Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

We are about at our wits end...any help would be very much appreciated! We just were given a Yorkie by someone living in our neighborhood because they were unable to care for him due to severe illness.

He has very very strong separation anxiety, he whines and barks while he is in his crate, mainly during the day and whether we are home or not. He honestly doesn't sound like he is trying to be "sad" he sounds angry...he does a whine but also an almost snarling bark. He stops if he sees us get up to do something else or walk around.

We try to ignore him, but it is not making a dent in his behavior and he does not stop barking for hours. He also will pee in his crate if we leave the house. Even if it is for a short time, he has done it every day since he was given to us on Memorial Day. He will go in his crate on his own, and even lay down in it, but once the door closes he starts up with the whining and angry barking.

His crate was in our bedroom but we moved it to the living room/family room since we are there a lot too and we aren't sleeping. Every morning he will start up whining and barking too, usually before we need to get up at 6 am. He also has a little fear aggression that pops up every now and then.

I know everything is still new and he is afraid of all the changes, but I am at a loss of what to do... He was a bit of a wild thing when we first got him, and he has gotten better, but it seems like we are stuck now. We take both him and our Silky Terrier for pack walks a few times a day, train with him, tried putting a stuffed Kong in to distract him...He hasn't changed at all in respect to the anxiety and barking and I don't know what else to do to try to make this better.

We're trying not to, but we are getting very frustrated and discouraged. We would like to make this work, but I am not sure what else to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,615 Posts
It's true you haven't had him long, and the changes in his life are pretty stressful. He hasn't had a lot of time to settle in.

I am going to copy and paste a post from another thread here on dogforums that I wrote yesterday to save some typing. There is some comments about apt hallway noise etc that are specific to that thread, but the rest is pretty much the same I would write for you.

The post:
Separation anxiety is a tough thing to deal with.
I have a couple of questions:
Is he only barking? Or do you see evidence of inappropriate urination or defecation, inappropriate chewing (around the doors etc), hypersalivation or extreme pacing?
If you don't then your case is still "mild". Yeah, I know it doesn't seem mild to you, the dog or to your neighbours..lol.

There are a couple of things I can suggest:
First off to help control the barking to placate your neighbours, try an ultrasonic anti bark device. It just sits on a shelf or table near where the dog spends most of his time barking (most likely near the front door) and when he barks it emits an ultrasonic sound to startle him out of the bark. Don't go with a collar as they can misfire and freak the dog out.

Secondly: think about trying a DAP diffuser. DAP is a dog appeasing pheromone, it plugs into the wall like a Glade plug in and contains lavender, St. John's Wort and Valerian extracts along with a synthetic pheromone that mimics a lactating female dog (which is like going home to mom,) I have found it made a great difference in Cracker's anxiety. You replace the bottle part of the diffuser once a month.

Reconcile (fluoxetine..which is Prozac) and Clomicalm (clomipramine) are both meds recommended for severe separation anxiety and require an okay by your vet. Cracker is on Clomipramine but she had all of the prior mentioned symptoms and was getting sick from the stress. You may not need to go to medication where he is now, but keep it in mind. The idea is that the dog is so stressed that learning the behaviour modification cannot happen, the meds reduce the extreme anxiety enough for the dog to be able to learn.

Buy the book "I'll Be HOme Soon" by Patricia McConnell (you can get it online)..it has great information on how to desensitise the dog to you being away.

For the change in environment (noises in the hallway etc) that can trigger worse behaviour after he has likely calmed some, do some research into Dr. Karen Overall's Protocol for Relaxation. It is a series of training exercises that you do with the dog (that seem very silly as they involve you making noises and jumping around and clapping, etc..so be prepared!) but it DOES help if you have dog that reacts to noises and movement.

For general care: ensure proper exercise BUT try not to OVERstimulate in the exercise before you leave..a long CALM walk or run as opposed to manic fetching exercises so he isn't revved up (tired or not) when you leave.

Practice ignoring the dog. This for me was the hardest part, but not giving an excess of attention at all times makes a big difference. Encourage him to just go lay down on his mat with a good chew while you are doing other things in the house.

Spend at least ten minutes (more is better) working his brain each day. Clicker training new behaviours is ideal..teach him tricks, complicated behaviours like cleaning up his own toys etc. This will help calm him AND to tire him out in a good way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
He is barking, urinating in his crate, and he does pace a lot around the house, so we don't have a mild case going on here...that part is a definite! To ensure that we do ignore him (I know we have "cracked" before and I am sure that doesn't help...) we put him in one of our other bedrooms and shut the door.

I do like the idea of a DAP...we thought about an ultrasonic controller but it seems that the reviews we have read have been not optimistic... Most people were saying that it didn't "pick up" the dog's barking, we looked at the PetSafe Indoor model. Any recs that are better reviewed/better products?

It doesn't seem as if he is hyper sensitive to sounds from outside, he doesn't go crazy when he hears them. Mainly just grumbles or one or two barks, that's it. The main problem is the angry barks when we crate him.

He also still seems untrusting and slightly fearful/aggressive towards us, and I don't really know how to make that go away...most of the literature I have combed through assumes you have had a dog from puppyhood and he is well adjusted to you. That is not the case here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,615 Posts
You are probably better off looking for literature aimed specifically at fear based issues:
There is a great website www.fearfuldogs.com with lots of great reading material and tips.
Also...some great books:
Scaredy Dog by Ali Brown
Focus not Fear (not sure of the author)
Click to Calm by Emma Parsons

The best selection of specialty dog books I've seen (and most based in positive training) are on Dogwise.com.

There is also a dvd and a booklet, I believe, by Susan Garrett called "Crate Games" which is geared towards having a dog ENJOY being in his crate. There may be some video on youtube if you care to search..but I'm not sure.

Working with fear requires CHANGING the dogs thoughts about what scares him. Classical conditioning (think Pavlov's dog) is the most efficient and easy way to do this. There is lots of info on fearfuldogs.com regarding HOW to do this. The most important thing to avoid is punishment in a fearful dog, so do what you can to manage any unwanted behaviours (ie prevent them from happening in the first place) until you can get a handle on the fear. Fearful dogs are working from the "hind brain", the instinct brain, not the forebrain where conscious thoughts happen...so expecting a dog to understand a punishment at this time is futile (not that I recommend punishment anyway, but I am me and you are you..lol).

I hope that this info can help you onto the road towards building a great relationship based on trust. Good luck

I forgot..
I can't really recommend one brand of ultrasonic over another as I really had just picked up one at the Canadian Tire store...in perfect honesty i would prefer not using one at all if you don't have a neighbour issue, getting a handle on the anxiety will help reduce the barking itself.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top