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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20179
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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We have a 7yr old male cavalier who has real anxiety problems.

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We have a 7yr old male cavalier who has real anxiety problems. We have had him and a female for just over a year the female settled fine but Jasper hasn't if anything he is worse. They came from family who had died he was very attached to the grand-daughter but they were unable to keep him, we see them occasionally and at these times he does not leave her side. Problems we are having, cannot close internal doors as he scraps at them, he doesn't ask to go out but during day not a problem but just recently he has starting to go in the house at night even though he goes out last thing, a few times I have also come home to piles of poo, he also flicks his tongue in and out a lot. We are really patient with him but want desperately to help him.
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.
Thanks for all the information. I think it gives me enough information to give you some suggestions. The first thing you might want to try is a DAP collar. The DAP collar uses a pheromone much like the one a nursing mother produces to calm her pups. They are proven to work on dogs with anxiety issues. Studies have shown them very effective for both noise and separation anxiety as well as for car rides, so it should be perfect in this situation. They make both plug ins and collars. I like collars as they go with the dog.
The other thing that can help protect your doors since it is mostly a scatching issue, is some decorative sheet metal. Often owners that have trained their dogs to scratch the door to let them know they need to eliminate attach this to the bottom of the door. It comes in a variety of different patters and looks quite nice while protecting the wood. See images here:
Practice putting him in a room or a crate, leaving the house or room, opening the door immediately and rewarding him with a hot dog treat if he did not scratch, bite and carry one. This teaches him that you leave or close the door 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.
These should help his separation anxiety and boredom and help curb his scratching. 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:
For the house training issue just starting, I have some suggestions as well. The first thing to do is have a fecal and urinary sample tested to ensure there are no infections or parasites contributing to the problem making it hard for him to control himself.
If he is fine, then it is behavioral. to make it easier for him to let you know he has to eliminate, , put a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. Each time you take the dog out, ring the bell. The dog will associate ringing the bell with going out and one day ring the bell to signal to you that he needs to go out.
You should also keep a log of when you feed and water him and when he eliminates. After a few days, you should see a pattern to his elimination. You can use that information to have him outside when he is most likely going to need to eliminate. When he eliminates outside, Have a tasty treat handy to give to him immediately to encourage him to always go outside.
Also be sure to clean with a good enzymatic cleaner to remove all traces of the odor and let it soak in as long as the urine or fecal matter sat. That allows the cleaner to reach everywhere and break down the protein that causes the odor which draws the dog back to the spot to eliminate later.
The tongue flicking is likely due to an upset stomach possibly from anxiety but could be from an stomach issue. the DAP collar may help that but you might also try some pepcid when you notice this. Read about Pepcid dosages and usage information here:
If this help, consider adding a probiotic to his food to help put good bacteria into his system.
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 and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou for your help, he is okay when we go out, we both work, and they are alone for 4hrs with no problem, its when we are in the house with him that the problems he wants to be with us constantly we have always left them downstairs with the door shut that is when he becomes frantic, the only time this happens when we are not here is if there is a storm.

I always give a teaspoon of probiotic yogurt to there food as I heard it was good for them.

will try the bell on the door idea combined with treat.

Will certainly try collar as we would llike to be able to leave him with friends whilst we have a night away.

If the yogurt isn't working, then you might want to try a probiotic powder from the pet store or ask your vet for one. That is more effective than the yogurt. The collar should help as well and the training should work as well to teach him to stay calm longer.