please help with my dog's anxiety and barking

zachslcMay 1, 2011

Almost exactly a year ago i adopted a then 2-year-old female schnauzer mix of unknown history from the local animal shelter. From the beginning she would bark when I left for work in the morning (7-8 hours), but got over that rather quickly. At the time she was crated, and would continue to bark and cry incessantly if I left the house, even if I just stepped outside for a few minutes to work in the yard. I figured it would pass eventually and did all the normal stuff the websites tell you to do--long walk, lots of toys, etc. over time I moved her out of the crate because when she was in the crate she would cry if I left the room. I only tried that a few times, and generally only crated her when i was leaving. over time would leave her out of the crate for short periods when I'd leave and she would still cry, but has never been destructive, so i did away with the crate, since it was really too small for her anyway. A new, larger crate is not an option because I live in a very, very small house and have nowhere I could make room for it.

Over the fall and winter things seemed to improve slightly, according to one of my neighbors who would monitor her noise during the day, but that neighbor moved and the neighbor who replaced her is complaining about the noise and has called the police once.

She does not seem to show what I read is the typical signs of separation anxiety, as she does not need to be with me when I am home. She will roam around or contently lie on her bed while I move around the house or stay put in one room away from her.

Today was the first nice day of the year where I have had a chance to do some gardening, and as soon as I walked out she began howling and continued with only brief interruptions for over an hour. At that point I came in the house and sat down for a minute and she got quiet right away and went in the other room (away from me), but as soon as I walked outside again the howling continued. If i take her out with me I have to tie her to the porch or back door as I do not have a fence in the yard (and cannot install one due to unusual logistics concerning the properly line and rights-of-way) and if I walk around the corner she immediately begins howling. She now does not make a sound when I leave in the morning, but jumps and barks excitedly when I come home. For over a year I have done exactly as I have read I should do and ignored this, refusing to pay attention top her until she gets calm, but the behavior continues everyday. I feel like I have done everything I should be doing--including walking her for over an hour each day. The only thing I have not done is the thing where you leave her for periods of a few minutes then gradually increase it. I just cannot do this. I live alone and work a full time job.

I have always figured I could just wait this out until it stops, but if there are two more noise complaints filed she will be confiscated.

I know there are meditative options, but I am considering that a last resort. please help.

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What you've described is very much typical signs of SA. She's content when you're home because she knows you're in the house.

Have you considered putting her in doggie day care? I think the change and the exercise she'll get there would really help her since Schnauzers need lots of exercise. I really don't think hour long walks are enough for her to expend the energy she has.

The other thing you could try is to enroll in an obedience class. Working with her every evening on the new commands will stimulate her both mentally and physically and will help in establishing your alpha roll.

The link below describes in more detail things you can try.

Here is a link that might be useful: SA

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 9:55PM
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I am planning on enrolling in an obedience class. Doggie daycare is not an option.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Iuse the term "schnauzer" very loosely. She's a mutt.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Obedience class will do little for her. She really needs to be in a day care situation. Is it possible to leave her with someone you know? Pay a neighborhood kid? A family member, neighbor or friend she and stay with?
I would contact the local humane society and ask if they can help. Also contact the police and let them know you recently adopted the dog and are diligently working on the barking issue.
Seperation Anixety is a very very hard issue to deal with if you dont have the time or someone to assist you. It took me close to a year of very careful work with my bull mastiff husky mix to help him over his anxiety - I am retired and hoave the time.
You really need help with this. If you can find someone to assist you when you are at work, I do have techniques you can use when you are at home in order to combat this problem but I warn you now it takes a considerable amount of time and patience.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 12:49AM
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I cannot take her to daycare because I do not drive, so I can't transport her farther than it would be reasonable to walk.

I realize that will alleviate the problem now, but ultimately she needs to learn to be alone. I can't afford to pay for in-home care. Even if I found someone to be with her while I am at work, that doesn't help when I have to leave at other times.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:10AM
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I understand. I would like you to e mail me so I can help you with your dog without using up a whole lot of space here and so you can e mail me her progress as we go along. My email address is

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 11:59PM
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Mazer, I e-mailed you.

Would it help to move her bed out of my bedroom? I'd also love to be able to keep her off the bed during the day but Have never been successful at doing this, and if I moved her bed out I'd be able to close the door.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 6:42PM
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