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JA: I'm so happy you had a good...

Resolved • Response time 5 minutes

21 May 2022

JA: I'm so happy you had a good experience with DustinJ1119! Do you have any follow-up questions about this case or can we help with anything else (next steps, documents, appeals, etc.)? It's included!
Customer: No
JA: If anything comes up just let me know. Experts can also help you troubleshoot tech, draft a will, and keep you (and a pet!) healthy. Anything else going on that we can help with?
Customer: Dog with separation anxiety
JA: Let me get you an Expert to help with that. Before I do, are there any other details you'd like me to pass on?
Customer: I adopted a 6 yr old pitbull mix 5 months ago and I've been struggling to train him to be comfortable being left alone. He was on fluoxetine, but we have now switched to trazadone. My current vet didn't seem supportive of him being on both - is this common or should I find a different vet that wants to help the issue (this vet also essentially said he won't get better with being left alone)
JA: My mistake, I thought that was for the Lawyer. Could you tell me again how I can best be of help?
Customer: Vet advice
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21 May 2022

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Dog Specialist's response
21 May 2022
Sally G.
Sally G.
Independent Contractor

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I have been in the dog field for 25 years. I am a Therapy Dog & AKC Evaluator/trainer/ as well as an assistance/service dog trainer, specializing in behavior. It will be my pleasure to help you today.

When it comes to SA with dogs , there are a lot of things that have to be put in place and all at the same time.

So you have seen your Vet and gotten meds, and that is great! Usually meds alone do not work, but at part of the aide that goes along with every thing else I will put below.

I should mention that as long as the dog is on meds, do not give any over the counter meds without consulting your Vet. Below is information to help a dog with SA, and over the counter meds are mentioned, but do not use until you consult your own Vet.

Generally dogs with Separation Anxiety lack self esteem and this can be due to changes in their life. Where they once felt secure they no longer do, so you need to help them to build self esteem through daily positive obedience training and the more short sessions you can do in a day, the better. Through that training you want to get a good ‘down stay’, meaning the dog should not get up until a release command is given. This means you need to start training this at a close distance to the dog, just a few feet at first, and try to give a release command before the has time to get up. This allows the dog to succeed in what you have asked. The goal is to eventually be able to put the dog in a down stay while you move out of site. This will start the process of the dog learning to be alone. Continue training throughout the dog’s life to keep from backslides. This does not mean it has to be formal, like every day at 2:30, it means to ask for a command anytime you are with the dog and be sure the dog can succeed at giving it to you for praise or a treat. This is all to build self confidence.

I would also invest in some mind stimulating toys such as the talk to me treat ball, ( this is a ball that you can hide treats in and as the dog rolls it a recording of your voice is played) the Kong stuffed with cream cheese and frozen, the buster cube where kibble or treats are placed inside, and the Kong Genius. This is all to keep the dog’s mind occupied while you are away from home.

You will also have to change your routine a bit so the dog never really knows if you are coming or going. I would start this training on a weekend or at a time you don’t have work or have any appointments and I would do it all day long. What you are going do is change your behavior which the dog has learned that you are about to leave. Whatever your routine entails prior to you normally leaving are things you want to change. This means everything from taking that morning shower before work to picking up your keys and leaving the house.

Some find it helpful to make a list of things they normally do before leaving because humans are so automated, we do things that we don’t even realize, but the dog picks them up as cues. For instance, my dogs could determine when my husband was going to work or going to the grocery store by the jacket he wore. Going to the grocery store meant they were going for a fun ride so they got excited.

You want to do these things all throughout the day, preferably for a couple of days in a row, but never really leave the home for hours at a time.

So pick your keys up, jiggle them a little and put them down again , put your coat on walk around the house a bit and take it off, get dressed for the day then get redressed for bed. If you take a shower in the morning each day change that to a nighttime shower and interchange them on days you are home or away.

Do not give good byes or hellos. Do not acknowledge the dog for at least 15 minutes before you leave and after coming home. Soft talk and acknowledgement of a dog that is acting nervous is actually rewarding to that dog. When you think about training a dog, we ask for something from them, they do it, we praise them. When it comes to doggie habits, they paw our arm and we pet them, so it works because the reinforcement of petting was immediate. When you acknowledge a scared dog with petting or soft talk it is actually a reward and so the behavior continues and gets worse over time.

When training in commands to succeed I find it helpful to use the clicker (which can be found in any pet store) as it is used as a marker over the person’s voice. Sometimes when humans train strictly with their voice , their frustration comes out and the dog hears that, which then makes the dog more nervous. So clicker training is simply giving the dog a command and waiting for the dog to complete that command, then use the clicker as a marker to tell the dog that they did the right thing, then praise & reward. Sometimes the clicker noise frightens a dog, so in that instance you will want to use your voice as the marker but keep it to one word such as “TIP.” There are also clickers that make a louder sound and some that are softer so play around and see if one will work for your dog.

The clicker costs about 3 dollars in a pet store and if you cannot find a treat bag for your belt use an old fanny pack. Not quite as stylish but it worksJ For reward I prefer very small soft treats so there is nothing that can crumble to the ground when chewed. When items like biscuits are used and the fall out of the dog’s mouth to the floor it takes the dog’s attention off of you.

Items you may want to try along with training: a thunder/anxiety wrap, a DAP diffuser, ( I have heard through customers that the diffuser works better in home situations than the collar) You may want to try over the counter Melatonin but always consult your vet before using any over the counter meds. I usually use this for dogs with anxiety to noise and separation. There are also a CD’s out called Through A Dogs Ear found on Amazon that I have found helpful to my own dogs in having them rest more peaceably. Youtube also plays 3 or more hours of dog calming music. There is also a stuffed dog with a heart beat that can help calm some dogs.

As well, some customers have taken clothes with their scent on them and stuffed them to make the dog think a person is with them. I have not tried this but never say never!

Keep in mind that a dog with a case of separation anxiety is normally attached to the owner so getting another dog to help with separation anxiety may not help the dog at all, but cause you more headaches. However I also say “never say never” especially if you have adopted an older dog because you may not know if that dog was actually attached to another animal before it came to live with you so it would not do any harm to having a family member or friend’s dog stay with your dog for a couple of days to see if it helps.

Below are sites to aid you in finding what I have mentioned above .

Clicker training

http://www.clickerlessons.com/

Melatonin found in drug stores by vitamins Use only if not on other meds. Make sure the brand does not contain xylitol http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/prescription/melatonin-melatonex

melatonin in the Uk

http://uk.evitamins.com/melatonin

DAP Diffuser

Adaptil https://www.chewy.com/s/brand_facet:Adaptil?gclid=Cj0KCQjwtZzWBRD2ARIsAIPenY36mDXiTVM8whpLViPsBgX5NQlDiR0Jc7Dp2XAmpPLQQx-s0l6zDM4aAn2vEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

http://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Zone-DAP-Plug-In/dp/B000J3HZWE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359418808&sr=8-1&keywords=dap+diffuser

adaptil collar https://www.chewy.com/s?query=adaptil+calming+collar&nav-submit-button=

Through a dogs ear calming CD

http://www.amazon.com/Through-Dogs-Ear-Canine-Companion/dp/B003C1F1PI/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1393982686&sr=1-2&keywords=through+a+dogs+ear

calming music on youtube to try out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OHEB41yRdU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=89&v=joe-ePqCqWc

Anxiety wrap

http://www.amazon.com/American-Kennel-Club-Anti-Anxiety-Stress/dp/B00C3HHAPG/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1393982713&sr=1-3-catcorr&keywords=anxiety+wrap

Puppy toy with heart beat.

https://www.puplife.com/products/snuggle-puppies-dog-toys?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=googlepla&variant=400293629&gclid=CjwKEAjwoLfHBRD_jLW93remyAQSJABIygGptMzVh4XjKk_1fpjjA9NPelkYWG5Ef_TBhGhhgCW0XxoCJsbw_wcB

Kong these work great when stuffed with cream cheese and frozen

http://www.amazon.com/KONG-Extreme-Dog-Large-Black/dp/B0002AR0II/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1393982805&sr=1-1&keywords=kong+dog+toys

Kong genius\ https://www.chewy.com/kong-genius-mike-dog-toy-color-varies/dp/47748

Buster cube

http://www.amazon.com/Buster-Food-Cube-Large-Colors/dp/B0006G54OU/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1393982864&sr=1-2&keywords=buster+cube

Treat dispensing balls https://www.chewy.com/pet-zone-iq-treat-dispenser-ball-dog/dp/142885

https://www.chewy.com/s?query=buster%20cube&nav-submit-button=

Buster cube https://www.chewy.com/s?query=buster%20cube&nav-submit-button=

Dog Puzzles: . If you just type in dog puzzles on amazon you will come to a page full. I just happened to pick this one . PetCo also carries dog puzzles.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dpets&field-keywords=dog+puzzles+for+large+dogs

confidence building skills - sprinkles

https://www.dog-games.co.uk/sprinkles-tm/

Noise canceling headphones for dogs

https://pawnix.com/

recorder for the dog’s collar with your message on it

https://www.amazon.com/Companion-Voice-Recording-Playback-Device/dp/B006K32O9G#:~:text=The%20Pet%20Companion%20is%20a,re%20away%20from%20your%20pet.

More Separation Anxiety tips

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/overcoming-separation-anxiety.aspx

21 May 2022
Customer reply
21 May 2022
Thank you for such a thorough response! I live alone, work full time (4 days a week, 1 day at home) and live in an apartment. He just escalates to non-stop barking so I am trying to be nice to my neighbors and avoid complaints so I drop him off at dog sitters' houses 4 days right now - this is not financially sustainable though. He doesn't eat kongs or other treats when alone. I have tried crating, babygated in the bedroom, and just left open roam. He barks at the neighbor sounds though so I would prefer him babygated away from the front door. I have heard both positives and negatives about crates. Some say the confinement makes it worse, others say it's a safe space (when properly trained). We have built up to 45 min before the whining/pacing/barking would start. I'm not sure if trying the crate again so he doesn't have the option to pace?
21 May 2022
Dog Specialist's response
21 May 2022
Sally G.
Sally G.
Independent Contractor

Some dogs do worse in the crate. I might look into enrolling him in a doggy day care, it may be less expensive than a home sitter.

It sounds like you are doing good if he does not start in until 45 minutes later.

Try the calming music so he does not hear the neighbors and out side noises and block windows so he cannot see what is going on outside.

21 May 2022
Customer reply
21 May 2022
He is not aggressive with other dogs, but is reactive and has the lack of confidence - he was also recently attacked by a trainer's dog (play that escalated)... he had to get stitches on his eye :( I do have him set up for a daycare evaluation to see if he can handle it, but, I'm not sure if he'll play appropriately
21 May 2022
Customer reply
21 May 2022
45 minutes is still a far cry from a full work day. I am aiming for 4 hours and having a dog walker. But I appreciate all your suggestions!
21 May 2022
Dog Specialist's response
21 May 2022
Sally G.
Sally G.

You are right, it is a far cry from a full work day, but that is the most time i have seen someone get a dog they have not yet had for a year in their home so I have to give you kudos!

Hopefully things will work out at a day care.

Dogs that are reactive to other dogs, usually are fearful so they act out to keep what they fear away.

They usually settle bit more when there is a routine in place which is what a day care can give. I really hope it works out for him there.
Try putting other things in place as well as what you are doing now.

Customer rating:
Sally G.
Sally G.
Independent Contractor
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21 May 2022
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