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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there, I was wondering if other puppy owners have experienced separation anxiety and how they over came it? Harley is a little over 6 mths now and for a few weeks we've noticed him getting into more and more things, and even peed in the house 2x. We thought at first he was getting bored and just getting into things out of boredom but we just figured out yesterday it appears to be related to separation anxiety. I was able to leave, then hang out outside and look in a window and saw him go 'crazy' looking around for us, whining, howling, chewing on things he shouldn't, within 5 min of us leaving.

I did some reading on it, and a few suggestions were more training (we already have training sessions daily), more walks (he gets walked 1.5 miles morning & 1.5 miles at night plus has running time with other dogs), him thinking he's the 'owner' of us - we've tried to be his 'leader' and it doesn't feel like he's the leader over us. For example, he won't just jump up to sit with us, we invite him up. He will not try to jump up with us unless he is invited. He doesn't pull us when we walk, he walks next to us.

In terms of his alone time, he has a family member come to let him out 2x a day. He'll be alone approx 3 hrs then get approx 30 min with someone, alone another approx 3 hours with approx another 30 min with someone (that person tends to walk/play during that time), then we get home approx 3 hrs after his last visitor. We then go through our evening routine.

Some friends have suggested it's a 'puppy' phase he'll grow out of, but I'm wondering if others experienced something similar and what you did, did your puppy grow out of it?

Thanks for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just wanted to add a few more things we have tried (based on past research I did for leaving a dog alone)...
- before we leave we fill his kongs (Usually 2) and hide them in 'his' room for him to find.
- we don't make a big deal when we leave, and we don't make a big deal when we get home - once he calms down when we get home then we hug/pet him, etc.
- we are not crating him anymore. He was so good early on we stopped (trust me, I've learned my lesson) and basically this one room we have him in is now his 'crate' - we have the room as stripped of everything as possible, but he still finds stuff such as a small hole in the lineoleum to chew on, pull up.
- when he's outside he coudl care less where we are - he relaxes very well outside alone (maybe that's part of our answer - give him more outdoor time?)

Thanks again! Just thought some more detail might help.
 

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From my limited experience - it seems to me like you should still be crating him. If he is in a more confined space, he might be more comforted. Putting him in a room where he has access to chewing on various things might cause more anxiety on his end.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, not continuing with the crate was certainly a mistake on our part, and I'm thinking we may have to 'retrain' him on the crate. He never liked the thing which is why it was easy for us to stop it, but now I see it was not a good idea...

I did put him in it again for a very short time last week and he howled like crazy! If we try to re-introduce the crate it will probably cause more anxiety at least for a period of time???
 

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I would re-introduce the crate slowly, with you sitting in the same room so he can see you...just put him in there with a yummy kong and stay in the room...then give him lots of praise and let him out...and then maybe go to the next room and come back and give him lots of praise. I agree that you shouldn't just shove him in there and leave him for a long period of time, that will definitely cause anxiety!! You should just focus on making the crate a GREAT place where he gets to eat treats :)
 

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luv my goldens
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I had a female years ago that has sepration anxiety. I wish I had crated her. My suggestion would be to crate her. The one thing that did work for us was we put her in our room and that was the only room she never chewed anything up. (not suggesting you put her in your room). If you are going to keep her in her room maybe put something that smells like you guys in there with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice idea Sonja! I could wear an old shirt around the house and get my smell on it, then leave it in his room. That way it may comfort him, but should he decide to tear at it, it wouldn't matter.

I like it - thank you!!
 

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luv my goldens
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I really think you should try and get him back in the crate for his own safety. I would slowly introduce him back to the crate and use the room with something of yours in there. I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, thanks to the two of your for your advice! I'm so happy for everyone that you haven't separation anxiety issues with your goldens! I'm hoping some of the advice I found on the web helps - I was thinking maybe other golden owners had some special techniques for handling it, but it seems like maybe we are unique with our golden!
 

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luv my goldens
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Seperation anxiety is a very hard thing to deal with. I wish you the best of luck with dealing and helping your pup over come it.
 

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We've had our pup just over a week and for the first week we thought he hated the crate. incessant yelping going on for hours. Then, on a whim, I moved the crate into our bedroom for overnight and I found that the separation was cause for his concern not the crate.
In addition we'll crate him during the day when we are around.

We'll try to slowly move the crate out of our room or at the other end of the hall from where we are. I'm hoping this teaches him to feel safe in a crate, no matter where it is.
 

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I've always given our 11 yr old lab one of my sleep shirts if we go out of town & have pet sitters or if we board her. One of my neighbors does it for their yorkie too...lets them smell you when you're gone. Hope it helps her! I agree the crate over time will work again, especially with a soft shirt of yours. good luck!
 

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I'd go back to the crate and also be sure to crate him for brief periods (like 30 mins or so) even when you're home and hanging out so that being in the crate doesn't immediately = knowing that you're about to leave.

It can be hard for some dogs to learn how to be separated from their favorite people. Just practice often!
 

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I would reintroduce the crate slowly so it is a positive experience. One idea I read was that you stuff a kong with something fabulous, then give it to your dog in the crate. You leave for maybe 3 minutes. When you get back, you take away the unfinished kong. This way the dog thinks that it's more enjoyable when you're gone. You do this several times, slowly increasing the time that you are away based on your dog's comfort level. When you get to the point that your dog seems anxious, back up and leave for shorter periods. That is how I would reintroduce the crate. I would also play lots of crate games with you throwing treats in and hiding them in the crate. Spend time with your pup in the crate while you are home. The other thing is to work on desensitizing your pup to the cues you are leaving. Does picking up your keys, putting on a coat, etc. start to freak him out? If so, you pick up your keys (or whatever), then give him a treat and put them back down. In this way, you desensitize your pup to the cues that are causing anxiety. Most separation anxiety is at its worst in the few minutes before and after you leave, so if you desensitize the cues before leaving, it really helps to reduce anxiety. There is a wonderful short book (36 pages) about separation anxiety called I'll Be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety. It is by Patricia McConnell, who I think is fabulous author. She is very knowledgeable about dog behavior and training. I read it because I was starting to worry that my pup was developing separation anxiety several months ago. She turned out to not really have it. However, you are by no means alone in dealing with separation anxiety. It is a very common problem. It's also extremely treatable if you put the time in to really work with your dog and desensitize him. I wish you all the best as you deal with this frustrating situation.
 

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Put one of your sleep shirts in the crate--what happens when you and your family ever go on vacation and want to take your golden? Your golden's "special room" can't travel with him--but a crate sure can.

I am so happy that Mac is crate trained, and I'll be honest with you, the other two goldens I had before her were not--the first one never, ever learned to love the crate unless we were nearby. He was a "King" and a great dog, but he always was a pain to board.
 

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Having the same problems

I'm having the same problems with my golden currently. Since this was posted a couple years ago, I was wondering how everything turned out? I would love to hear how the crate worked and if your golden is able to have the run of the house now without separation anxiety problems? Thanks!!
 
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