Adopted an 8 m/o with anxiety
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Thread: Adopted an 8 m/o with anxiety

  1. #1
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    Only a day ago we rescued an 8 month old boxer/pit named Hank, from someone who was going to give him to a high kill shelter. The guy didn't give much info aside from the fact that he started acting out when they had to move into this guys mothers house and Hank didn't get along with his mothers dog, and that he's harmful to himself in a crate. He's very sweet, and affectionate, but the problem is, is that he has been following me EVERYWHERE. Even when I'm in the bathroom, he's by the door whining. I know this is so brand new, but I'm just wondering how to handle it!! I feel awful because I just took this guy away from what he thought was home, and now, he's just stuck to me like glue. Not to mention he's just 8 months, so he's constantly giving me blank stares (I swear he even rolled his eyes once haha) to sum it all up, I'm trying to get some help on an adolescent puppy who was raised in another house, and how to deal with his seperation anxiety..
    Thank you!

    EDIT:
    Tomorrow is the first day I will have to leave him alone. I'm nervous because he's definitely still very loud when I leave. I'm planning on taking him outside and running around with him a bit to tire him out about 20 mins before I leave. Would it be better to keep him confined to one room? I'm very nervous!
    Last edited by Bridg; 01-11-2017 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Update

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  3. #2
    Member FirstTimeDoggie's Avatar
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    Re: Adopted an 8 m/o with anxiety

    Hi Bridg! Congrats on adopting! Hank sounds like a sweetheart. We adopted a 4 month old shelter dog a few months back and had some problems with separation anxiety at first too. We found that it really boiled down to time. Once Hank realizes that he's in his forever home and once he trusts that you WILL come back no matter what - that's when his anxiety will stop. How long that may take really depends on the dog and how he's been treated previous to you having him. For now, spend time with him and also spend time without him. Enjoy his company, do activities with him that he enjoys, and give him lots of love and treats. When you go out and he gets sad, just try and ignore it. The more you go out and come back, the more he'll get used to the idea that you'll always come back. It took about 8 weeks for us to develop that trust with Danzig and now he hardly bats an eye when we go out - though he used to cause a huge ruckus. I would say if Hank is still in extreme duress when you go out after 8 weeks of having him, it may be worth it to talk to a behaviorist.
    Danzig 3/25/16

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    Thank you for the response!! Also, do you have an opinion on repetitive training? He will not stop jumping on my bed, so I have been getting up every time, and pointing to his dog bed and having him lay down. I'm not sure what else to do, he will not stop.

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    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Adopted an 8 m/o with anxiety

    It is kind of annoying at first to have a little shadow following you everywhere, but you will get used to it. It is normal. My dog follows me everywhere, too, and now I've gotten used to talking to him and including him in whatever it is I am doing. Often after he has been exercised, my dog will be satisfied that I'm not doing anything too terribly exciting and go off to a comfy place to take a nap and stop following me. Some dogs are "velcro dogs" and it is simply in their nature to want to be near their people.

    Had the pup been crate trained previously? Some dogs do not take naturally to the crate and need to be taught that the crate is a good place to be. Feed him meals in there (door open), play crate games (you can look those up on this forum), and when you leave him in there give him a frozen stuffed Kong and something to chew. Give it a bit of time, too, so the pup has a chance to settle in. My dog loves his crate and goes in there on his own when its time for us to leave, but if we leave him in a new place he cries. If you can't make any progress, then it may help to bring in a force free, positive trainer to help you with SA.

    It is a known fact that adolescents are challenging, but do you know for sure this dog knows what you are asking him to do? Does he have any training? Teach him an "up" and an "off" command. A "Go to Bed" command is also helpful. When he jumps on your bed, tell him "off", reward him, and then tell him to "go to bed". Reward him heavily for going there. He will learn that every time he goes on the bed he gets told to get off, but his bed is very rewarding and you like it when he is there.

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    Thank you! I have his bed and say "bed" and then when he gets on it he gets a treat. He knows, he's just so clingy I think he's seeking comfort more than wanting to be on the bed itself.

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    Senior Member Kathyy's Avatar
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    Re: Adopted an 8 m/o with anxiety

    Rather than wait for him to jump on the bed in the first place take him to his bed when you go into the bedroom. Reward at random intervals for staying there. When he breaks and he will, lead him off the bed with a cookie and once settled where you think he belongs for several seconds give him the cookie. Do the same for any room where he might decide your soft comfy furniture is for him. Doesn't have to be a real dog bed, a folded blanket, towel or small rug is fine.

    But you will relent. The main super power a dog has is getting even the most reluctant owner to allow him on the furniture!

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    You probably need to start crate training. It sounds like this dog is extremely dependent and, while there are advantages to this in some instances, your dog also needs to learn to be by himself and to be ok with that.

    I would start by putting someth GREAT in that crate to gnaw on. I use a raw meaty bone for mine, but I have also used a Kong stuffed with plain yogurt (that I froze) or a Kong with little peanut butter smered in it. Be careful of that last one.. some manufacturers are sweetening peanut butter with an artificial sweetener (xylitol?) that is poisonous to dogs. I would pay extra for unsweetened peanut butter.

    You put that and the dog in the crate. Stay in sight and after 10 minutes go over and calmly open the door and walk away. Don't talk to the dog and don't open the door until the dog is silent. Don't look at the dog. Keep your stance calm and relaxed and keep silent. Stand sideways to the dog and crate when you approach (this is a less threatening stance). Keep yourself calm, low key and relaxed.

    After you let the dog out of the crate, don't talk or interact with the dog for about 5 minutes. What this does is make leaving the crate less exciting and less "good." With a clingy, dependent dog you want to do all in your power to show him the crate is a good place and, yes, he can have a good time without being attached to your hip and that being in the crate does not mean you will never come back.

    As you work on this and he is calm, you start to leave the room and come back.

    I would akso consider crating at night when you go to bed with the crate in your room. Again.. teaching him he can be separate and you are "right there." It is all ok!

    Eventually, the object is to teach him some level of confidence (I expect he is genetically predisposed to being unconfident).

    Good luck!!

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    Thank you! I did buy a crate and he actually goes in very easily when I throw some boiled chicken in there. He really is a Velcro dog, he completely tore up the bedroom door when I was gone for an hour, poor thing. It's hard trying to find the balance between affection and ignoring him. I feel like I'm constantly just speaking in such a stern voice with him. I feel bad because all I want to do is just cuddle with him24/7.

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    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Adopted an 8 m/o with anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridg View Post
    Thank you! I did buy a crate and he actually goes in very easily when I throw some boiled chicken in there. He really is a Velcro dog, he completely tore up the bedroom door when I was gone for an hour, poor thing. It's hard trying to find the balance between affection and ignoring him. I feel like I'm constantly just speaking in such a stern voice with him. I feel bad because all I want to do is just cuddle with him24/7.
    If you want to cuddle him, cuddle him. You don't need to withhold affection. Right now I think he needs your comfort and to know that he is safe. Why are you speaking to him in a stern voice? If you feel like you're doing it all the time, he probably doesn't know what it is he is doing wrong or what you want him to do instead.

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    I think I was just tired and emotional yesterday. hahah I'm just trying so hard to get him to stop following me and I'm constantly like "hank bed" when I leave the room. It's getting a little better. Now every time I leave the room, I give him back his kong and then when I come back I take it away. He's starting to get it. I'm looking at all the articles, they all contradict each other so it's so hard to know exactly what to do!

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    Senior Member TGKvr's Avatar
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    Re: Adopted an 8 m/o with anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
    But you will relent. The main super power a dog has is getting even the most reluctant owner to allow him on the furniture!
    Hahahaaa!!! This is soooo true. I've never allowed my dogs on the furniture (the sole exception being sleeping with me at night). But when we got our current dog, she just... wore me down. She was SO persistent, and so physically affectionate, that I eventually realized that it was pretty stupid to be always lying on the dang dog bed with her on the FLOOR, and it would make my life a lot easier to just let her snuggle with me on the couch. And honestly I'm really glad I did that because she's a great cuddler and the couch is way more comfy than the floor, or trying to fit myself onto her dog bed. LOL. And I retroactively feel terrible for not letting my other dogs on the couch before. Silly I know, but still.
    If your dog doesn't like someone you probably shouldn't either.

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