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One of my pittys, Kaden, has SEVERE separation anxiety. I'm wondering if anyone else has or has had a dog with separation anxiety. What did you do? Is there any natural remedies? I dont believe in putting my dog on medications that will change his personality.
 

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What are the symptoms that make you believe he has SA?

SA is a medical condition, so it can never be cured, only managed.

I have had a dog with SA, along with a few other members on here.
 

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His symptoms are pretty extreme. He never does anything destructive at all, unless he's left alone. Even if I put him in my bedroom for 5 minutes while I'm bringing in groceries, I can expect to see my pillows or sheets all torn up. I've also had to have his tail cropped because he chased it so long that he pretty much ate it to a bloody nub. This happened because I moved to a place where I couldnt keep him inside anymore and had to have him on a runner. That's not a worry anymore but he still chases his "phantom" tail. He also shrieks. It's not a bark, it's a shriek so loud and high pitched you'd wonder how it could come out of a dog so big. He just loses it if he's not with somebody. It's not just me, he just has to be around a person or he goes bizerk! The only place he can be alone and calm is in my car. Weird right?
 

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I'm pretty sure that's not it because his shrieking and running in circles starts happening immediately after the door is closed.
 

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How do you know its SA? Have you seen a vet about it? Have you had a thyroid test done? What exercise program is he/she on? Food? Have you started working on desensitizing? Have you done any research on it?
 

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How do you know its SA? Have you seen a vet about it? Have you had a thyroid test done? What exercise program is he/she on? Food? Have you started working on desensitizing? Have you done any research on it?

His symptoms are pretty extreme. He never does anything destructive at all, unless he's left alone. Even if I put him in my bedroom for 5 minutes while I'm bringing in groceries, I can expect to see my pillows or sheets all torn up. I've also had to have his tail cropped because he chased it so long that he pretty much ate it to a bloody nub. This happened because I moved to a place where I couldnt keep him inside anymore and had to have him on a runner. That's not a worry anymore but he still chases his "phantom" tail. He also shrieks. It's not a bark, it's a shriek so loud and high pitched you'd wonder how it could come out of a dog so big. He just loses it if he's not with somebody. It's not just me, he just has to be around a person or he goes bizerk! The only place he can be alone and calm is in my car. Weird right?

I have seen a vet, all she recommended was putting him on something that works like a xanax. I def. dont want to do that. It just doesn't seem right. As far as the food goes, I usually don't stick to a specific type of food. And for exercise, he runs along side me while I'm riding a bicycle daily.

Desensitizing? How would I go about doing that? Not sure what it is really.
 

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Ok, first of all, that's not extreme... Extreme is when the dog eats through a wall, breaks out of crates causing body harm to the dog, breaks through windows, poops and pees all over the house (even though the dog is fully housebroken) The list goes on and on. I think I've had the worst SA dog on these forums that I know about.

SA is a medical condition, which can NOT be cured (Do not believe anyone that says they can cure it). A thyroid check is necessary because that is one of the reasons why anxiety creeps up, followed by a full check up to make sure it isn't medical.


First how much exercise is he getting? He should be fully tired before you leave to go anywhere. When I had to be to work at 8am, I was up at 6am to walk to the dog. If I had to be to work at 6am, I was up at 4am to run him on the treadmill.

Why are you not using a crate? Crates can be safe havens for dogs to relax and just feel relaxed. Unless you have a crate breaker. Crate training is a must before you do this though. http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/dog_behavior_tip_sheets/crate_training.html
Some dogs like wire crates, some like plastic. My SA dog broke though 5 total before I had to put him to sleep.

Have you ever heard of a Kong? http://www.petfooddirect.com/store/product_detail.asp?pf_id=2135621&dept_id=107&brand_id=80&Page= I buy mine at Target for $8.99 Cheapest I've seen to date. Fill it with Peanut butter, carrots, Bananas, wet dog food, Moist dog food, what ever you feel like, then freeze it. When your are about to leave give it to your dog as a treat for you leaving. It keeps their mind on something while you leave and since the dog is so tired, all it feels like doing is eating anyways. My current dog Nubs is actually HAPPY when I leave because he knows he is getting his Peanut Butter kong.

I would start on these things first. It's not something that will change overnight. SA is WAY overly diagnosed. with the few symtoms your describing, it sounds like maybe slight SA that simple exsercize and food will fix.

Two links for SA:
http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/dog_behavior_tip_sheets/separation_anxiety.html

http://www.wagntrain.com/SeparationAnx.htm

SA can take YEARS to overcome to the point the dog is OK with you leaving. You really need to work on the Desensitizing part though. Read the links, and try everything there. It could take months before you see any improvement. It might be next day.

Now there are natural remedies that you can use to take away the anxiety, but you shouldn't use these until you have tried above and it has failed. Then start over with the above stuff and add the meds to them.

I've had a lot of luck with Rescue Remedy http://www.rescueremedy.com/ With a dog that size, I would give a full eye dropper into their water every time you change their water.

Some members here have had great results with Valerian Root http://www.anxiety-and-depression-solutions.com/articles/complementary_alternative_medicine/herbs_supplements/valerian.php Not sure on the dosages though. Maybe another memebr can fill you in and myself on it.

Last but not least is a DAP http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2755194 I've heard many mixed results and didn't have much luck with it, but some dogs it works wonders with.

Google Separation Anxiety and read EVERYTHING you can and start working on it now. Remember it takes a long time to work on and may never be 100%.

Now that I have typer's cramp.. Good luck!

AHHHH!!!!!! Forgot the most important thing!!! NILIF http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm Live by it. It is the BEST thing in the world and will help a lot in not only the SA but just in life general. Print it out and place it on your fridge.
 
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This happened because I moved to a place where I couldnt keep him inside anymore and had to have him on a runner.
What period of time was he tied out? How many days? weeks? months? How many hours a day? Did his symptoms begin after he was brought back inside?
 

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Yes, there was a stray that came to my house every day for a week and I was resolved not to take it in. But I saw the neighbors shun it and I began to feed it. Every morning when I went to work he was laying on my porch. When I came home from work he was on the porch! I took him to the Humane Shelter (that does not euthanize) but they were full. I took him home! Then I took him to the vet and had him looked over, given shots, I gave him a name (Tango, the JR Terrier mix) and he's been with me since October 2008. When I first took him in I would let him out in the house, since I do that with my other dog (I've had since 1999). First time I came home I had a sofa cushion foam all over the house! Second time I had the arm of the couch eaten! I called the vet and they gave me a prescription for Reconcile (they had diagnosised him with Severe Separation Anxiety and Reconcile, google it -- is like puppy Prozac). I asked the vet how long he would have to be on it and they said probably for life ... I wasn't going to pay $60 for 30 day supply for the rest of his life! I have never been one to crate a dog either ... never liked that idea. But with this dog I thought long and hard ... if I gave the Reconcile to him before I left in the morning it wouldn't kick in until later and then he'd be sleeping while I was gone and SA has effects when you come home too. It didn't make sense to give him the pill when I got home at 5:30pm either. So I bought him a crate. I kept the Reconcile up until after Thanksgiving (because I went to visit my parents over the holiday and wanted to keep him sorta okay there) but when I got back home I stopped it and yes, he gets excited and whines and jumps when I come home and let him out but that behavior is what I've been working on and he is getting better day by day. The whining and jumping isn't lasting nearly as long as it did before.

SA is very hard to work with and understand. It happens a lot in dogs that were rescued and finally have a home. The best thing to do is to keep a normal (as possible) daily routine that he gets used to. And a trick I read (and then saw on It's Me or The Dog) is to do your activites that get your dog excited so he knows it's not bad. Like they recognize your routine of leaving (getting your keys, purse, coat, etc). Trick is to get your coat on. Walk to the door and then sit down again. Take your coat off. Try that for a bit, next time get your coat on, get your keys, sit down. Next time do your routine and go outside for a minute or just a few seconds and then come back in. Do that everyday (even after work or when you get home or do this earlier than you normally do) and your dog starts to see that it's not a bad thing that you are getting your stuff.

I've googled SA and there are a ton of different approaches. I know with Tango it is just taking me to get over the "I don't crate a dog" feeling and him knowing that I'm coming back. It takes time and lots of patience!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
What period of time was he tied out? How many days? weeks? months? How many hours a day? Did his symptoms begin after he was brought back inside?
What happened was when I moved in with someone else, this person did not want the dogs around at all. As a compromise, I agreed to keep Kaden and Keena outside on a runner. I felt horrible but I had to do it at the time. About 3 days into it, I noticed he was chasing his tail. I thought, "How cute, he's never done that before." As the day went on, I noticed that he was not stopping even when I went out there. The next day, I noticed his tail was bloody at the end and I immediately took him to the vet. Through a couple of visits and 2 different operations, I had to get his tail cropped. The SA did get much, much worse after this ordeal and I do believe that it was the final push to full on SA. He had shown slight symptoms before but nothing major (things like barking and tearing things up). But, he was only on the runner for a few days and then I kept him inside again. I told the person I was living with that they'd just have to deal with it.

And a trick I read (and then saw on It's Me or The Dog) is to do your activites that get your dog excited so he knows it's not bad. Like they recognize your routine of leaving (getting your keys, purse, coat, etc). Trick is to get your coat on. Walk to the door and then sit down again. Take your coat off. Try that for a bit, next time get your coat on, get your keys, sit down. Next time do your routine and go outside for a minute or just a few seconds and then come back in. Do that everyday (even after work or when you get home or do this earlier than you normally do) and your dog starts to see that it's not a bad thing that you are getting your stuff.
That's a very good suggestion. I'll have to work with him like that and see what happens.
 

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Only one of my dogs have had SA bad, and that's my beagle Bo. He had SA starting within a few days after we rescued him. If I left him alone, he would panic and tear up the house. So I began to crate him, and let's just say that two crates suffered a quick death with him. He busted the bars, tore up the plastic pans, and still got out.

I was working at a vet at the time, so I brought him with me to work every day, where he would run around the clinic and be with me at all times.

Eventually the vet put him on anti-anxiety medication, and it worked like a charm. It didn't change his personality at all, he was still the same happy-go-lucky dog, but not nearly as panicked whenever I left the house.

That was months ago, and I began to work with him by leaving him at home in his crate for short periods, and increasing the period little by little, per my vet's recommendation. I think Bo had abandonment issues because he was a rescue at around 8 years old, and we didn't know his history. But slowly, he got better and realized that mommy IS coming back when she leaves the house, and we were finally able to get him off his medication and leave him at home a few hours a day without his panicking. Now he just sleeps while I'm gone. But it took time, and it took starting off slowly and only leaving him alone around 10 minutes at a time, and working our way up to a few hours at a time, over the course of months.

I would also leave him with mental stimulation toys, such as an I-Cube, a kong, a nylabone to chew on, ect.

What's also helped is that him and Callie, my miniature dachshund, are best buddies, so I began crating them together. Bo became even more relaxed once he had a crate mate with him. He doesn't mind it at all anymore, and as soon as you say "crate!" he zooms right in.
 
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