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On Friday, my boyfriend and I adopted a puppy from a local humane society. She is a beautiful 5 month old Shih-Tzu Maltese Cross. Unfortunately she was surrendered by her previous family as she was hit by a car and they could not afford the operation to fix her femur. She had the operation about 5 weeks ago, and is on the mend. We brought her home on friday with strict orders of no playing or jumping, no free roam of the house, crating and only 5 minute walks 3 times a day. As you can guess... she has a lot of excess energy that we are unable to help her burn.

We are consistent with the walks, and the potty training, which is working well. We have the crate in the living room with us during the day, and she is not one bit afraid of it. She will go in, and lie down with no instruction from us. We bring the crate in the bedroom at night, and she sleeps in it; she will whine for a min or 2, but then will lie down, and go to sleep.

For the past 3 days, we have made sure to go out of the condo for a bit, to make her comfortable with being alone. We decided to video tape her, just to make sure everything went well. She whined a very little, scratched at the door a little, then within 5 minutes she was laying down and seemed to be relaxed. The next day, we went out again, and set up the camera like the day before. This time when we came home and watched the video, we were surprised to see she put up more of a fuss for a little longer period (maybe 10 minutes). Today we went out, and again set up the camera; this time she was very worked up, it lasted even longer. For all of these incidents, we were gone no longer than an hour. It seems as though she only gets worked up when I leave (even just the room), and pays no attention when my boyfriend leaves.

Today we have been trying to get him to take her for her walks, feed her supper, etc. When they were out for their last walk, I came in the bedroom and closed the door. I haven't came out since, trying to see if she will relax (with her thinking I'm not here).

We are really unsure what we should do next, and how this will ever become rectified. We love her very much, and do not regret adopting her one bit, we just really need some advice. I understand that separation anxiety is common is dogs that have had traumatic experiences (being hit by a car), who have spent time in a shelter (she was there for at least 5 weeks), and sudden changes in environments (1st family, shelter, us); I just really wish there was a way we could help her relax, and let her know she will be okay. I believe it has something to do with her having all the excess energy that she cant burn with her broken leg, however I really dont want this anxiety to set in and be 100 times worse in a month or so when she can go for longer walks, and can actually play.

If anyone has experienced anything like this, please share what has worked for you.

Thanks!!!
 

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My puppy goes through the same thing when my husband leaves. He works from home so he is with him 24/7. My husband found that if he puts a shirt that he has worn in the crate with our puppy, he doesn't do as bad. Plus, he puts a toy in there to kind keep him occupied and take his mind off of it.

Hope you find something that works!
 

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When I got Max he was a neurotic mess. Now he is just neurotic. I would do practice leaving so he got loads of practices daily. Crate, stand up and let him out, crate, stand up and turn away and let him out, then take one step, then two then touch the door knob then open the door, step outside, close the door, wait for a count of 5, then 10, then 20. I could do 10 reps in about a minute. The more routine this becomes the calmer the dog. He knows you always come back and it is just part of life in the new place.

Max still paces and waits at the window for me to come home. He didn't really stop howling until I trusted him out of the crate as he seems more comfortable being able to move around when he is upset. And he is 9 years. But no more howling anyway. He can even stay in a 2' tall exercise pen at dog shows now. He tries.

Sassy has to stay still for 20 minutes or so and get subcutaneous fluids. I have been working on leave it and watch me while we are waiting for the fluid to drip in. Much more fun than just feeding her. You could feed a lot of her food that way. That and doggy zen are good quiet bonding games to play that will reap big rewards all through the dog's life.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks so much for the replies. Im glad to hear that people have had success training their dogs out of separation anxiety, more or less getting your dog to trust that you will be back.

Lucy has good days, and bad days. We practice lots, but it has only been a week. Yesterday was a bad day, my boyfriend and I went put gas in my car.. were gone for a half an hour, we came back and she was still crying. Today when my boyfriend left for work she started crying and barking before he even left. We have attempted to confine her to a room (via baby gate) to see if it will work better. She was okay when he left yesterday, but today was a different story. She has toys, food and even a special toy just for when she is alone (a kong with a treat inside). We even tried putting one of my boyfriends tshirts in with her as well.

I just put her in her 'room', and shes doing great. Im going to leave for a few min to check the mail. Hoping for a great practice. :) We did go to the vet the other day for a booster shot, and he told us it was okay to extend her walks from 5 to 10 mins. However, beig a pup, this still isnt enough!!! We feel so bad for her!!
 

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Taylor had severe anxiety and was really destructive when we first adopted him at 9 months and I can say with a bit of reading on the issue and being calm and consistent it's no longer a problem *smiles*. It did take time though, and set backs happened within the first year we had him so no quick fix is out there, but you can have your dog more relaxed for sure! When we came home after being out we didn't talk to the dog, or look/play/pet, for 15 minutes. Same with if we were going out, we didn't say goodbye, give kisses etc we just left. By doing this we stopped celebrating comings and goings and Taylor got to know that it didn't matter if we just came home, nothing changed for him. You do have to be consistent and your dog will definitely try to play with you for the first couple weeks so don't think it's not working *wink*.
As soon as we open the door and come in the house we tell Taylor to 'go lay down' no if/ands or buts. We don't get excited, just calmly enter the house and we don't even pay attention to him except for plainly telling him to go lay down. We noticed with him not getting all that extra attention everything else just started to fall into place.

That being said I most people have things that they'd like their dog not to do and odd habits can start later down the road. It's never dull *lol, lately my 4 old pooch has taken a shining to the garbage?!?! As soon as the hubby and I leave the room, pop goes the lid and this started just a couple weeks ago out of the blue. This place can be a great resource for all those little things *smiles*. Now if anyone can tell me how to make my dog stop jumping around to go see a cat that's in the same room I'd luv to know *wink*.
 

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My rescue GSD is total velcro, can't let me out of her sight since the minute I brought her home. I was worried about separation anxiety when I got her.

I started out by making no big deal when I left. Ignored her for a bit before I left, no touch, no talk, no eye contact during my whole "getting ready to leave" routine and I even left her chewing a rawhide a couple of times to distract her when I left.

I also did the same coming home, ignored, no talk, no eye contact and no touch. She totally flips when I come home but I just ignored it.

I also found when she does this immediately snapping her out of it is as easy as opening the back door and it goes off like a switch. I imaging anything that would divert attention to you would do that as well. Maybe ignore her and drop a favorite toy on the floor, or ignore her and drop a treat or three, but no talking eye contact or touching.

Worked out well for me, no real issues. I've started letting her happy dance and petting, but if problems arise I'll go back to ignoring and just walking to the back door and opening it and going out with her in tow.

Leaving something on with your voice like a tape recorder calmly talking or reading a book when you leave might help as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Lucy is definitely velcro. She just wants to be by mine or my boyfriends side at all times. We have also begun to ignore her when we are getting ready to leave, and when we come home. We put her in her 'room' about 10-15mins before we leave. We give her the kong when we put her in, and that's it. When we come home, I will usually leave her in there until she has calmed a bit (because she goes NUTS lol), then once she has calmed, we will let her out of the room (which she is only kept in by a baby gate... not a door) and continue to ignore. She jumps, and we tell her down. Usually within 5 or so mins, she calms down, and we then take her out to do her business. We have also started putting her in her room while we are staying home; just to give her time to chill out and get used to her room, and try to get her to see that being by herself alone isn't always bad... just relaxing.. haha ;)

We haven't tried anything with our voice, however we have left music on, and even a channel which is more dialogue than anything to give her the feeling people are around. Because she has a broken leg, we had to keep some of her 'fun' toys away. However, to make her comfortable, we have given these toys to her while in the den. So while she is in there, she has lots of toys.... water, food... a tshirt or something of mine or my bf's, her bed which she LOVES, and her crate. So lots to do, not too much to destroy thank goodness.

I'm sure she will get the hang of it eventually, just hope we don't make any neighbours mad in the meantime. We are ready and will to try anything that has worked for others... except any type of medication. Would rather teach her and make her comfortable.
 

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Might want to try just immediately letting her outside when you get home, just calmly ignoring the jumping etc. and opening the door to outside, even saying down is usually eye contact and attention. Turns mine off like a switch as soon as she steps outside with me, and a couple others I've heard of as well.

I've never tried the voice thing either, I haven't needed to. But I have read that it can help, about a one hour recording of you reading a book or magazine or something, or a looping one.
 

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The only problem with letting her right outside is that we live in a condo... and are on the 11th floor. We do actually open the door to the patio (which is totally glassed in and safe for her... lol) and she LOVES going out there. So maybe we'll even attempt to do that when we come home. Just to see what kind of reaction we get from it.
 

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It might work, for me I think it's that it switches her brain from "oh my god master's home!! I'm not abandoned!!" to "Ah where's those squirrels!"
 

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We adopted a Jack Russell Terrier two weeks ago and have been experiencing a lot of the same situations as you are. We have talked with our trainer, a Behaviorist from the Anti-Cruelty Society (where we adopted Luke from) and many many friends. The Behaviorist recommended a homeopathic herbal supplement, Rescue Remedy, as a way to help Luke. We have been giving it to him and it does appear to be working as he doesn't get as anxious as he was at first. The one thing we have heard over and over is to give it time, but also to continue with your lives and not feel guilty. Good luck!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Did you buy the supplement in a store or online? I'm always so apprehensive to try stuff like that, but it's good to hear that it has been working for you.
We've been given the okay to start walking her a little longer, and she seems to be a little (very little.. haha) more tired out. We're going to progesssively walk her more and more.

The one thing I'm really noticing is that she does not want to let us out of her sight. She follows us around the house, and if she can not see us from where she is laying, she will get up and come to us. I have been trying to break her of this, so if i go into a room with a door, I will close it behind me, and leave her on the other side; within second I hear some sniffs coming under the door, and sometimes she will scratch and cry. I figure if we can leave the room with out her caring, then it will be better for when we leave.

We have heard the same thing, give it time, and just continue on as normal; its SO hard not to feel guilty however when she starts crying... but we're trying! ;)
 

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We bought the supplement at Whole Foods, but I believe you can buy it online if you can't find it in your area as well. Luke was the same way with letting us out of his sight at first. It got to the point that we couldn't take showers without him getting so upset and wanting to hop in the tub, but he is starting to get better and isn't following us around as much as he was at first. We have also gotten in the habit of taking him for a nice long walk before we leave (about 30 minutes). I think that gets him so tired that he just doesn't care that much we have left and sleeps. Once your dog gets 100% and can walk longer that will probably help too. Believe me when I say that we felt so guilty when we first started leaving as well, but from our friends who have pets we have heard that a) it's common and b) you have to still live your lives and go to work and be social. It's tough but it does get better. Hang in there.
 
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