much constantly. If he goes to the barn with me, I tie him up with a fair amount of room for him to move around. If I leave his sight (even if other people are around) he starts to cry and howl. He will work himself up into a frenzy and start to bark which he never does any other time.

    Ive tried leaving him with an awesome treat, leaving after exercise, making sure he is calm when I leave, leaving the tv on or radio, thunder shirt, DAP collar, and medication. Nothing seems to work!

    I need help!

  • #2
    Do you have a behaviorist you can consult with? There is one at OSU. My vet knows her and that is part of the reason we got my dog doing better. It took a lot of changes in meds, routines, and the layering of many things...the thundershirt, the meds, composure treats, playing a CD all day...it is certainly work, but she has become a normal dog.


    • #3
      How much exercise is the dog getting? I have a husky, husky mix, and border collie mix. They run about 20 miles a week with me. A tired dog is a good dog! Remember huskies have been bred to run and pull a sled for hours everyday. Mine could probably run 100 miles a week and still be rarin' to go. They need mental stimulation too- give them an outlet for their very strong prey drive. Also, they are one if the most social and pack- oriented breeds. Perhaps you could consider getting a companion.


      • #4
        You need professional help with this. SA is not something to dabble in, it can kill your dog and ruin your home. Get thee to an accredited behaivorist, NOT a dog trainer. You need a medical professional who specializes in behavior. Teaching hospitals often have behavior clinics and some offer phone consults. U of Penn has an outstanding behavior clinic and I'm sure they could help refer you to someone appropriate in your area.


        • #5
          If your dog isn't getting 2 45-1 hr runs/jogging per day then he is probably not getting enough exercise. Huskies are VERY high energy.

          For true SA, google "I'll Be Home Soon", (I think its by patricia Mcconnell.)


          • #6
            Second or third the behaviorist. That said, my boss and his wife have tried everything. Behaviorist at Cornell. Medications. Things to do. Thundershirt. Exercise. The whole shebang. They absolutely cannot leave their dog home alone. (They got him from a "rescue" as a two year old - chocolate lab. Only thing they were told was that he "didn't like" a crate - understatement of the decade.) When they are both going to be out of the house, dog goes to his doggie daycare. Very expensive.
            What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


            • #7
              Husky exercise: ride a bike, train husky to run on a leash by bike.
              I had a Samoyed. It took her two lessons to learn how to jog with a bike ( mainly all cross overs done in front of bike, done slowly with wide berth).
              Second option: running next to car. No cross over allowed. She easily went long distances next to car. We ran her on backroad of huge college. She ran in the snow on the right of the car.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks for the suggestions!

                I dont think exercise is the problem. We have spent a couple of hours at the dog park and then tried to leave him, with no luck. Im pretty sure he would be fine if he had another dog for company (ive borrowed my cousins lab and left them alone and he was fine!) but right now my living situation will not allow for another dog!

                Ive thought about riding my bike with him, but I am scared lol. He is good to walk, however if something catches his eye, or he smells something he darts towards it. I dont want to fall, or run him over! I have also thought about sitting in the bed of a truck and having him run behind... but I think that is illegal?

                He does go to doggy daycare also some times. He can be a bit frantic there whether or not other dogs are around. New place, new people, he wants his mom!

                Is there a website that lists accredited behaviourist? (I live in Ontario)


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Weenie19 View Post
                  Is there a website that lists accredited behaviourist? (I live in Ontario)
                  Here is the only board certified veterinary behaviorist I could find in Ontario. He is accredited by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. (www.dacvb.org).

                  Gary Landsberg
                  BSc, DVM, DACVB, dip ECVBM-CA
                  North Toronto Animal Clinic
                  99 Henderson Avenue
                  Thornhill, Ontario L3T 2K9
                  office tel: 905.881.2752
                  office fax: 905.881.6726

                  Best of luck to you; it sounds like your Husky could benefit from a consult with a behaviorist. I've been through a local behaviorist with my rescue lab/husky mix (there are threads on here about her). My dog was at the point where she was dangerous if left alone for even a short period of time - and she had a buddy!

                  Ended up at UPenn and after a few medication changes and a LOT of behavior modification exercises (hard work!), we have a "normal" dog. It took two years for us to get to this point though - so don't give up hope.

                  Behavior work is often one step forward & two steps back - but you will eventually accomplish your goals. Feel free to PM me if you have questions.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tarynls View Post
                    I've been through a local behaviorist with my rescue lab/husky mix (there are threads on here about her). My dog was at the point where she was dangerous if left alone for even a short period of time - and she had a buddy!
                    I remember your dog tarynls. How is she now? Have you had to change up her meds once she was stable?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                      I remember your dog tarynls. How is she now? Have you had to change up her meds once she was stable?
                      Thanks for asking! She's been doing great. No medication changes once we found the right combination that worked for her - we monitor her liver enzymes & kidney function on a regular basis as one of her meds is not commonly used in dogs. So far, so good. She's been stable (on these meds) for over a year now. **knocking furiously on wood**

                      I do want to stress that medication alone is not the answer; dogs that truly suffer from separation anxiety need to be worked with on a daily basis with specific behavioral exercises for your dog (what works for one dog won't work for all dogs!). For example, we tried the Thundershirt with my dog. No good. She freaked - and I mean within a minute of putting it on her, she was throwing herself to the ground, getting back up, rinse & repeat until we could get the horrendous confining thing off her body!

                      For those that aren't familiar, my girl had (and still has, to a much lesser extent) severe issues with confinement - to the point where she broke the welds on two wire crates in short order.

                      I looked at the questionnaire that Dr. Landsberg requests you complete prior to your appointment - it is very similar to the one I had to fill out for UPenn. Very comprehensive.

                      I did set up a video camera while I was gone and had a number of videos to show the behaviorist which turned out to be quite helpful. Be sure to secure the camera in a safe place where it can't get knocked over - we duct taped a small camcorder to a curtain rod; it was the only place she couldn't destroy it!

                      Best of luck to you, I have a soft spot in my heart for Huskies. Again, feel free to PM anytime.

                      - Taryn
                      Last edited by tarynls; Mar. 6, 2013, 01:52 AM. Reason: more info


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by tarynls View Post
                        I do want to stress that medication alone is not the answer; dogs that truly suffer from separation anxiety need to be worked with on a daily basis with specific behavioral exercises for your dog (what works for one dog won't work for all dogs!).
                        - Taryn
                        you are correct that each dog will require an individual workup, and behavioral plan. The meds may need several workups and changes to find the dosage that works too.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                          you are correct that each dog will require an individual workup, and behavioral plan. The meds may need several workups and changes to find the dosage that works too.
                          Exactly. After the appointment with UPenn, we had almost daily email contact with the behavioral vet & tech for six months (the fee was included in the initial visit cost). Those emails (or phone calls, if we chose to call) were invaluable as it allowed us to bounce ideas off the vet/tech; sometimes just to make sure we were on the right track, sometimes it was to help solve an issue we couldn't figure out, sometimes they suggested a medication adjustment. I believe the vet I linked to earlier in the thread does this as well.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for the link Taryn!

                            I checked it out, and found out a price. Definitely something to look into. Not sure if I want to spend that kind of money right at this moment, but I am going to look into reading a lot of Dr. Landsberg's stuff!