Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
I thought the tips about calming puppies were awesome! I, too, have worked with dogs a lot, not in fostering, but I have been a groomer and worked for 2 vets. We own two adult dogs who can have some separation anxiety problems when we are away from home on vacations and such.
My dog had severe separation anxiety when we adopted him. His loving owner doted on him until the husband broke his hip, was taken away by medics in an ambulance and had to move into a nursing home that would not take large dogs.
Mason (age 2) then was placed in a foster home where he was spoiled by his foster family and became very attached. Enter my crazy family of 5 who on adopting him became his 3rd family in 3 months. Mason was an angel when we were home, but "freaked" out when we left him home alone and of course with three kids every time we left the house it was a little crazy (probably reminding him of the paramedics). Mason destroyed countless doorframes, prized possessions, several quits - including a down quilt, pooped all over the floor, etc. We tried shutting him in the bathroom, but guess what.. he can open doors. We tied putting him in a crate - but that totally freaked him out and he actually broke the crate and hurt himself. Enter a frantic trip to the vet and a dog trainer.
I've attached a link to the behavior training that worked for us below. Because he was so worked up, we did put him in doggy day care while we were at work for a few weeks while we started on the steps. The vet also ended up putting him on anti-anxiety meds (doggie Prozac) for a couple months and the first couple times we left him home alone we gave him a sedative just to knock him out a bit. It took a couple of months and then we were able to wean him off of all the meds. He is now able to stay home alone un-crated with no problems what-so-ever (for 6 years) and is a much happier/more confident dog. He plays with toys all the time now too, which he didn't do for months when we first adopted him. I won't lie, it was a lot of work, but so worth it and while we did put some money into daycare and meds, it was less than we had spent replacing the things he had destroyed. He has been a wonderful, wonderful family pet and I think he appreciates the work we put in.
My dogs Missy and Duke, can sometimes be a bit overly playful while I'm at work. When I have come home in the past, one (or both) of them have ripped the stuffing from their play animals, and gotten into other mischief around the house. A friend had picked up this new CD that's out, made just for pet separation anxiety. She said it calmed her dog significantly - plus, she said she really liked the instrumental music as well. It's called 'Mood Music for Dogs' (And Dog Lovers) 'Gone for a Walk'.
I was skeptical at first, but she was insistent about how well it worked, so after a few more weeks of 'after-work dog mania' I tried the CD, and now I'm a believer. It worked the very first day! When I came home, Missy was laying on her side in dream heaven, Duke was in his chair, the beautiful music was playing (piano, strings, harp, and flute) and there was not one single disturbance in sight. I thought I was at the wrong house! The days have stretched into months since then, and my testimonial holds true about the difference it has made for my pets. I play the CD while I'm taking a bath or reading my magazines because the music is so relaxing in the background. So, my tip is, buy this CD. Plus, a CD player doesn't take as much electricity as a TV, and there's never loud commercials or static. I bought the CD online at cherylchristine.com, but my friend bought hers at the Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory on Hilton Head Island, SC
By Angela from Hilton Head Island, SC
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I have a 6 month old Golden/Lab. She is very friendly. We started out just leaving her out when there was no one home. We would put a gate up to prevent her going up the stairs. We have two other dogs and they are both smaller then her. We would come home and the house would be destroyed and the gate would be down from her jumping over it.
So then we got a crate to put her in. We thought it would be better. It wasn't. She manages to move the crate a least three feet from where we left it. She even managed to get the smallest dog's bed in the crate. I don't know how she did that. She ended up breaking the crate. There is no point in her staying in. She's even busted out of it several times before breaking it.
Then we got her fixed at 5 months. We were hoping she would settle down a little bit, but the next day after being fixed, she would jump around and jump over two gates high when we try to block her from going up the stairs. I spoke to the veterinarian and they suggested to put a Thunder shirt on her. It calms her down just a little bit, but not enough. I do not even know how many shoes she tore up, as well as my mom's childhood books.
She is in training right now though. I talked to the trainer and she suggested to spray ammonia on the stuff we she tries to chew up. Please if you have any suggestions even if you may seem like it's stupid I would love advice. I would not consider it stupid. I just don't know what to do. Please help. I really do not want to do it, but if I have to I would have to get rid of her. :( I think light crates and gates are out of the question, though.
I would change her diet, and also see if she responds well at all to benadryl. I would give her one to two milligrams of benadryl per pound, the cheap stuff not the pediatric though and see if it calms her down. Also what about a Kong toy, where you stuff really high value treats in it. I know if a dog that is this way, and nothing has helped. I have a dog that is somewhat phobic about noises and such.
I am not sure what to tell you after the benadryl and the Kong. Check out leerburg.com and look at their free training articles and podcasts and videos, the free ones and you might find something there. Also send them a question and they will answer it possibly oh their site. leerburg.com is a great training site!
We adopted a dog with severe separation anxiety, so I've been there. It's awful to come home and find precious heirlooms destroyed. What worked for us was a combination of training and medication. We used a combination of a pheromone collar (sold over the counter at the vets office) and a doggy Prozac prescription.
We also put him in doggy daycare for a couple weeks while we worked up to leaving him home alone for longer and longer periods of time. Once the anxiety was under control, we worked on desensitizing him to having us leave. We'd pick up the keys and set them back down, get our coats on and not leave, walk out the door and come back in. Basically mess around with the cues that we were leaving so they didn't make him so anxious.
Once he was calm about us leaving, we were able to leave him home on the meds, then slowly wean him off the meds. Now he stays home alone just fine with no medications (as long as you don't leave any blankets out).
I have a 10 month old puppy that has separation anxiety. I just rescued her 3 months ago. We have 3 other dogs that are older than her. She has eaten every dog cot we had along with an entire couch and she pees and poops when we are gone and when we go to bed even though she can go out 24/7.
They all go into a very large area in the basement at night and when we leave. I take them all out the regular door regularly when I'm home because she won't go out on her own the way the others do and she will just pee in the house instead of telling me she has to go. I love her, but this needs to stop or my husband is going to divorce me.
This seems like just plain anxiety, not really separation anxiety.
Your dog sounds like the omega in the pack. She doesn't want to go out when the others do. When you take her out you empower her, but as the low dog on the totem pole she feels unwelcome otherwise going where the others do.
You already have three dogs. What made you decide to take on another? In the wild, an unrelated puppy would not be allowed to join an already established pack. The puppy would be run off or possibly killed since the dominant female did not give birth to it. The dogs are only tolerating it because you say so, but it certainly feels the stress of not belonging.
Perhaps your puppy would be happier in a home with no other dogs, or a very elderly one.
Trying to provide a home for a rescue is admirable, but it needs to be the right home for the right dog. This doesn't seem like a good match to me.
What to do about a previously abused dog who has bad separation anxiety?
By 2reddogs from Wilm, DE
I'm going to assume that you inherited/rescued this dog - and I applaud your efforts! First of all, I would STRONGLY suggest investing in an appropriate size of dog crate for it, if you haven't gotten one already. A lot of times, half the separation anxiety is due to feeling vulnerable without their pack/person (also, if they're destructive in their anxiety, this will help protect your belongings!).
It will also help establish a 'going away' routine - the dog won't worry if you're going to leave them at any given moment, they'll know the signals for when it's time. I don't know if it necessarily helps, but I make sure to say goodbye and 'I'll be back!' before I leave. Dogs are pretty smart, after all. :)
Another thing you can do to ease your dog's anxiety is establish a very stable schedule. This helps the dog to learn that you WILL come back, and can expect you. I've found feeding the dog in their kennel at mealtime helps build a positive association with the kennel. I also give my dog treats when I put him in to reinforce that.
It won't be fast, and it won't be easy to listen to, but it WILL go away if you are gentle, calm and consistent.
I would try leaving the dog first for short periods of time. Leave him/her for 5 minutes and then return. Do this a few times in one day and gradually work up to 10 minutes and so on. If you have a web cam you can keep it running to see how the dog is responding each time. This is how I had to deal with my GSD pup. And when you leave tell the dog "Daddy/Mommy has to go to work" and the dog won't expect you back for a long time. If you are leaving for a short while, tell the dog that "you will be right back." They know what you are saying. They are amazing.
I agree with finchonce, but I would add that if you put your dog in a wire crate, as opposed to an enclosed vinyl one, he might feel safer if you put a towel or blanket over the top to give the crate a more den-like feeling. We give our dogs treats right before we leave, and tell them to "watch the house". It's a routine they seem to enjoy.
I used to board dogs for the Humane Society. Had a lot of abused dogs with separation anxiety. I would suggest that if you go the crate route you find something that you or someone in your family has worn that is old (it may get chewed up) and has a LOT of body odor. Putting that into the crate seems to calm them down a lot. Lots of luck - it will take time.
It's very helpful to get the dog a Kong toy and fill the inside, around the edges, with peanut butter, then keep it in the freezer. (Don't overdo the peanut butter unless you have a large dog). Give this to the dog right before you leave, and it will keep him busy and happy for quite a while licking the peanut butter out of that Kong. Also, a favorite stuffed toy to cuddle is always good.
Good luck and Bless you for taking in an abused dog. He needs much TLC and understanding for a while.
Oh, I swear by the ComfortZone diffuser. That thing is amazing. Just plug it in by the dog's crate. It reminds them of the smell of the mama dog. You can get it at any pet store for about $30. You can usually order them online for a little less. Check out OnlyNaturalPets.com. They have a wonderful spray called "Pet Calming Spray." It's very inexpensive and works really well. It lasts from 6 to 8 hours.
I don't know if you would want to do it, but we got another little dog to keep our sweetie company. That seemed to calm him down. He would still get anxious once in a while and run behind the couch when we were leaving, but his distructive behaviour of pulling on the curtians at the window stopped for good.
Try playing with the dog each time you are leaving him, to tire him, running, fetch etc. Then leave him something to chew on and or a treat or two. Please try and ensure when you return you always give him a treat and cuddle or play for even a few minutes. Hopefully this way he associates your going and coming with happy things.
I have a little doggie, and when I return, first thing I pick him up and cuddle and play him so he has some time with me.
I must confess this is one of my worries too, and I am still working on it. As mine is a small spoilt brat recently acquired I think it is due to his having someone to be with him most of the time.
I do applaud and take hats off to the kind generous people who take in abused and stray animals. May God bless you and all others who treat animals with love and care.
Reading all the entries makes my heart ache. Its been 8 years and I'm still feeling really sad about a Shi Tzu which I used to own. She was a present and truly adorable. Unfortunately, she must have been abused as she had serious separation anxiety, was afraid of loud sounds and rain and worse of all- corophagia (she ate her poop).
At that time, I was lucky enough to stay at home 24-7 and spent all my time with her, but even with lots of attention and kisses, if she was left alone for 5 minutes- she'd go hysterical.When it rained- her eyes would bulge, she'd shake uncontrollably and drool all over me, even though I would put her on my lap to comfort her. It didn't help that my other Shih Tzu is very possessive and when I gave Bubbles more attention, my older dog would get upset and pee on carpets in anger. Between the both of them, it was making my family very upset and my house very filthy.
Almost everyday Bubbles would eat her poop and pee on the mats. Then she'd jump up onto the sofa or bed where she was NOT allowed! I think I spent most hours just cleaning her and the places she soiled. When I took her to the vet for a check and her vaccinations, she was given a clean bill of health but I was advised to give her away or put her down (horrors!)but didn't have the heart to. She was obviously abused before and I didn't think another family would have as much time as I had to devote to her.So I kept trying to assure my poor dog that she was loved and safe even though it was honestly very difficult.
The vet prescribed pills to stop the corophagia but it didn't help. Things got really bad when she jumped onto the bed and pooped.Then ate it! I then went to see the pet store owner where she had been bought to ask about her, he said she had belonged to someone else and told me young females are like that so I should send her for breeding to stop the behaviour problems but I thought that advice sounded very illogical (he probably doesn't care at all about his dogs!) and refused.
I followed all other advise= gave lots of lavish praise and treats, walks (which she didn't particularly like, she just wanted to be hugged all the time) and crate training.She hated the first wire crate, the moment I put her in it- she'd run out- so I got her a plastic one- which she'd try to escape by scratching and biting at the door like possessed. And poop in it as well. I felt like some evil prison guard.
So I bought her a soft cushioned igloo-house with no door- she peed in that one and refused to sleep in it. The only place she slept was beside my bed-on a pile my clothes.
Last resort- I bought many pieces of metal grill fencing to link together and form a large open enclosure..which I moved to wherever I was so she could still see me- didn't help. She managed to climb out like some wonder dog, not before peeing in there too.
There is no happy ending to my story- I came home one day after being out for 4 hours and discovered her gone. She had been left with my husband who was home but was asleep on the sofa. We found a hole she had managed to somehow break and squeeze through the plastic netting I put over the base of the front door, (she had run out once before when there was a thunderstorm)
We searched for her all over for a long time but never found her and none returned her. She was with me for almost a year and except for the problems I mentioned, she was a very loving, intelligent, beautiful 1 yr old female. Can someone please tell me what else I could have done, to have helped her?
I still have her framed photo on my mantelpiece and feel so guilt ridden. Every time it rains now, I think of her and hope she is alive and well. Hopefully she is with a loving, patient family.
I have two Pit Bulls, Honey is a fully grown Pit Bull 11 years old, and Blaze that is 6 years old. Everytime we leave they tend to destroy the house! We can't ever come home without having to clean up a mess. We have tried to put a gate up, but my 6 year old always tends to find a way out. We even tried to put the dinner table against it and he still finds a way out. They were never trained, I have no idea why. My brother was the owner, but he moved out and left them here. We need a solution because it's so embarrassing having company over and having to make them wait and have to clean. I have given up, I need help!
By Brianna Q.
I started fostering a black Lab/Boxer/Pit Bull mix 3 weeks ago. I believe she has separation anxiety which has been causing me anxiety throughout my day at work. She can tell when I'm getting ready for work and she follows me from room to room and when I'm just sitting watching TV she makes sure she is right next to me or on top of me.
I've tried to make it less noticeable when I'm getting ready to leave for work by waiting until I have her locked in the bedroom before putting my shoes and coat on. But she's a pretty smart dog and she knows when I'm about to leave and she tries her very best to not go into the bedroom. I leave the TV on for her and a sound maker. She cries for a while and eventually gives up, but lately her crying has been louder and lasting longer. Since I got her 3 weeks ago, almost every day I have come home to poop on the floor in the bedroom. The other day she had pooped in the bedroom before I ever walked out the door to head to work and this was 10 minutes after I had let her outside.
How do I help her be less stressed when I leave for work and how do I get her to stop pooping in the bedroom? She is 5 years old. She was used as bait in a dog fight with 5 other dogs. She never has accidents in the house when I am home and she is very well trained, minus her accidents while I am gone. Thank you.
I adopted a rescue, 3yr old female Catahoula. I've had her now for almost 2 yrs. I was told that she was in a puppy mill, obviously by the math it was before she was 1yr old. At first she was pretty timid and shy, she chewed up a lot of stuff and had some odd actions or reactions. It was very difficult keeping her, but she settled down and relaxed, it got much better. She is awesome and a great dog. She gets along with my 6yr old male Rottweiler very well. For around the last 6 months or so she will run outside everytime I go downstairs or to the garage. It wasn't really a big deal until she would do it when it's cold and snowing or raining and just sit in the corner of the yard. It got to the point where I made a door for the dog door so she can't run outside, at this point she will follow me to the basement or garage, happy, but partly reluctant tho. I'm sure it's separation anxiety, but to develop it now? Help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thx.
How can I stop my 8 month old Pit Bull from crying and barking when I leave the house? He is an extremely well-behaved dog, always has been, but he seems to suffer from separation anxiety when my husband or I leave.
I am currently expecting my first child, so the dog is rarely left alone (and when he is it's for 4 hours or less), but with a lot of upcoming doctor appointments, I am worried the problem will continue. I always make sure to leave the radio or TV on when I go out, leave him a big bowl of fresh water, toys, and his Kong to keep him occupied, but it doesn't seem to help.
We live in an apartment building and keep getting complaints from the neighbors. If it continues we have been told we may be forced to give him up. Please help me! I need a solution that will actually work. I can't stand the thought of losing him, but with a baby on the way, I cannot afford to lose my home either.
By Erica from Seattle, WA
I have heard that people sometimes record their voice on the computer, then have it loop, and let it play all day while they are gone. You and your husband could record a long conversation. Then to test it out, start the recording, get in the car and drive away. Park about a block away, then walk back to the house (your dog would hear the car approach) and see if it is working. Whatever you decide to do, good luck.
If the other suggestion doesn't work, you could try giving the dog calming medicine a half hour before leaving home. It's inexpensive and might help.
Classical music is also calming. My husband played it when I left the house after noticing my bonded female cried. This relaxed all the pets and they took a nap. It's sedating without calming medicine.
My dog had separation anxiety (the tear and destroy type) when I adopted him. I spent a lot of time at the vet and dog trainers figuring out how to deal with it. This is what they recommended:
1) Try a Dog Appeasement Pheromone (DAP) collar (they have them at the vets). The collar gives off the same soothing hormone that the mother dog gives off when she's nursing to calm and sooth the puppies. I found it really helped Mason feel safe.
2) Ignore your dog before you leave and for at least 10 minutes after you come home. This helps them from thinking your leaving is a big deal.
3) Have a phrase that you use every time you leave that means you'll be back. I use "Mason, be good" as I shut the door. He knows it means I'll be gone for a while, but he knows I'll come back.
4) Desensitize your dog by picking up your keys and moving them, leaving for a minute and coming back, then leaving for longer time so he gets used to you coming and going. This could really help, since you say you don't leave the house often.
5) Obedience training generally helps your dog feel more self-assured. Reward low key calm behavior, not jumping or whining.
We finally ended up putting him on Reconcile (doggie Prozac) for a couple months until he adjusted to our house. We've had him for a year and a half now and he does awesome! I've also heard that some dogs do better if you use a crate.
Our 8 year old Rat Terrier has developed separation anxiety when we both leave the house together and do not take her with us. She has started urinating in the bedrooms while we are out.
Can anyone give me advice for how to prevent this from happening each time we go out? We walk her 2 miles in the morning and the same in the evening. She always pees and poops on both trips. Thanks for any help someone can give me.
Try "D.A.P" (Dog Appeasing Hormone) or "Comfort Zone for dogs".They are Diffusers... Or you can try "Rescue Remedy". The first two cost around $35 (& less for the refills) but most pet stores have a $10 rebate coupon you can use, or you could find a coupon online. The D.A.P also makes a dog collar for only $18.
Read more here:
If I were you, I'd first read reviews on these products (maybe on Amazon.com). The two diffusers (DAP & Comfort Zone) have about a 50% chance of working, it all depends on the dog. The Rescue Remedy works differently, it's more for once in a while usage. Rescue Remedy is a calming formula, that is made for high stress & emergency situations (like calming a dog or cat while traveling, moving or to give the pet an I.V. or before grooming or going to the vet. The diffusers are for continues daily use.
Rescue Remedy comes in either an alcohol base or a non-alcohol base. The alcohol bases is absorbed quicker. You would put it in food or water. Many people like the non-alcohol formula. With people you would put several drops under the tongue. They are available at most pet stores. Rescue Remedy is the same, if it's for pets or for humans. You can buy it in most Health Food Stores & costs around $12.
Talk to your vet, they will know about these products. Also talk to the people that work at quality pet stores & before you buy these products, first read reviews online. I'd start by reading reviews on Amazon.com. My vet says that sometimes the diffusers work miracles & sometimes they don't work at all... It all depends of your pet (they also make another pheromone that's made for cats that mark territory)
* Rescue Remedy also works wonders for pets that are afraid of thunderstorms & fireworks.
It might help to put your dog in a crate when you leave, along with some of his favorite things. If the crate is made of wire and open all around you could lay a blanket or towel across the top to give it more of a "den" feeling. Many dogs actually feel safer in a crate.
Two suggestions: Try leaving the TV or radio on so there is some people noise for him to hear. Also, get him one of those toys that you put a treat inside of and the dog keeps busy trying to get to the treat. Give your dog lots of affection when you return home even if he has had an accident.
Hope you solve your problem!
I am just looking for ideas that worked for you to get him or her to stop crying, scratching the rug, and the door every time you left.
I have a 7 year old German Shepherd hound mix and he has separation anxiety issues. For the first 3 years I was always home, but then I started working. He cries, barks, whines, howls, and is destructive. He has chewed part of walls, doors, and furniture. I get him toys, give him treats when he is good, play with him all the time, etc. I don't know what else to do. I want to look into home herbal remedies. I tried medication and it did not work. Someone help us!
Over the years I've had a couple of dogs who suffered from extreme separation anxiety, poor things! One dog was so frantic at being left alone that he drooled buckets, and another would shred anything he could get his teeth and claws on. Awful, I felt so badly for them!
The most successful solution was crating them, and leaving the TV on near-by. The crate contained them in a safe and comfortable place, and the TV seemed to make them less lonely-I think they could hear the voices on TV and I dunno, maybe it made the pups think I'd be back soon? Anyway, it worked. I noticed that if the TV wasn't on the dog would chew more; if on, the dog seemed to sleep more.
It wasn't as bad when I was a stay-at-home mum because I wasn't usually out of the house for more than a couple of hours at a time. After my divorce, though, I went back to work full-time, and had to use my lunch hours to run home and let the dog out. Still, my last dog lived to be over 13 years old-and in a Boxer, that's amazing. The vet was sure he lived so long because he was so happy with me. (Gosh I hope so! Sure made me feel better when the vet said that:)
The music I was referring to in my suggestion is Shakuhachi Meditation Music by Stan Richardson. You can find the CD online at around $3 for a used CD and $10 for a new CD. It really does quickly relax my pets. Hope you find it helpful.
I have a new puppy. I got her 2 weeks ago and she uses the puppy pad most of the time. However when I leave the house just to check the mail or whatever reason for a minute or two, she will poop in front of the door right where I would step when I come back in.
I would take her with me, but she barks at everyone who comes near me and I'm working on that as well. I went to the store yesterday and she stayed with my adult daughter. My daughter said she sat at the door and cried for me the whole time I was gone, she would pick her up and try to calm her down, but she would fight her to get away and back to the door waiting for me.
How can I stop her from pooping in front of the door like that? And how can I train her to be calm until I get back? I don't like her being so sad when I leave. She is crate trained, but I don't want to put her in there for a minute or two. Any advice? She is only 6 months old. I should also mention she is a rescue dog that was first taken to the shelter where she was rescued from a no kill rescue, then adopted only to be returned as she was too playful for the elderly couple. So she has abandonment issues I'm sure.
By Eddie from Staten Island, NY
I just picked up my girl on Friday. I was warned of her separation anxiety. Leaving last night, I placed her in my room and left the radio on, per the advice I received. When arriving home, it was nothing I had ever seen before. She completely destroyed the bedroom door and literally broke through my children's bedroom window. I was told of her fear of cages, which is why I opted against it as it was part of her abusive puppyhood. Any other suggestion other than what has already been posted?
I have a 5 year old yellow Lab. I got her about 2 months ago. She was a kennel dog and was never in a house and was never a family dog. She is a sweet heart and does awesome with everyone. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body.
Here's where the problem comes in. When left alone all day she is fine, doesn't pee or poop in the house. She goes all night without going in the house. If I am inside she is at my side no more then 3 feet away. When I give my son a bath there isn't enough room in my bathroom for all 3 of us, so I have to shut the door and lock her out. Well that's when she pees on the floor. If I am home and shut her out she pees on the floor even if there are other people in the house. Please help.
I have a 3 year old female Siberian Husky. We adopted her a little over two years ago from the Humane Society. She is completely housebroken and over all a very well behaved dog.
She is very attached to my fiance and acts like a completely different dog whenever he is not around. She has started to pee on the floor right after I let her out and she pees outside, not a lot, but enough to let me know! I think it might have something to do with the separation of her and my fiance now that he is working a lot.
I don't really know what to do. We've tried walking her as soon as he gets home so she still feels the one on one connection. She has been checked by the vet, no bladder problems. Whenever he has a day off he takes her out walking to parks, fishing, etc.
I lock her up and she won't do it at all, but I can't leave my dog in a cage for 9 hrs a day until he gets home, when I am here. I just can't do it. Has anyone ever had this problem before and can you help me?
By Britt from IN