Separation Anxiety

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by velasquez_cris, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. velasquez_cris New Member

    Hi Everyone!

    I have an 8 month old Chinese Shar Pei, whose name is Oliver. For an 8 month old puppy, we really don't have too many problems. One of the problems we do have is with separation anxiety. He is extremely attached to me. It's gotten to the point where he won't eat or go potty if he's not with me. If I leave him in his crate while I go to school or work, he barks and cries. He's usually not home alone for more than 2 hours. I've tried taking him running before I leave him in his crate, giving him fresh bones, giving him several toys, turning on Animal Planet for him (I know it's cheesy, but what else would he watch?) and having the crate next to the window so he can look out.

    I don't know what else to do, it hasn't gotten any better. :dogunsure:

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I think, reading your post, that your theory is right, but your practise could be improved.

    You clearly get the idea that Oliver needs his mind occupied while you are out. However, you have to remember that, as much as you might love him, he's not a human and he doesn't have the same interests as we humans have.

    It's highly unlikely that he is interested in watching Animal Planet, or any other channel for that matter. (There is an often cited method of leaving a radio on for the sound, but I've personally always found that a little odd and counter-productive, and clearly having sound on all day when you're supposed to be resting does nothing for Oliver either.)

    Looking out of the window all day long, while not being able to take part is certainly likely to be counter-productive. Imagine being forced to sit in front of your window all day long while people pass it, all tempting you with your most wanted items, or performing your favourite actions. You would be completely unable to interact, and so it remains just one long and inescapable tease.

    I would start by relocating the crate to a more sedate and less tempting part of the home. The last thing you need is for Oliver to keep getting excited by what he sees passing the window.

    I would then purchase or make some new "crate toys". These are toys that will only ever appear when Oliver is in the crate. They have to be engaging and durable. KONG toys are usually ideal for this purpose, particularly those that can be filled with food.

    The last thing is more of a slow-burning behaviour change. The only way for Oliver to get used to being apart from you is to, well, be apart from you more. It sounds glib but it's absolutely true. Try closing doors behind you when you are moving about the home. This way, he not only learns that you come and go as a matter of course, but also that you always come back!

    Lastly, and I must say this, don't encourage his overly strong attachment behaviours. Oliver will eat without you being present, and he will toilet without you being present, I guarantee it. My neighbour told me that his two dogs would never do this, and never do that... Last month his wife was taken into hospital for a serious illness, and she is still in there. They have now been forced, by circumstance, to change how they treat their two "babies", and hey-presto, the dogs have learned to adapt, and behave like dogs. I am not suggesting that you have treated your dog like a baby, but I am saying that dogs adapt to whatever they are taught and rewarded for doing.

    S/A is a horrible thing to try and have to cure when it gets to the really advanced stages, as, by the very definition, it only comes about when there is nobody there to do anything about it. However, yours doesn't sound anywhere near as bad as it can get, and Oliver is still very young. I firmly believe that you have every chance of solving the issue.
  3. Jean Cote Administrator

    You might want to consider exercising your dog before leaving. If he has less energy then he will be more apt to sleep rather than bark. If your dog can fetch/retrieve then a 10 minute session in the backyard would be awesome!
  4. blisandt New Member

    I agree with the crate toys - kongs especially - and perhaps with a FROZEN filling (unsweetened plain yohurt mixed with kibble and a milk bone "plug" in the hole is out favorite).
  5. liowkc New Member

    Gradually accustom your puppy to being left alone for seconds, then increase the time you are gone to several minutes. If your dog is relaxed, lengthen the time you are away. If still anxious, keep the sessions to 1 or 2 minutes until he calms down.
  6. good_doggie New Member

    try to not say goodbye.because when you say goodbye like this(is zuzu going to miss me?Is zuzu going to miss me while i am gone?)If you express your goodbye like that,he will be more scared if you keep on saying goodbye like that.try to play with him before you leave for about 10 minutes.I bet that will calm im down.Or in other words,you want to take him to a doggie daycare.but if you do,make sure to leave him a shirt of yours or a toy to remember home.just a tip.

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