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Sophie-Vet
Sophie-Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 784
Experience:  Veterinary surgeon working in companion animal practice.
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I also have a rescued five yr old Staffordshire terrier,

Resolved Question:

I also have a rescued five yr old Staffordshire bull terrier, I have had him from 14 months old. He's fine if I leave the door open but once I close the door he howls, whines and makes a noise like a cow in agony, this can go on for hours. I have tried herbal medication for separation anxiety etc, but it getting beyond a joke and neighbours are now complaining. Help
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Sophie-Vet replied 3 years ago.

Sophie-Vet :

Hi there, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a registered veterinarian and I would like to try to help you.

Sophie-Vet :

Separation anxiety can be difficult to help with but there are some simple steps that you can use to improve your situation.

Sophie-Vet :

The most important thing is to vary the routine you have before you leave so your dog doesn't predict (and become stressed) before you go. If you wake up, have breakfast, go for a walk, pick up keys and leave, eventually your dog is stressed by breakfast and it is impossible to keep a dog calm when you are gone if he is stressed even before you leave.

Sophie-Vet :

Leaving a radio on (spoken is best), and leaving a distraction toy (kongs stuffed with peanut butter are great) can really help. Vary this up also since this will form a routine before you leave.

Sophie-Vet :

Try and leave for a few short periods so your dog can't predict when you will come home.

Sophie-Vet :

Give lots of attention when you arrive home.

Sophie-Vet :

DAP collars can be useful as well as DAP diffusers. These have natural pheromones which can reassure your dog and help reduce stress. You can get them online without prescription.

Sophie-Vet :

These are the basics of dealing with separation anxiety.

Sophie-Vet :

I would recommend doing all of these things before considering medications.

Sophie-Vet :

I hope this helps you?

Customer: We got the medication as a last resort as we had a
Customer: We got the medication as a last resort as we had tried all the suggestions you've made, we got a collar that sprayed citronella when he made these sounds, I thought he had gotten to used to it. I will maybe try this again, however I have just remembered that when he is in the kennels for his holidays he doesn't seem to have this issue
Sophie-Vet :

The citronella collars are really detrimental and could be causing the worsening of the problem.

Sophie-Vet :

Your dog is anxious because you have left and then anxious because of the collar. This can escalate quickly into a really uncontrolled situation (which it sounds like you have). I would definitely recommend stopping the use of this collar. I believe they are quite inhumane and have no place in training.

Sophie-Vet :

I would recommend starting back at square 1 again and re-jigging your routine.

Sophie-Vet :

Stick with it and hopefully the situation improves. Unfortunately for very severe cases, it may not be possible to ever completely solve the problem.

Sophie-Vet :

If you need anything else, just reply.

Sophie-Vet :

Sophie

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I haven't used the collar in months, my husband is disabled and has a brain injury so our routine can vary. This is happening though when we are actually in the house and the dog is out the back, even if we are in the kitchen and he's out there and the back door is only slightly open all this starts, if it's raining he starts ( even youth he has a large two compartment dog house. I just don't know what to do with him as we are going on holiday and my sons will be at work. The back yard is really big and has plenty of space for him. Another example, my cousin and I were in the kitchen talking, the dog was in the living room in his dog bed, half an hour later I came in to find he had chewed holes in one of the large pillows of my suite which can't be replaced. ???????
Expert:  Sophie-Vet replied 3 years ago.
This sounds quite a severe separation anxiety. It is usually very severe if the dog still reacts when you are in a different room of the home. It may be worth chatting to your vet about behavior modifying drugs. If you have tried OTC meds something like Prozac may help but it will only work if in conjunction with continued training. Unfortunately there is just no quick fix for severe anxiety problems. Anybody who tells you this is not being honest with you. It may be worth considering keeping him away from your home whilst away if noise is a problem or speaking to your neighbours about the situation, explaining you are doing your best and ask them to bear with you. It may also be helpful if they were prepared to pop in whilst you are away and let the dog out so he is not left alone for an extended period of time. I would try and find a good behaviorist who is qualified to help you 1:1.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you I will try some of your suggestions, I just hope they can get an old five yr old to learn new tricks. I have a feeling this all stems from when he was an abused puppy and then was with a very caring person who unfortunately kept him inside all day in a small room, he sat on a chair and looked out the window all day, I got him at 14months old and ended up taking my chair from my window as I couldn't get on it for him being there haha. He doesn't miss this. So I'm hoping I can get him sorted as he is such a sweet loving guy. He is in tip top condition and has learned many tricks, it's only this one thing causing both of us so much stress
Thanks again
Lynn
Expert:  Sophie-Vet replied 3 years ago.
A 5 year old dog can certainly learn new tricks and it sounds like you are very dedicated. I certainly have seen this done, takes time and patience. I really hope you can work together to improve your walks and wish you the very best. If you need anything else at all just let me know, Sophie
Sophie-Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 784
Experience: Veterinary surgeon working in companion animal practice.
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