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How do you soothe separation anxiety in your 9 year old dog?

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Old 4th February 2006, 02:13
PRgirl PRgirl is offline
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How do you soothe separation anxiety in your 9 year old dog?

I have an OES (Old English Sheepdog purebred) that I adore. But my husband coddles him too much. And when we have to leave him for a while, to soothe him so he doesn't howl too badly to the point of the neighbor's thinking he is being murdered, my husband throws a pig ear accross the living room and a favorite toy and tries to dash out the door and hopes to leave without hearing him scream like a banshee and scratch at the door.

He has tried everything. Singing to him in Spanish mostly. We are running out of ideas to keep him distracted enough for us to leave without hearing a huge 'aaaaaauuauuuuu!' coming out of his mouth.

I think he is just too spoiled as it is. I am thinking no toys and no pig ears. Just let him get used to not having company. He has grown up and is nine years old, and we have always had many people at home or near him at all times and so he is not used to long stretches by himself. He never had to stay for example a whole twenty four hour period by himself. Ever. Outside or inside. And the most he has gone without human contact has been four or five hours. How can one soothe him so he feels at home and doesn't have to howl like he is being stabbed to death or something?

Help me I need advice. This is how he looks. He is hard to resist. It is not him. But it sure looks a lot like him.

http://www.geocities.com/Petsburgh/6602/dogsheepdog.jpg
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Old 4th February 2006, 15:05
Eleana Eleana is offline
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I miss important information as how long to you have this pooch? What was his history before?

Two points to consider: separation anxiety can occur expressively in dogs who had been traumatized by being abandonned before. All puppies have this (like children) but learn eventually that mom or dad come back.

Treatment is as such: no treating. leave the room for 5 minutes, come back, pat him, ignore his whining. After he can be left for 5 mins, make 10, then 20, then 30. Tell your neighbours if you must.

I had dogs all my life and some would more or less suffer from separation anxiety. One would take my clothing, drag it outside, make a nest and chew happily on trousers, underwear, whatever. Once I found my bra nicely draped over the landscape. And this is prude Bible belt.

She has learnt it by now that I come back and she's ok.
Needless to say that my underwear is locked away all of the time though.
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Old 8th February 2006, 20:55
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We have had him since puppyhood. Since he was a baby. At twelve weeks old. He is a fine dog. Won best overall dog at his puppy obedience class. At his adult obedience class won first prize as well. He understands all commands in Spanish and in English. He loves other dogs and is never aggressive and is very gentle with children. He is a great dog! My husband though raised him since puppyhood to be very affectionate. He likes to have him close by physically and now he lays his head and sometimes his whole body on our laps and is insistent on affection putting his head under our hands to pat him all the time. He enjoys curling up near our feet wherever we go. My husband practices piano sometime up to three hours a day and he is there right next to my husband near his feet. He follows us from room to room. When we go on vacation and leave someone else in charge of his feeding and exercising and affection, he has sometimes refused to eat and loses weight when we get back he resumes eating normally.

My husband is always very gentle with him and rarely uses harsh tones with him and the rare times he does, he is very sad and upset. Every time we open a package of something that rustles like plastic or paper he instantly thinks it is a special treat for him. We bathe him and groom him regularly and always get him checked up at the vet for his shots and for physicals. His big brown eyes are so filled with love and trust. Before us he was the favored puppy of a wealthy family with a log cabin mansion in the mountains and they had many acres of wild woodland and rivers for him to roam in. He also had his own 'couch'. He has been coddled and loved his entire life. He never is aggressive but defends himself very well from aggressive dogs. Doberman pinscher and one rottweiler tried attacking him once and he defended himself well. And he defends his owners well. Some weird drunk guy in an alley tried to attack us once and he went after him. We also rented a paddle boat at a lake once Eleana, in the summer at night and he got worried we were drowning (the splash sound from the rutter of the paddle boat alarmed him) and he jumped in to the lake and swam almost two miles trying to 'save' us in his own way. He is just too attached and needs to learn to be a little less attached when we go away for a little bit.

He doesn't tear up bras and panties though!! Thank goodness. He did open a box of Rocher chocolates and left the little gold foil wrappers allover the back seat of the car! He likes sweets. But chocolate is not good for dogs and since then any chocolate bought comes in the house immediately. He enjoys wading in lakes and streams. Chasing geese, ducks and wildlife. He loves trying to chase down deer in the mountains, and gets absoultely nuts if he sees a horse. He loves running with the horses. The nut. He likes to nip lightly our jeans or pants and to butt his head against us as if he was rounding us up like sheep. Instinct probably. He has a big backyard to play in. And does play in it everyday. And we try to take him to the park and let him sprint for at least 20 minutes everyday. He loves to hang his head out the window and smell the wind in his face. His bark is deep and loud and frightening. Like a cracked bell. But his soul is soft and downy like a feather. He is such a sweet animal. And the fulfillment of a dream for my husband. He saw an OES in a movie theater when we were dating a long time ago, and wanted to know what breed that dog was and I told him. And he said he would like to have a dog like that one day. I told him he would have to leave the tropics then. Those dogs suffer in hot and humid climates. And voila!! Moved to a four season zone and waited for his birthday and found a reputable breeder. And got him his cherished dog!! The dog even has my same birthday!
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Old 9th February 2006, 01:54
Eleana Eleana is offline
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wonderful story... but maybe you two should try to award good behaviour/not whining rather giving him a treat upfront... being nervous when pa is leaving means treat... just tossing out some thoughts.

I had my bra chewing dog, a female boxer mix in the works recently. She likes to roam and all calling is left unanswered. My husband scolded and even punished her with the grand result that she wouldn't dare to come back and I had to pick her up from outside of our lot. Thus I thought back of my dog training times and used the positive reinforcement tool Key is to offer something which is more rewarding than the current behavour.

Old and easy trick, put some dry dog food into my pocket, a whistle in my hand and started calling/whistling when she was near by and treated instantly with a few crumbs of dog food. Then calling her from a little farer but not when she took off. Never a command which cannot be followed through. Now after two weeks she will come running full speed from far away when she hears the whistle. Not allways but we are definetely getting there.

I should have said that we found this dog in our neigbhourhood abandonned and she had been with the local humane society before which means that she had been picked up/dropped off at the animal shelter (which kills the animals after 5 days with gas) ... in the age of round about one.
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Old 10th February 2006, 03:40
PRgirl PRgirl is offline
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Eleana you are right. I think we should stop the treats and not reward undesired behavior. I will try what you said and get back with you and tell you how it went!

BTW, do you think dogs have 'taste' preferences for dog food? My dog doesn't like certain brands. Is that normal?

We have adopted many dogs from the animal shelter. But I have had bad luck with the small breeds. I get them groomed and trained and all pretty, and sure enough, they get stolen out of my backyard. Too much heartache the little ones are. Everyone wants the portable little dogs and steals them where I live.
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Old 10th February 2006, 16:59
Eleana Eleana is offline
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that's a shame! I'd be heartbroken. Good that you have not totally givenup on rescueing.

Dogs have a very good abilty to taste something against common bias. Years ago, people would deny dogs taste. But how can that be in a creature which can smell milliontimes better than we? Just because they prefer a different scent and taste doesn't mean they cannot.

Some brands add certain flavors to their food and dogs get attached to one or the other brand.

For the older dog it is important to stick to one brand. Their digestive parts are getting geared to the used one and may not even tolerate another well.
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Old 24th November 2009, 02:42
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tanya.bailey tanya.bailey is offline
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Rescue Remedy

hey there I don't know if you are still having problems but there is a Bach Flower remedy that might be helpful for you. Rescue Remedy has a calming effect in many situations It is an essential oil and you can either massage the animal with it or add several drops to their water. You can buy it on line and I have had great success using it with problem horses. Good Luck!
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