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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Over the last few days both my fiance and I have commented on how clingy Marley is to me (as I type this he has his head laying on my lap, even though I have just put a bowl of food down for him!) He just seems to want cuddles all the time.

Twice over the weekend he scratched big holes in the plaster on the walls when I was out (no longer than 2 hours each time).

Yesterday I took him to the park for 4 hours, we played and walked and lay in the sun, he was exhausted, then I took him home, gave him his dinner and filled a kong with treats and put him into 'his' bedroom which has lots of toys in and a queen sized bed for him, plus a balcony. I was out for 3 hours and when I came home he was fine. Well this morning my neighbour from the floor below me said she was trying to get a key for my apartment to get into my house as Marley cried and yelped for 3 hours solid, the whole time I was gone she said it really upset her and she could hear him scratching at the door.

Now I feel so bad, what can I do, I barely leave him alone (maybe 2 hours every 2nd day) I am in tears as I write this as I feel like such a bad dog-mum. I feel so guilty knowing he was so miserable last night

I do not use a crate for him as I don't like the idea of them. Does anyone have any ideas\advice\been through this themselves?
 

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Perhaps "his room" is just too big of an area and he is scared. Also, Marley could eat something harmful... Maybe you could reconsider a crate for when you are not with him. Also, leave a radio on or tv.
 

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Well, unfortunately, you're not going to like the first suggestion and probably many of the others that will follow: a crate would really help. It will help you train away this anxiety and it will also make it far more difficult for Marley to injure himself while he's working through this period.

Some of my suggestions aren't crate-specific. More exercise before you leave him so he gets used to being sleepy while you're gone. Making entrances and exits totally unexciting by ignoring the dog completely for 5-10 minutes when you come home (easier if he's crated) and 5-10 minutes before you leave. No goodbyes or hellos; ignore completely for those brief times.

Practice those entrances and exits when you're not actually leaving, so he doesn't always associate your leaving with a long absence.

You potentially have separation anxiety brewing here, so careful action would be crucial.
 

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Poor dog. Sounds like he has a bit of S.A. going on.

I would start by teaching him that it's ok to not be attached to you when you're home. If he can't do it when you're home, he can't do it when you're not! I'd put up a baby gate and put him on one side and you on the other. He can still see you, just can't get to you. PRactice this often. Do it when he's a bit tired and give him something to do - stuffed Kong, etc. Toss treats for him being calm, etc. Don't let him out unless he's relaxed and ignore him when he comes out - even if he's hanging on you. Just ignore it. You can also accomplish the same training with a tether - he's tethered at one end of the room on his dog bed w/ Kong while you sit on the couch at the other end. Work up to confining him away from you when you're home, etc.

In the meantime, make sure to make your comings and goings boring. Don't make a fuss over the dog. Ignoring him is even better. Might also look into a calming essence like Rescue Remedy, a DAP Diffuser or even lavender. If it worsens to the point of him actually hurting himself (bloody paws from scratching at doorways, etc.) then you might need to speak with your vet about pharmaceutical help. A good trainer with experience in behavior mod can do wonders to help,too.

Best of luck!
 

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Start leaving him for a short time every day. Start out with just 5 mins, and ask your neighbor to report! I had one adopter who took a VERY destructive girl with separation anxiety...she had pretty much destroyed her first home. Judy started leaving her for just 5 mins in the kitchen while she pottered in the garage. The important thing was Maggie couldn't see Judy.

She built it up to 20 mins, by going out through the garage and visiting her neighbors. then onto short shopping trips. Maggie did really well till a thunderstorm hit. At that point we tried her on ELAVIL,( with vet advice and consent) which in her case worked very well to clam her. I had used it previously to calm my Border collie/Golden mix just enough to get him through obedience classes. Once he took the class he began to improve without the pills.

Crates are often the worst experience for dogs with separation anxiety. Starting to have him separate from you while you're home is a good way to go. Start small, and if 5 mins is too long go back to 3. Take time, and expect good days and bad.

You might try one of those puzzle snack dispensers to help him pass the time until he gets more comfortable on his own.

Getting another dog doesn't always help(I know you didn't ask) Maggie came from a two dog home, and my clingy guy, Bailey has three companions.
 

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You've had wonderful advise.. Could you use a smaller area for him.. draw the shades so he can't see out, etc.? Making sure he is well exercised before you go, leave on the T.V or some music and leaving him with some safe chew toys often will help. I used Kongs, natural sterilized bones, and other toys made to stuff and leave the dog alone with . You need to leave him more often, also.. Try it for shorter periods of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi everyone, thanks for all your responses, I have searched and searched for a trainer/behavious specialist but there does not seem to be this kind of service where I live. So I have been trying to train him myself.

Yesterday when he did all the crying for 3 hours, we had been at the park all day and he was so tired he was falling asleep sitting up in the car, so I really don't understand why he wouldn't have just slept.

He is 9 months old tomorrow and I have not had this problem with him before, does anyone know why this seperation anxiety happens? Is this why he has started coming to the bathroom with me, and if I close the door before he gets in he cries at the other side?
 

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Awww, poor guy.. I wonder if something scared him? He is at a funny age. I would work on leaving him more. Give him something wonderful and go away for 5 or 10 minutes.. return, etc. Turn up the music. Is there some one you trust that might come walk him part way through the longer times you have to leave him? Maybe a vet could tell you of a trainer close by. Wishing you all the best.
 

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Sounds like separation anxiety. Tucker was returned to his breeder for chewing through a wall and lots of other issues that were anxiety related. When she looked for a new family for him, she said he needed a family with another dog. Do you know Tucker NEVER exhibited some of the anxious behaviors again? I was amazed by this. Shadow really helped him with many of his issues.

He did react at first to thunder, but he got over it. He was terrified of the smoke alarm. To this day he gets nervous when he smells something burning off the coils, but he no longer tries to jump out the glass panel on our back door.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Until last week I used ot let Marley stay in my bedroom, but then he chewed some wood whilst I was out, so I moved him to the spare room (his bedroom) do you think this is why he is so upset? This spare room has never been used.
 

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Just wanted to add, if you leave him in a crate, make sure he doesn't have a collar on. Actually, you should probably take his collar off any time you leave him alone, if you don't already, that is....

He sounds like a real sweetie.
 
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