Avery’s Separation Anxiety Symptoms

Avery RunningI kind of left everyone hanging after the initial post where I mentioned that Avery has separation anxiety.  Whoops!  Totally didn’t mean to do that!

We realized that Avery does not like being left alone and he would basically have mild panic attacks when he was left alone.

Drooling, licking, panting, and whining the entire time.  He was also chewing on his crate.  Not trying to escape but stress chewing.

He and his crate would be a mess by the time we got back home.  His crate would be covered in drool and so was he.  He would be soaked from his chin all the way down his legs, back legs included.

When let out of his crate, he would bolt right for the water bowl and basically inhale as much water as he could.  We would have to stop him because we didn’t want to risk him getting bloat from drinking too much too quickly.

Not crating him is not an option.  He would still have panic attacks plus he would go to the bathroom in the house (#1 and #2).

He was a hot mess.

Frequency made it worse instead of better.  Instead of getting used to be left alone and thinking, “oh hey I did this yesterday and everything was fine.  This is cool. I’m okay”,  he would think, “OH MY GOD I’M ALONE AGAIN! THIS IS THE WORST EVER!”.  And his anxiety levels would escalate with each time he was left alone.

Rescue Remedy and a Thunder Shirt did not help.  He would get 8 drops (the recommended dose is 4) of Rescue Remedy along with the Thunder Shirt and this didn’t even begin to help him.

So taking the normal approach to crate training isn’t an option. When you have a dog with separation anxiety, we have learned that you have to look at the situation differently because you’re dealing with a majorly stressed out dog who’s coping skills are non-existent.

Once we moved into the new house, we decided that we were going to start completely over with crate training and take things super slowly.  Like molasses on a winter day, slow.

Currently Avery hasn’t been left alone in several months.  He either comes with us if we can take him or only one of us will go to an event while the other stays home with Avery.

This also means that Scott and I haven’t been out together for several months.  Which quite frankly, stinks.

But both of us are committed to working towards getting him past this.

We are using an all natural anti-anxiety pill call L-Theanine along with a new approach to crate training.  More on both of those in an upcoming post!  I will say that so far both of these things have gone over really well.

Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to the post on how you’ve worked on it, as it sounds like it’s a pretty big burden for you guys.

    I am a big fan of Crate Games (Susan Garrett) and/or shaping the dog into the crate. And then, in order to deal with separation, you go through your leaving-routine one thing at a time, rewarding the dog in between each (grab keys, coat, put on coat, shoes) and either not leave (reward the dog for being in the crate while you do these things) or leave, then immediately come back in. Over time, you can extend the amount of time you’re gone.

    • Thanks Ximena! The trouble with Avery, since he’s so anxious, everything for him is a trigger. Walking to the bathroom means something is going on. So that has also been part of the challenge.

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