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Old 12-26-2012, 07:36 PM
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Thank you so much for bearing with me. It helps me to know the situation at home, so that I can understand the problem in context. Again, thank you!

I've never dealt with seperation anxiety, and I believe the best solution would be to seek the guidance of a vet who specializes in behavior problems. I understand that you cannot financially seek this counsel. Therefore, these are my recommendations based on articles I've read.

First and Foremost - this is not something that will be solved overnight or with the snap of some fingers (I wish!) and it'll take time, dedication, patience, love, consistency and repetition.

1) You need to re-establish (or establish for the first time) that you are pack leader and that Beau needs to look to you for guidance. I say this, because I feel Beau is responding to a lack of leadership. I don't know his entire sitution nor do I know your entire situation, but he needs a strong leader. Not a pushy leader, nor a bossy leader. Just a strong one. I hope that makes sense.

2) He needs obedience training. This will help bond him with you and help with you establishing leadership.

3) He needs to build his self confidence. My puppy was a velcro pup, and in scary situations, he will in fact run to me and lay at my feet because he knows that I will defend him from that big bad boogie man of a laundry basket that unexpectantly fell over. But at the same time, he's confident enough to explore on his own.

4) He needs to be reassured in his confidence in you. I don't know how your family treats him when you are not home, but I wonder if that could be a contributing factor. He might associate your departure with unpleasant things and therefore freak out when your not there.

I googled "dealing with seperation anxiety in dogs" and the first article is from Cesar Milan (click here)

Quote:
I believe much of the cure for separation anxiety comes from obedience and discipline. Self-discipline – where your dog knows what is expected of him and his good behaviour becomes a habit. He feels wrong showing an unwanted behaviour even without you indicating it. Spend time training – not just classes once a week, but really showing your dog what you want from him in and around the house and during daily routines. Two minutes here, five minutes there. Not just going for a walk but training him as you go to sit at curbsides and sit when meeting others, people and dogs. Teach him to sit at the door, lie down and stay while you go out of sight for increasing periods of time (do this in your house), sit and wait to be greeted by guests, move aside when you go to the refrigerator, and go to the bathroom on cue. In general you should be teaching your dog in small steps to “Be a Gentleman” and have confidence in these actions...
Even when you are home, have your dog familiar with and accepting of being in the crate. Start with short periods of time and then increase it. Feed him in the crate, let him have his favorite stress reliever in there to gnaw on – a Kong type toy, a sterile bone or a nylon hard bone. Nothing he can pull apart. Do not put water in the crate – that can get very messy! The crate should be your dogs safe haven, a place he feels secure and enjoys being in... When you leave him, do so quietly and don’t provide cues. No “sorry darling, I will be back soon.” Go through your leaving routine quietly, pick up car keys, open garage doors and then start the car. Then come back inside paying no attention to your dog. Not even a “good boy.” Do what you always do when leaving – role-play if it helps. When you come back in your home once more pay no attention to your dog. Walk past him, wave and smile if he is quiet but if he is banging at the crate, ignore it and walk on. Come back and wait until he is quiet and then ask him to wait in the crate while you open the door. He should not come bursting out. If you feel one action such as putting on a certain pair of shoes, picking up your car keys, going to a certain door brings about the beginning of stress then do that action and do not leave. Get him so familiar with the action that he accepts it.


I'm quoting this article, because it resounds well with how we act with Bear. Bear understands that he is safe with us and that we will always come back. We reward calm, settled behaviors. It took us two months of every day, every meal, training him to go to him mat. Now he knows that when we're in the kitchen, he's has to lay down on his mat. If we're eating, he has to lay down on his mat. If we're in class, he has to lay down on his mat. When you get home, ignore him until he settles down. Do not reward barking, jumping, running, panicking, etc. Reward him when he's settled. When he's outside, ALWAYS be outside with him. At the moment, you are his safety switch, and you need to be around until he feels safe without you. I understand that you don't want to leave him alone in the crate.... but I honestly feel that especially in this particular situation, it is in the dogs best interest to be properly crate trained. The crate is the beginning to him being able to be by himself. Make the crate fun. The crate is the key to showing him that if you leave, you ALWAYS come back.

Play games that will build his confidence (Psst Obedience training does this too, but games are ALWAYS ALWAYS more fun and good time fillers.)
I played fetch and tug to build Bear's confidence. We had to start small with fetch. Really REALLY small. At first I dropped the ball and let it roll a foot away and ask him to bring it back. It took us ALOT OF TRIES before he got it. Now I can toss it into a box or a hamper and he'll hunt it up and bring it back. I always make a huge deal when Bear brings it back and a bigger deal when he drops the ball without me asking. Treat Treat Treat.

I hope this helps. Let me know how it comes along and feel free to PM me if you want.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:57 PM
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Building Confidence

Here's a website on building confidence in dogs. I actually think I'll need to go home and do some of these with Bear.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:57 PM
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Thank you Brave. I'm always willing to accept advice, and you've given some good advice.


A little back story to Beau and where I think his seperation anxiety developed: When I first got him, I had a week off from school that I bonded with him then I had to go back to school. I didn't have a kennel, so we made a makeshift kennel out of a tiny hallway by closing the doors and putting up a babygate on one side so my memaw could peek in on him. I was only at school for 4 hours a day. His 'kennel' had TONS of toys, water, peepads, etc. I had read about letting dogs have time in their kennel to learn to be alone, and I told my memaw about it. She's a total animal lover and as soon as a left every morning, she went to get him and just held him all day til I got home. So he never learned to be alone. (I think this is also why her dog hates Beau, jealousy) Another problem that my family did originally that I have recently stopped a couple weeks ago, (one of your suggestions) is immediately petting and saying hello when we get home. I make him calm down (and since he's usually at the garage door IN THE KITCHEN - I make sure hes in the living room before anyone acknowledges him). Another problem - my memaw comes in every time she leaves and gives all the dogs a toy or a bone. Beau has gotten so use to that that he sits at the bottom of the steps and whines while she goes upstairs to get the bones.

I know that Beau's seperation anxiety is our fault, and hopefully we'll have a solution soon enough.

Here's what I found when I was looking for a solution online. Not the medicine, just the training program (BOND). The BOND
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:34 PM
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There's a journal. I'd print it out and use it.

http://www.reconcile.com/_layouts/pdfs/BOND-Journal.pdf

Also, sometimes extreme behaviors need medicinal treatments to modify. Which is why I suggested the behavorist. I've personally used these to treat anxiety in my cats and I recommend them highly. Spirit Essences | Holistic Remedies for Animals
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