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Discussion Starter #1
Whenever Pete is left alone in the house he barks constantly until someone returns. There is often also a small puddle of drool at the front of the cage. He is walked every day and tired out before being left alone and he is rarely alone for long (2-4 hours max). We are in a house now but soon we will be moving to an apartment where the barking won't be tolerated. At first I thought he had SA but none of the more serious behaviours occur (destruction or loss of bladder control) so I'm not sure. How can I correct a behaviour that only occurs in my absence?

We've already tried
1. Tiring him out before leaving
2. Giving him a frozen kong
3. Doing practice departures
4. Getting him acclimated to the crate (treats, special toys etc.)
5. Having him sleep in the crate (he is quiet at night now)

He is very quiet when we are home and follow us from room to room, the constant barking is only when he is alone.
 

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How old is Pete, and how long has this been going on?

Just because he's not destroying everything in sight or having bladder issues doesn't mean it CAN'T be SA. Each dog will exhibit traits of that differently, just like each person will exhibit different traits of anxiety if it's an issue for them.

You mention 'we'...implying there are multiple people in the household. How about some experiments? One person hides, say in a room Pete can't see. The other leaves...and the person who stays behind can observe a bit of what's going on. Anything stimulating the barking? What sort of barking? (different barks can mean different things). What other things is Pete doing? (jumping in crate, trying to claw his way out...etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Pete is a terrier mix rescue who we estimate to be about 5 years old, we adopted him about 6 weeks ago. There are several people in the house but I am his main caretaker, I set up a webcam to record how he acts when I am gone and it looks like he finished his kong and then starts in on the barking and whining. He looks anxious, there dont seem to be any cues to start the barking except my absence, he does try a little to claw at the door of the crate. We have another dog Callie who is home at the same time but Pete is not really interested in other dogs, he is all about people so her presence doesnt seem to calm him at all. After almost 2 hours of constant barking he quiets for about 10 minutes before I arrived home (thinking he had been quite for a while!) I feel for him, he is obviously in distress while I am gone, but I just can't have this behaviour continue, I will be going back to work soon and he is going to need to be alone for 8 hour periods...
 

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I'm going to have to go with some sort of anxiety here.

Is it possible to find out anything about his life prior to living with you? Info might be useful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We don't have much information, the rescue said his foster home didnt report any problems with being alone, but I'm a little skeptical about this particular woman. We were told he was living as a stray on the road in Ohio. I suspect he had a home previously because he is too well-behaved and socialised to humans not to have had one before.
 

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Look at this from Pete's possible view. "I had a home once upon a time..then I lived on the streets. No family, no affection...I was scared. Then I had a home again for a while. Now I have another new home."

It's been said often that dogs take from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to 'settle in' at a new home, learn the ropes etc. He may be partly confused, partly wondering when is this 'home' going to change and partly scared. As in scared that these humans he's getting attached to and bonding with may change....AGAIN.

Perhaps work on this like it IS SA, and help Pete learn (or re-learn) the skills he needs to be a balanced dog. I'm sure he can do it. But anxiety is a scary force of nature in humans even with our logical and analytical brains. Imagine the multiplied effects to a dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I can certainly understand the reason for the anxiety but for both our sakes it needs to be dealt with. Up until now I have been trying to break up routine so he won't associate certain cues with me leaving but I think I am going to go the opposite way and see how it works. I'm going to embrace routine, morning cuddle, then walk, then 2 hours in the crate, another walk and then some desensitization time. I think the predictability of it might help (he sleeps totally quietly alone at night so maybe that helps). I'm also going to do some serious down/stay work so he can't follow me around the house and resist the urge to pet him except for good, quiet behaviour. I hope this works... we're in the countdown to new job/apartment time.
 
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