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Hello,

I am new to the forum and frankly, joined out of desperation to hopefully find a solution (or an advice) to a problem I have hadwith my dog. If this post would fit under another category better, please feel free to move it there.

Hannah is a 9 yearold cocker spaniel who other than some separation anxiety (which she is on medication for) is a VERY calm dog and lives in a VERY calm environment. The problem is that we livein a condominium and despite he being on an antidepressant, she howls some when we are gone and the neighbor cant handle it. From what i can gather, she only howls SOME of the time we are gone and desite trying everything (shock collar, leaving TV/radio on, ignoring her when we get home...) the problem persists. Life circumstances have changed and I will be home less during the day. We are at a crossroads and she is part of our family. We don't want to get rid of her because she is so important to us and we get the feeling that the neighbor exaggerates on the amount and extent of her howling/barking. It would break our hearts to see her go. Doggy daycare is too expensive. Does anyone have ANY advice that may be pertinent or helpful?? We do have a finished basement and have thought of keeping her there--has anyone used soundproof paneling for such an issue?

Can any recommend anything Please!

-Sarah
 

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I would set up a camera to see her behavior so you know what you're dealing with.

Next, where does she stay where you are gone? Does she have free roam, does she stay in a crate? One room?
 

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She has full roam of the house, we don't pen her up anywhere. Setting up a camera is a good idea, but don't have easy access to one.
 

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Ok this is very difficult problem to conquer. Well I'm sure the howling is just emotionally straining on her as it is on your family. Do you take her on regular walks? I would suggest walking her more and maybe also use treat or toy re-enforcement so when you leave hand her/him a treat and practice it over and over. I have also have people tell me that they record their voice and put it in a cd player or in the dvd player and play it while they were gone and they said it worked, exhaust your options I would not suggest a shock collar, as they can hurt a dog even when humanly used,plus if its not something you wont put on, don't put it on your dog. This problem may or may not persist due to the lack of interaction between her pack leader and her. You can also try hiring a dog walker during the day, that way she could get her anxiety out.
 

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This may be a little off the wall but-is your neighbor that complains home all day? Is he/she a dog lover? If so maybe that neighbor would be willing to help you out by taking your dog for a walk. This would give your neighbor something to do (plus if he/she interacts with your dog the complaining will stop) and your dog will have company during the day. Just a thought.
 

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Separation Anxiety is rough. It isn't curable only manageable and getting rid of her, would only increase her anxiety. She is howling because her pack isn't around. She's calling for you.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER put a shock collar on a dog that is only howling because of anxiety. It does MORE harm to them.

How much exercise does she get a day? A tired dog is a happy dog. No joke, when I had a dog with SA, I got up and took the dog for an hour long walk EVER DAY before I went to work. (Even with a dog that doesn't have SA, I walk him daily for an hour)

Have you tried a frozen kong?

Drugs are only suppose to help you calm the anxiety while you are working on desensitizing your dog on your leavings, comings, and such.

How much research have you done on SA?

Here are some good links on SA:
http://www.wagntrain.com/SeparationAnx.htm
http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/dog_behavior_tip_sheets/separation_anxiety.html

And check into a DAP Plug. They stink to humans but some dogs are really calmed down by them:
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2755194
 
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