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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20223
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My two year old dog suffers terrible seperation anxiety and

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My two year old dog suffers terrible seperation anxiety and I don't know what to do he destroys the house when I'm out please can you help ? Thank you
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.
What breed is your dog?
What type of crated did/do you have?
What kind of treats are you using?
What kind of destruction is he doing?
Is he ingesting things?
How long has he had this problem?
Have you tried ANYTHING else? This will help me save time in suggesting things you might have already tried?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He has chewed window ledges door frames his bed carpets his strong metal cage which he always gets out of he is a cavalier x chi tsu I give him his treats from the pet shop which he normally loves he just can't bear me to be out of his sight I am desperate for help
Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. It does indeed sound like separation anxiety and there actually is quite a lot of things that you can try. In most cases, it is a combination of ideas that end up correcting the situation.
To help prevent injury to your dog until he is much better, he will need to be contained. The injuries include broken teeth and possibly ingesting a foreign object and developing an obstruction or puncturing the intestines which can be deadly. I know that he escapes the current crate, but there is a crate on the market that is considered escape proof. It is a little pricey but the peace of mind you get from knowing your dog can not escape is priceless. It is the alcatraz crate or proselect by empire crate. See one here:
What you are looking for is a crate that does NOT fold and is made of square aluminum bars (helps prevent injury between toes when they scratch). There are other manufacturers you can look for.
To help him with the actual separation anxiety, there are many suggestions. One is to always take your dog for a nice long walk before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or longer. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your boy out. Make it part of your morning routine. I know he is a smaller dog, but they need walks as well. If he is tired, he'll be more likely to sleep.
Another suggestion 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 hectic in the morening, this puts the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly he is alone. If this is the case, put him away from everyone, say in a bathroom or the new crate until the frenzy is over.
Don't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find he’s destroyed something. This actually increases his stress level rather than reduce it.
You can provide him with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats. You have the kong, but are not filling it with high value treats. Instead of the normal treats, fill it with peanut butter or yogurt or even meat baby food that does NOT contain onion or garlic. Freeze it and give it to your dog in the crate right before you leave.
Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Often taping the noise of you taking a shower or other activity where the dog is not right with you, helps even though the dog knows you are not there, it can help. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show him nice calm praise when he is being calm.
The best way is to crate him as I mentioned since this prevents injury to the apartment and protects him as well. Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromone to calm a dog. Studies have proven them helpful for separation anxiety. See one here:
Practice putting him in the crate, leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding him with a hot dog treat if he did not scratch, bite and carry one. It can not be normal boring treats. This teaches him that you leave but come back quickly. Once he seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time he must be quiet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 minutes another, so he never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. It helps him stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward him when he is good.
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 before you even leave.
These should help his separation anxiety and help with destructive behavior as well. 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.
Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site:
Initially I would get the new style crate and talk to your vet about some antianxiety medication. You can always use the DAP collar with medication and medication sometimes is helpful when first desensitizing the dog to being left alone. It can help you have some success with early training to help the dog learn that when you leave he gets tasty treats (kong filled with treat) and when you come back he gets a tasty treat as well (hot dog slivers) and calm praise.
Over time, you wean him off the medication and eventually you don't even need to crate them.
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 .
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