The Dreaded Separation Anxiety

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The Dreaded Separation Anxiety

This is a discussion on The Dreaded Separation Anxiety within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; We adopted a purebred Australian Shepard in October and he is an amazing dog. We love him to death. He is so smart and so ...

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Old 12-28-2017, 02:09 PM
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The Dreaded Separation Anxiety

We adopted a purebred Australian Shepard in October and he is an amazing dog. We love him to death. He is so smart and so sweet but we have had some separation anxiety issues. One day we came home and he had gotten into a bunch of stuff and destroyed books, etc. So we decided it was no longer safe for him to be unattended and started crating him. He has started to become very resistant to being crated. We never force him into the crate and try to make it a very positive thing.

He always has Kongs or stuffed bones for going in. Today I was so frustrated trying to get him to willingly go into the crate that I just left him unattended because I had somewhere I needed to be. I came back and he was fine and didn't destroy anything.

I'm at a loss though for what to do because I don't want to take chances like that, I'm scared he will hurt himself destroying the wrong thing and he has a strong liking for plastic if he finds it!

We do not know his age, they said 1-2...but I would say he is more around 1. He doesn't appear to have filled out yet.

Thoughts? Help? Thank you!
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Old 12-28-2017, 02:52 PM
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Have you played any crate games with him? Taking time when you're not leaving to just sit by the crate and throw treats in there? This will show him that not every time he is in there are you going to leave, that there are delicious little treats in there, and that the crate isn't so bad? There are a ton of Youtube videos on crate games.

I'm a huge fan of the crate for my aussie. I tried leaving him out and while some days he didn't destroy the house in any way, the days he did he ruined things and I just wasn't willing to gamble it anymore.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:24 PM
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It's asking a lot of a young Aussie to be left at home alone inside all day. About how long is he alone?
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:39 PM
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I also have an Aussie (10 months old) and she is still crated if I need to leave during the day. Around 7 months old, I thought she was ready to have free run of the downstairs and came back to my favorite shoes pulled apart. My mistake! We have always played a lot of Susan Garret's crate games and I leave her with a Kong, but it's always best if I wear her out physically and mentally first.

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Old 12-29-2017, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foswick View Post
It's asking a lot of a young Aussie to be left at home alone inside all day. About how long is he alone?
To answer this, at the very most 8 hours. But we try to keep it to 6 at max and many days he is not in it at all.

I will try the crate games, that is a very good idea. Thanks guys!
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:26 AM
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Lightbulb Tawzer Dog: buy, rent, or subscribe for All-Access

.

"Crate Games" comes as a DVD, too -
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U can often buy a used copy, or just rent one -

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Subscriptions are mostly for trainers, but a month or 2 of subscription could get U access to an incredible amount of good, humane training.

- terry

.

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Old 12-29-2017, 02:27 PM
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What is making you think he has separation anxiety beyond the destructive behavior? Is he vocalizing repetitively? Defecating or urinating in the house? Focusing his destruction on points of escape (windows, doors, etc)?

With just an adolescent dog with destructive behavior, I wouldn't immediately peg separation anxiety. My first guess would be something more along the lines of normal adolescent behavior, with an aspect of boredom.

I agree, get him used to a crate and start confining him while you're gone. Don't expect him to be able to be loose for long periods for some time yet.

Crate games are THE BEST. I've seen them start working after only a few sessions.
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:11 PM
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What is making you think he has separation anxiety beyond the destructive behavior? Is he vocalizing repetitively? Defecating or urinating in the house? Focusing his destruction on points of escape (windows, doors, etc)?

With just an adolescent dog with destructive behavior, I wouldn't immediately peg separation anxiety. My first guess would be something more along the lines of normal adolescent behavior, with an aspect of boredom.

I agree, get him used to a crate and start confining him while you're gone. Don't expect him to be able to be loose for long periods for some time yet.

Crate games are THE BEST. I've seen them start working after only a few sessions.
Thanks for your response!

He vocalizes but not indefinitely. He loves my boyfriend much more than he loves me and when he leaves, even if I'm here, the dog wanders around whimpering and looking out the window. My boyfriend does more of the fun stuff with him so it is understandable. I do think part of the problem is that it is winter and it is hard to get him outside and doing things because it is so cold so his brain isn't as tired as it could be. Although we are doing 30 minute training sessions daily right now.
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:22 PM
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Ours was extremely crate resistant too. We finally gave up on the crate, it just wasn't a battle we were going to win, and made a 'safe room' (kitchen & family room area), which we left her in, when we had to leave her. She didn't seem to mind that, and never got into any trouble. After a relatively short period of time, we let her have the run of the house, and in seven years, she has never destroyed anything, or gotten into any trouble.
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:48 PM
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Honestly, sounds like your run of the mill adolescent Aussie.

They THRIVE with their people and tend to get pretty down without them, they are shepherd dogs after all.

Patricia McConnell's book I'll Be Home Soon, is a great resource which will help you differentiate between true SA and just mopey dogs.
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