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We have the most adorable baby girl. Her name is Starr and she is 6 months old. Potty training was easy, she eats a well balanced diet,well socialized, very active, healthy, loving, easily trained puppy. One issue: She has SEVERE separation anxiety. I am a stay at home wife/mother and we have 3 children 15, 13 (her best friend) and 8. She is not alone 95% of the time. We went away on a weekend in April and we had a sitter for her (my husbands co worker whom we have known for several years and a dog owner as well). Aside from the initial peeing, she was fine...
This weekend, we were gone for a day ( a full day) and we did not crate her, but sectioned her off in our master bathroom with plenty of toys, food, and water and of course her blanket her brother (my son) gave her when she got here. When we got back, she had not touched anything. And this is a dog that eats 3x a day. didn't touch anything and when we got back, she whimpered for the entire next day. The reason she didn't have a sitter (before I'm asked), is because the only reliable person who took care of her when needed had a family emergency and has been out of the country for a week. So, this is why she was alone.

during the night, we crate her, and she actually does excellent. She does not whine, anymore (she stopped at around 4 months). And she is fine until the sun comes up (around 6 am) , because she knows it is time for us to take her out.
But during the day, I Feel like if we leave, she is tortured. Just as I'm typing this (from my bedroom) , my husband goes in the kitchen and she is whining from the living room, because he isn't there.

I read that Australian Shepherds can have separation anxiety. Anyone else (whether Aussie or not)have this issue, and if so, how did you deal/overcome it?. Are we spending TOO much time with her? (i spend the most time with her. Which is usually all day, everyday). Between a family of 5 humans, she gets so much love and attention. Are we doing more harm than good? Please help us. TIA.

-Starr & Family.
 

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As in 24 hours is a full day? I would expect my dogs to be upset for several days after something like that. For one thing they wouldn't be able to sleep on my bed that night, that's a huge deal for dogs used to a routine.

For a normal 8 hour absence I see Bucky patrolling every few minutes so he has to pee a river when we come home on the old smartphone spy cam. He will drink and of course his kidneys stay busy making urine because he isn't very settled. Ginger just chills and is happy to see us when we return. I don't leave food out if they aren't crated [don't want any squabbling over it], when I did crate and left a treat in there the dogs never touched it. If we had a messy departure as in Bucky tried to get in the car he will howl for a couple minutes after we go but that's nothing considering his issues. I consider his issues to be better than expected considering his overall problems.

Leave her more often. Daily if possible to make it a routine part of the day.
 

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As in 24 hours is a full day? I would expect my dogs to be upset for several days after something like that. For one thing they wouldn't be able to sleep on my bed that night, that's a huge deal for dogs used to a routine.

For a normal 8 hour absence I see Bucky patrolling every few minutes so he has to pee a river when we come home on the old smartphone spy cam. He will drink and of course his kidneys stay busy making urine because he isn't very settled. Ginger just chills and is happy to see us when we return. I don't leave food out if they aren't crated [don't want any squabbling over it], when I did crate and left a treat in there the dogs never touched it. If we had a messy departure as in Bucky tried to get in the car he will howl for a couple minutes after we go but that's nothing considering his issues. I consider his issues to be better than expected considering his overall problems.

Leave her more often. Daily if possible to make it a routine part of the day.
Thank you for your response. And yes, it was for 24 hours. I feel terrible and neglectful ... I think we are coddling her too much, but we don't have heart to part with her. She is literally the sweetest pup, ever, but i think WE are the issue. So, leave her frequently, (not long periods) etc? Should she be crated? We felt like it was too long to be crated so that is why she was in our master bath. Again, thank you for helping.
 

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She was safe and had food and water. Sometimes emergencies happen and there's nothing else to do. I'd be most concerned about the water getting tipped over, would use a pail attached to the wall. You might want to ask around, very often there are kids in your area that would love a chance to help out, just be sure the parents follow through and the kids do the job.

Since my dogs all come from the county shelter they've been displaced at least once and have issues when the safe person leaves. I've found it to be best to treat this much like car seats and squirming toddlers. We have to go and you must be in the car seat. Pop in crate or bathroom with a treat and out the door. There's a lot of anxiety at first and Bucky is still worried about being left but really he's fine. Play with the crate so dog is used to going in and out as well. Bucky is a champ at getting sent to his bed and was good at going to the pen when it was still up.
 

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Twenty four hours and she did not pee or poop in your bedroom?

Leaving a dog 24 hours in a crate with no way out to go to the bathroom is a great way to ruin any housebreaking you may be doing. Most dogs will hold it as long as they can go avoid soiling where they are sleeping.

I suggest you find a boarding kennel and set up an arrangement with them. Individual run where the dog can go in and out. You bring your food. You pay the kennel.

She can go to a 2X a day feeding schedule at this age so I suggest that as well.

She does not sound like separation anxiety. Dogs with that often destroy everything even to the point of their crates with true separation anxiety. Those dogs need medication.
 

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24 hours is a really long time to leave a dog alone without outside potty breaks. 8-9 hours is more typical, like a workday, for example. It would be different if she had access to an outside run and could potty if she needed, but she should not have been locked in a bedroom for 24 hours. I don't find her behavior after that incident unusual, or even approaching separation anxiety. If she had separation anxiety, she probably would have destroyed your bathroom, defecated on everything, and possibly even hurt herself.

But whats done is done. This doesn't sound like separation anxiety, you just left her alone too long. In the future, I suggest you have at least 2-3 places you can contact to watch your dog or at least let her out for potty breaks so that if someone falls through you have a backup. And if everyone falls through, well, you should probably have someone stay home with the dog.

It is a good idea to get your pup used to being left alone for reasonable amounts of time, however (reasonable is 8-9 hours, a regular work day, but beyond that is getting to be long).
 
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