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Nash is really hurting himself trying to break out of his crate. His face has tons of scratches, some deep ones and scrapes on his face and neck. He nearly got his eye. His crate wires are all bent up, we have clips all over it to keep it together. We have been doing all the stuff you are supposed to do, keeping comings and goings low key, mixing up our leaving routines.


Throughout the day when I am home I pick up my keys, and then do what I was doing, put my shoes on, take them off, put my shoes on, pick up my keys and purse and then sit down and read a book for a bit.

Before I leave every day he gets a 20-30 minutes run with the bike, some fetch and a training session. I ignore him for 20 or 30 minutes before I leave. He always gets a stuffed kong or something yummy when we leave, he sometimes will eat at it as we are leaving, whining and screaming while he is doing it. Most of the time it goes untouched until we get home.

When we get home we ignore him for a good 15 to 20 minutes, then let him out of his crate. When we let him out of the crate we turn and face the wall until he is calm. We never let him out of the crate for whining or acting frantic at all. If we go to let him out and he even gets up we walk away and try again in 5 more minutes.

Throughout the day when we are home I put him in his crate for 15 to 20 minutes while I am walking around, with a stuffed kong. Usually he will chew on it while I am in the room, when I walk out he sometimes continues or is at least quiet and lays there. Other times he starts whining and screaming. If he does that, I don't come back into the room until he has stopped.

We talked with our vet. We are going to try medication and an even more intensive behavioral mod plan for the next 3 months and see what happens. He is really injuring himself. I don't want to medicate him, but it is just escalating and I'm afraid he is going to do serious damage to himself.

Twice a week he goes to work with me (to doggy daycare). Everyday after I get home, usually an hour or two afterwards I exercise him and do some training. The exercise is either another bike ride (30-40 minutes) or a couple of hours at the park. He gets at least 2 or 3 ten to fifteen minute training sessions in the evenings. He goes to a pet store or someone's house at least twice a week. He goes to obedience class once a week, we will be starting an agility class in 2 weeks and search and rescue training soon as well. I don't think he is under-exercised, but am adding the agility and S&R training just incase.

Its weird some days he is fine and other days he just freaks out and tries to break out (and has a few times).

If there is anything I am not doing please tell me!
 

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OMG... I'm so sorry!

I can't think of anything that you're not doing that I could suggest, sorry... : (

That is terrible you even have to consider medicating him! : ( I know how that can suck, I've had to get some "natural herbs" for Donatello to use during times of stress...

Donatello does wonderful when I'm not home... : ( I can leave him alone for a few hours and not worry about a thing... I keep him in my room, close the curtains, leave a nightlight on and then close the door... Is there any way you could consider doing that? Maybe he'd feel better if he had his own space, aside from a crate...
 

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I'm so sorry this is happening. It really does sound like you're doing everything you can. The only thing I can think of is that possibly you're moving too fast with the desensitization of the triggers?

I only suggest that because when I started a program with Poca (from "I'll Be home Soon" - P. McConnell), she got so anxious the first day that she ran upstairs and peed on the floor next to our bed. That is something she never did before and was so unlike her. Instead of reducing her anxiety I increased it with SA training! :eek:

I figured I must have been throwing too many triggers at her too fast, so instead of her anxiety being triggered once a day by my picking up my keys, she was getting it multiple times in the same day. I think it really upped the ante considerably for her. So I backed way off on the repetitions & the number of different triggers. She still seemed anxious, but I kept it below the panic level and continued. Then we moved and the training took a back seat. So we still haven't totally dealt with the problem.

Wish I had a good suggestion but it does seem like you've considered everything. After reading how medication has helped others on DF manage this, I'm considering that route as well. Good luck & let us know how it goes, esp. what this new regimen is going to be.
 

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It honestly sounds like he's getting plenty of activity. PLEASE, talk to your vet about meds. You HAVE tried the other stuff, and they can work miracles when they're used appropriately.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
That is terrible you even have to consider medicating him! : ( I know how that can suck, I've had to get some "natural herbs" for Donatello to use during times of stress...

Donatello does wonderful when I'm not home... : ( I can leave him alone for a few hours and not worry about a thing... I keep him in my room, close the curtains, leave a nightlight on and then close the door... Is there any way you could consider doing that? Maybe he'd feel better if he had his own space, aside from a crate...
We have been using rescue remedy, giving to him about 15 minutes before we leave. I can't say its really helped a whole lot:(

We did try leaving him out, but the problem is that he can open every single door in the house. So, he just opens the door and opens the gate and runs downstairs and opens that door and tries to find us. If he can't get out he destroys stuff.

I'm so sorry this is happening. It really does sound like you're doing everything you can. The only thing I can think of is that possibly you're moving too fast with the desensitization of the triggers?

I only suggest that because when I started a program with Poca (from "I'll Be home Soon" - P. McConnell), she got so anxious the first day that she ran upstairs and peed on the floor next to our bed. That is something she never did before and was so unlike her. Instead of reducing her anxiety I increased it with SA training! :eek:
I will try getting that booklet and do the things in it. I will try slowing down on the triggers too and see if that helps.

It honestly sounds like he's getting plenty of activity. PLEASE, talk to your vet about meds. You HAVE tried the other stuff, and they can work miracles when they're used appropriately.
We are going to try medication. I don't want to, but he is hurting himself and it is getting worse. We are going to do 3 months of meds + behavioral mod, and then re-evaluate then.

I could take him to work every day. But I think that would make it worse for when we have to leave him home alone to do things like go grocery shopping or just go out.
 

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Unless you have a solid 2-3 weeks off of work there is no way that I can see that this dog will ever get over the separation anxiety. It took about that long for Lola to be somewhat at ease with me being gone and I did it a few minutes at a time slowly increasing the time level.

It started that I could not leave the room. Then it was me leaving the apartment. After that was resolved it was me driving away and after that was resolved it was only for a short period of time. I used to leave a recorder on when I would go out to see how long it would be before she barked. At first it was right away after a while it was further into the recording and finally it was no barking at all.

Another thing I had done was before allowing her out of the crate have her be totally calm and laying down. She used to paw at the gate to get out. Now I have her wait even after I open the gate and she is not allowed out until I say "Come On".

A dog with separation anxiety is seeing you as part of the pack and the dog as a leader. The member of the pack is not supposed to leave but the leader can leave the pack. Until your dog sees you as a leader the separation anxiety will continue.
 

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Clearly a case of SA from what you describe and it sounds like you are doing all you can do within reason.

I have never been against medication if it will help the dog live a normal life.

I know about this.. have seen the huge modification in human behavior such as Bi-Polar disease and OCD with the use of drugs. Yes.. they have to be the right drug and yes.. the patient needs continuing medical checks to be sure all is well.. but if the alternative is a person who hurts themselves it is reasonable to use the drugs.

In dogs, if you cannot change the behavior thru training (modification) you may have a dog with a chemical imbalance in his brain. If the drugs help him to be OK with the world when you all are not immediately available, it just makes sense. In this case you are keeping him from hurting himself. I say that is a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Another thing I had done was before allowing her out of the crate have her be totally calm and laying down. She used to paw at the gate to get out. Now I have her wait even after I open the gate and she is not allowed out until I say "Come On".

A dog with separation anxiety is seeing you as part of the pack and the dog as a leader. The member of the pack is not supposed to leave but the leader can leave the pack. Until your dog sees you as a leader the separation anxiety will continue.
He does not ever come out of his crate unless he is either sitting or lying down, still and making no noise. If he even wags his tail I walk away. He will not move, even with the door open unless I tell him he can. When he comes out of his crate, i turn and face the wall and completely ignore him until he is sitting or lying down, calm.

I do not agree that a dog with SA is necessarily one who thinks he is leader. I personally think Nash freaks out because he was left tied in a backyard and nearly starved to death, then he was moved to several different places until ending up with me 6 weeks ago. I think his SA is a fear of me not coming back, not because he thinks he is in charge and that I don't have a right to leave.
 

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I agree with you melgrj7;

I've known, been around, and have had clients that have had dogs with severe SA... Those dogs were the most docile dogs in the world, when their owners were home. They loved their masters to death, and it was as plain as day. They obeyed their masters, they knew their place in the house and that was it... But the minute they'd leave, oh boy! They would cry scream, run around the house like it was on fire and they couldn't get out! : ( It was sad...

Their dogs were brother and sister and for three years of their life they were chained up inside and outside, left to starve, and left alone for weeks at a time... Once their new owners rescued them, they knew what love was, but I believe those dogs were terrified that their owner would do the same thing...
 

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A dog with separation anxiety is seeing you as part of the pack and the dog as a leader. The member of the pack is not supposed to leave but the leader can leave the pack. Until your dog sees you as a leader the separation anxiety will continue.
I must admit, I find this laughable. The dog is freaking out because he's mad that one of his pack members has dared to leave without him?

I think it's more likely the other way around.. the dog is so highly insecure that HE needs HIS "leader" to always be there as sort of a safety blanket. Mel has stated that she does most of the training and such with Nash (correct me if I'm wrong Mel) so Nash is at the point where he is so extremely attached to her.
 

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I must admit, I find this laughable. The dog is freaking out because he's mad that one of his pack members has dared to leave without him?

I think it's more likely the other way around.. the dog is so highly insecure that HE needs HIS "leader" to always be there as sort of a safety blanket. Mel has stated that she does most of the training and such with Nash (correct me if I'm wrong Mel) so Nash is at the point where he is so extremely attached to her.
Lola was the same way with her previous owner, attached to her so much that she was not able to leave her at anytime of the day or night. The previous owner allowed this to happen. Lola was the dominant one and not the owner. I have changed all that by being the dominant one. By not allowing her to eat until I say "Eat", by not allowing her to come in the house before me when we come back from a walk, by not allowing her to enter the dog park until I say "Come on", by not allowing her to eat any treats until I say she can and then point to the one I want her to have after I have laid them out on the floor, By me having her in the middle of the dog park in a sit and wait and then me calling her from 50' or more away and not focusing on anything else but me, by me not allowing her to come out of her crate until I say she can with the door open and me being in another room and her still not coming out of the crate until I say "Come on", by not allowing her to sit while I am eating closer to me than 4 feet I have showed her that I am the dominate one and that she needs to listen to me. People have complimented me many times for Lola's behavior. After them seeing her do some of the things I said above they want to know if I can train their dog.

By working with her slowly one step at a time I got her over her separation anxiety. Increasing the time spent away as time went on. By being able to do this and had all the time in the world because I was off work from a work related injury. If a person is trying to help their dog over separation anxiety on a weekend and goes back to work on Monday leaving the dog alone the dog will continue to have separation anxiety and the problem will never go away. The best thing in that case would be doggy day care.

Everything else needs to be tried out first before going to drugging the dog first with meds. My own vet said that if you dont have the time or patients to have Lola overcome her separation anxiety then he knows of a woman with four japanese chins that would love to have Lola but to try to see if Lola makes any improvements before going that route.. I told him that I was not going to do that and would work on her separation anxiety I had seen she was making improvements so we did not go that route.


Separation anxiety can appear in dogs that are not properly socialized, dogs that have been shuttled from one home to another, dogs that have a more dominant relationship with you and dogs that are naturally nervous:
http://www.metpet.com/Reference/Dogs/Training/separation_anxiety_in_dogs.htm

Dogs are pack animals and it is not natural for a dog to be left alone. Dogs can react to a lack of exercise and or the stress of being separated from their "pack member(s)" by becoming upset, destructive, barking continuously, or eliminating in the house.
http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/separationanxiety.htm
 

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Lola was the same way with her previous owner, attached to her so much that she was not able to leave her at anytime of the day or night. The previous owner allowed this to happen. Lola was the dominant one and not the owner. I have changed all that by being the dominant one. By not allowing her to eat until I say "Eat", by not allowing her to come in the house before me when we come back from a walk, by not allowing her to enter the dog park until I say "Come on", by not allowing her to eat any treats until I say she can and then point to the one I want her to have after I have laid them out on the floor, By me having her in the middle of the dog park in a sit and wait and then me calling her from 50' or more away and not focusing on anything else but me, by me not allowing her to come out of her crate until I say she can with the door open and me being in another room and her still not coming out of the crate until I say "Come on", by not allowing her to sit while I am eating closer to me than 4 feet I have showed her that I am the dominate one and that she needs to listen to me. People have complimented me many times for Lola's behavior. After them seeing her do some of the things I said above they want to know if I can train their dog.
Just so we don't get things confused here.. this is strict NILIF not
asserting Dominance....

..and Lola is, I believe, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel... Avg size if a large cat... (12-13 inches at ths shoulder.. 12-18 pounds). Pretty hard for her to assert her "dominance" over an adult human being.. even a small adult human being.

BTW the NILIF program used on Lola appears to have been done with thought and consistancy and for that Lola is a well behaved, well trained dog.

By working with her slowly one step at a time I got her over her separation anxiety. Increasing the time spent away as time went on. By being able to do this and had all the time in the world because I was off work from a work related injury. If a person is trying to help their dog over separation anxiety on a weekend and goes back to work on Monday leaving the dog alone the dog will continue to have separation anxiety and the problem will never go away. The best thing in that case would be doggy day care.

Everything else needs to be tried out first before going to drugging the dog first with meds. My own vet said that if you dont have the time or patients to have Lola overcome her separation anxiety then he knows of a woman with four japanese chins that would love to have Lola but to try to see if Lola makes any improvements before going that route.. I told him that I was not going to do that and would work on her separation anxiety I had seen she was making improvements so we did not go that route.
I am glad it worked for Lola. For some dogs it does not work. Some people also do not have the luxory of taking a month off to do what you did (someone has to earn the money for dog food?). PS: Not saying that being off from work due to injury is a luxory either.. but I think you know what I mean...

You had great success with ONE DOG. I applaud your Efforts and results Lola's Dad.

You might get another dog.. and do all the right things and have to use meds. Truly.. if you can get the dog to a place where the dog is happy and relaxed.. if you can get this to happen for a few months.. even with meds.. you MAY be able to get the dog off the meds.

However, there are some dogs that have a chemical imbalance in the brain.. jsut like some human patients.. and if that is the case, all the patience in the world will not fix what medication can.

I believe, reading MelJrg7's posts, she has done a LOT. Perhaps, in her situation, meds will allow time to pass and the dog's behavior will modify and he can be weaned off the meds. If he is a true SA case.. with the chemical imbalances.. he may not. Meanwhile, if the dog is hurting himself trying to get to his people.. the kindest thing is to do something to stop that.
 
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Just so we don't get things confused here.. this is strict NILIF not
asserting Dominance....

..and Lola is, I believe, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel...
Lola is a Japanese chin, not a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

See Here http://www.ckcsc.org/

Also see here to what a Japanese chin looks like and scroll down. Notice the difference? A Cavalier has a long muzzle and longer ears. Cavaliers are also bigger where as a Japanese chin is smaller in both weight and size.

BTW the NILIF program used on Lola appears to have been done with thought and consistancy and for that Lola is a well behaved, well trained dog.
In Lola's training I did not use any program NLIF or anything else. The only reading up on anything I did was in reference to separation anxiety and I did not even discover this board until she was over that problem. I did consult with the vet that I have two or 3 times as I had his cell number given to me with his permission from my sister who referred me to him when I adopted Lola.

I am glad it worked for Lola. For some dogs it does not work. Some people also do not have the luxory of taking a month off to do what you did (someone has to earn the money for dog food?). PS: Not saying that being off from work due to injury is a luxory either.. but I think you know what I mean...
You are correct. It does not work for all dogs unless someone has the time to put into it or can get someone to put the time into it. My sister re-homed a pitbull for just that reason she did not have the time because she had to work. and she re-homed the pit bull with my brother who already had a pit bull. It was not because he already had one it was because his wife was there during the day when he was at work and she would be going to work when he was coming home. Therefore there was someone always there that could work with the dog.

Medication may be required but should only be used as a last resort and under the advice of a vet who has seen the dog. Not from advice from someone from a board who does not have first hand knowledge of the dog.
 

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Apologies to Lola! How could I...????? ;) Mia Culpa... What a cutie!

Still, not exactly a dog that is going to knock a human down, put a paw on each shoulder and let that human know who the Dominant one is... :p

BTW Lola's Dad, whatever you call your training, you have done a good job with this dog. I would not suggest taking that success from you. Your method might work for the next dog or even the next 4 dogs.. or it might not.

The problem with an issue such as SA is in the not knowing if it is nature or nurture.. and beyond that if it is nurture if it has been so ingrained that it has become also nature. At that point, meds to keep the dog from harming himself and breaking the behavioral cycle may be the kindest thing you can do.

No one is "for" medicating a dog.. but I think everyone is "for" doing what you must in your own situation to not have the dog come to physcial harm.
 

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You had great success with ONE DOG. I applaud your Efforts and results Lola's Dad.
Thanks, Lola is not my first dog by any means. We have had dogs growing up from the time I was born and before. Lola is not the first dog I trained. Years ago when I was around 12 we got a puppy, it was about our 3rd dog that we had and I was the one in the family that fully trained her from potty training, walking along side of the person that was walking her (mostly it was me) and I had her trained so that she would not even go out of the house when you would hold the door wide open she would continue to sit their unless you said "Ok you can go". She never had to be on a leash and she was also trained to never leave the yard. So I have a loit of experience with dogs and if I did not have the experience and someone that could back up my experience then there was no way that the girl I adopted Lola from would have let me have her.

I have seen Lola's previous owner several times after I adopted her and she even feels and has said Lola is happier now than she ever was with her. Lola does not run my life and Lola was running the previous owners life.

However, there are some dogs that have a chemical imbalance in the brain.. jsut like some human patients.. and if that is the case, all the patience in the world will not fix what medication can.
I agree. However again the only way to determine the actual problem such as a chemical inbalance is a vet.

If someone was to be working with the dog that has SA for a few weeks in the way that I did with Lola if they have the time to and the dog is still the same and not showing signs of improvement then it is time to see the vet so that the dog can be prescribed the right meds.

If the person does not have the time then perhaps a behaviorist can step in and help.

There are times that no matter what even with meds some dogs can't get over SA. My vet had told me about a dog with SA was medicated and even that did not help. The dog wound up throwing himself through a plate glass window from the second floor and killing himself in the process. So a person has to be prepared to deal with whatever the outcome is and know what it might be beforehand. SA has got to be the hardest thing to rid a dog of.

With Lola I was getting frustrated but no matter what I made a commitment to myself and my vet that I would stick with what I was doing because I was seeing improvements even though it was a slow process. I was hoping that it would not take so long. I was hoping for a miricale over night and really wanted success with it overnight.
 

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Do you get a lot of thunderstorms where you live? On the days that he has freaked out the most were there any storms while you were gone. Nanuq seems more anxious about being left in her crate when there is thunder.
 

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We are working with our vet, as I said in my first post. We are hoping that a short period of time on meds paired with the behavioral modification plan will stop the cycle. You are not here to see my dog so you have no basis to declare he has SA from thinking he is the leader. It is my belief and others, including my vet and the trainer I work with, that his issues come from having been bounced around a lot before I got him. I have to work, if I don't work none of us get to eat. Bringing him to work with me 5 days a week we feel would be worse because then he will expect to be with all the time.

MissMutt, you are correct, I have done pretty much all of the training with him. He is a very insecure dog, he has been beaten and nearly starved to death by past owners. We are working on things to increase his confidence when he is not with me. Julie is now working with him more, hopefully that will help.

We have been having some thunder storms, but not a ton. I am pretty sure there were none on several of the days where he tried to get out. I will however pay some more attention to that. He doesn't seem to be bothered by thunder when he is with us, but that may be different when he is not with us.
 

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Hey mel, Shiner has separation anxiety too, though I've been lucky that he isn't strong enough to bust out of a crate, he just destroys the pans and the floor underneath. How old is Nash? I really think that Shiner has improved with age...he's 2 1/2 now and he was at his worst this past fall. Some things I've noticed trigger especially bad episodes are people ringing the doorbell while we're gone...I moved his crate to the back of the house as far as I could from the door and that seemed to help. Unfortunately I don't believe this can be cured, just managed. The thing that helped us most was DH being out of work...sucks in many other ways, but right now he isn't alone more than for short errands and that plus him maturing a bit has helped tremendously. I wouldn't hesitate to try meds if I were you. It sounds like you're doing everything right and I wish you luck.

ETA: I think Shiner's past may be similar to Nash...he is a very submissive and insecure ( but also smart and eager to please) dog, and I think he was abused in the past.
 

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Nash is guessed to be around a year to a year and a half. Thats good to hear Shiner is getting a little better with age.
 

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I think you have a good plan in place... Give it a go and see. You can always stop the meds if they don't work and you are working with a vet.

Keep us posted on the progress!!! Good Luck!!
 
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