Severe separation anxiety

lucymay6May 18, 2011

Hi there...

I have been dealing with my dog's separation anxiety for years. And I am at the end of my rope. Today I took the kids out for a bike ride, and was gone for less than an hour. I left the dog in the basement, with all the doors latched. I came back to a note on the door from the dog officer that he had found her roaming around loose on the street. The basement door was shredded, but not to the extent that she could have gotten out. She is a shepherd-lab mix and the hole was about 6x8" around. I think the only way was that she opened 2 sets of doors in the basement to push out the bulkhead, then jumped over the gate in the yard. She also peed all over the basement while she was at it.

I know that this anxiety is just as difficult for her as it is for me. I love this dog dearly. But I simply can't live like this anymore. I have done all the behaviour approaches that trainers recommend. I talked to our vet who put her on doggie prozac andalprazolam. No effect.

I am debating whether I give this dog up (to whom? I don't know) or try one last effort and invest in a commercial grade crate. She has wiggled her way out of the retail grade steel crates. SO it would have to be INDESTRUCTABLE. And I think I would have to force her into it. I tried last summer reintruducing a crate to her. Tried getting her to just take a nap in a crate and she would not go near the thing. I threw hot dogs in and she wouldn't go in after them.

ANy advice? Anyone know of a very very god crate?

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Yikes!! Your attempting to crate this dog is not a great idea. She is already demonstrating she can not deal with being in the crate..forcing her is just going to make this situation worse.
Can you give a little history on how you got your dog?
You stated you have done all of the behavior approaches that trainers recommended - can you be more detailed about what you have been told to do and what you have done and how it has failed?
I also need to know how many people are in your family, what your dogs days is like and how old your dog is...
How long has she demonstrated this behavior?
How long have you had her?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:29AM
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How long was she on the meds. Meds can take 30 days to kick in, and will NOT work if you are not doing alone training with her at the same time. And alone training takes dedication and time. If you are serious about keeping her, engage a good behaviorist to help you through the training and work with you at least weekly. You need a coach if you really want to help your dog. Put her back on the Prozac while your'e working with her.

One comment, and please don't take this the wrong way - in most cases when I see 'at the end of my rope' or 'at my wits end' the dog is returned. And that may be the right thing for the dog and for your family. You may simply not have the best environment and the time needed to help your dog. If you adopted her from a reputable adoption group they will take her back and work with her.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:33PM
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And do not crate a dog with SA, unless they are already crate trained. It's a comforting place for dogs who are at home in a crate, but horrifying for SA dogs with no crate experience.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 8:36PM
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The only thought that comes to mind for me as well is that it is very important where you put the crate when introducing the dog to it. When I first crated mine, I knew it was ****extremely**** important that that crate was very NEAR me. The dog has to know it is not being ostracized from the pack. Otherwise, it's just a punishment. More than anything, the crate should trigger a feeling of security in the animal.

We don't have crates anymore in the den, but at one point, I had 3 large crates in my den, and 2 were used as end tables. I could leave the doors open all day, and often find Rusty or Mocha taking naps in theirs of their own volition.

Ginger was another matter, she didn't ever really "take" to hers but didn't fight it. What I did find funny was that she would sometimes go into Rusty's to sleep. Ten years later she still follows Rusty like a puppy, and I think it was a comfort thing to her. If it had Rusty's scent, it was "safe".

I'll go a step further and say that if you do decide to try a crate again, not only does it need to be near you in the evenings, it needs to be moved to where you sleep at night. Our dogs sleep in our room on the floor. They feel like they are part of the family pack. If I were crating a new dog, that crate would get moved to my room at night also. You never want the crate to be seen as a method of pushing the dog out of its pack (you and your family).

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:00AM
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