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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18797
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hi I recently adopted a Hungarian vizsla who has been mistreated.

Resolved Question:

Hi I recently adopted a Hungarian vizsla who has been mistreated. She is very obedient and loving the problems only start when I have to go out. She has severe separation anxiety she howls and cries she toilets and scratches at the door. She has attached herself only to me and this crying and pacing and toile ting happens even if other family members are home. Is there anything I can do to help as it's not possible to stay like this in the long term
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

How old is she?
Who feeds her?
Who walks her?
Has she had any training?
Can you tell me what if anything you have tried to correct the issue?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi they think she is about 3 years old
Me or my partner feed her
I walk her and she also comes to work with me.
He was adopted from Hungary were I believe she was trained as a working dog and he is very obedient I strongly believe she has been mistreated by a male who has hit her , she is very submissive to voice commands

She takes my slippers and shoes and takes them to bed to sleep with them but never destroys them

But she is more than happy to be left in my vehicle.

I have tried to let my partner be the primary carer but she is still only fixed on me.i do need to say that I'm going through a break up which is very amicable but I will be the only carer soon. I have tried leaving for just for a few minutes at a time and coming back. I've tried no contact etc when leaving leaving But nothing seems to settle her.

She also wees during the night she will whimper at 4-5 in the morning and I will go to let her out but she will have already poo,d and wee,d

Please help me
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.

It does sound like she has separation anxiety. Now there are some things that can help. Let me go over some general things that are done to help the situation. First thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your girl out. I'm going to write this as if your partner is already gone since it is coming up anyway.

Second is to use a low-key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If your house is like mine and hectic when everyone is getting ready to leave, this has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly ahe is alone. If this is the case, put her away from everyone, say in a bathroom until the frenzy is over. If it is just you, then this is less likely to be the case.

Don't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find she’s barked the whole time, eliminated or destroyed something. When you do, you increase her stress level rather than reduce it.

You can provide her with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats. If you can keep her mouth occupied, that can help stop the crying/howling part of it. For barking they have citronella spray collars and shock bark collars. They are effective but do not stop whining.

Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show her nice calm praise when she is being calm. So if you walk in the door and she is keyed up, ignore her until she calms down, but it is important that you pay attention to her when she is acting appropriately and not forgetting that step. In addition, your partner should not talk or acknowledge the behavior. Often people will attempt to comfort a dog in this situation which has the opposite effect of encouraging the behavior. The dog just sees it as her getting attention if she carries on. Dogs do not even care if it is bad attention if it is attention.

The best way to stop destructive behavior including elimination issues is to crate her. This prevents injury to the apartment and protects her as well. It has to be just large enough for her to stand and turn around. No extra room or she will use part of it for elimination purposes. Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromone to calm a dog. They are proven to work on separation anxiety. See one here:

Unfortunately, the site does not allow me to make clickable links, so to view the supporting websites, you will need to copy and paste the link into a new browser window or tab.

Practice putting her in the crate, leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding her with a hot dog treat if she did not scratch, bite and carry one. This teaches her that you leave but come back quickly. Once she seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time she must be quiet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 mintues another, so she never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. It helps her stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward her when she is good. Remember to reward her for good behavior with vienna sausage slivers or liver slivers (high value treats). You may not make it very far initially. You may need to start with just moving away from the crate and come back and reward before ever even trying to walk out the door.

Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious.

These should help her separation anxiety and boredom and help curb her barking. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with him. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety.

Now for the elimination issue, you need to take her for a long walk right before bedtime to give her plenty of time to eliminate first. I would also keep track of when she eliminates and when you feed or water her. Most dogs have a pattern such as defecating an hour after eating. Once you have the pattern you can move her meal time and watering time to one that will allow her to take care of that before bedtime. Definitly take up water at 5pm or so.

Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site:

Often multiple techniques need to be applied together to achieve the best results so definitely try at least the dap collar with training.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18797
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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