Questions about separation anxiety 'desensitisation'

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > Dog Training and Behavior

Questions about separation anxiety 'desensitisation'

This is a discussion on Questions about separation anxiety 'desensitisation' within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi everyone! So I just found out my puppy has pretty bad separation anxiety. We lived in a house for about about 8 months where ...

User Tag List

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-21-2018, 01:13 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Questions about separation anxiety 'desensitisation'

Hi everyone! So I just found out my puppy has pretty bad separation anxiety. We lived in a house for about about 8 months where she was left i a crate while we were at work.
I recently moved with her in a duplex and she barks and howls all the time she is alone. I just got confirmation for former neighbours that she was barking and howling all day. No one ever told us. Anyhow, this isn't a case of her "getting used to the new place".

I decided to try what I call desensitization (where I leave for a few minutes and come back before she starts crying and keep leaving for longer periods.

I am assuming leaving her in her crate all day while doing this is counterproductive so I'm looking at day-care options as a temporary measure. Anyone went through this and ''trained" the separation anxiety out of their dog even though thy had to be at work all day?

PS: before anyone tells me, she gets plenty of attention and exercise otherwise (including a walk in the morning before I leave.) and I give her a treat filled toy that she only gets when she is in the crate.

veroniquemusic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2018, 05:00 AM
Senior Member
Shadowmom's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Cambridge MA
Posts: 1,277
Mentioned: 50 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
My dog had extremely severe separation anxiety. Doggy daycare helped as did a consultation with a veterinarian behaviorist. He needed medication of a human antidepressant which he's still on. The behavioral training helped too, we've gotten to the point where he can handle being alone for two or three full work days a week. I alternate them with doggy daycare days, as in Monday Wednesday Friday home or doggy daycare and Tuesday and Thursday vice versa, as two days in a row alone at home stresses him out too much.
Once I'm home from a long work day, that's it for alone time for him for the day. We immediately go to the dog park the minute I get home and stay at least one to two hours so he can have his relaxing time to mellow from the stressful day of being alone and I spend the rest of the night with him. Any social life I have I include him in as he'd be too stressed being alone more than his nine or more hours that day.
I don't crate him as he flips out locked in a crate. He broke out of a crate before I had him at his last home. He was petrified of the crate when I got him and now will go in it and relax voluntarily as long as the door stays open. If I close him in he frantically dogs at the door and would hurt himself.
The behaviorist had said to give him his favorite toys and absolute favorite treats in a Kong to keep him busy and only give him those special treats when I'm not home and at no other time do he'd associate being home alone with amazing rare treats. But he won't eat or drink anything at all when I'm not home no matter how long I'm gone.
He's much better he no longer barks and howls or breaks the window screens and tries to jump out the third floor windows. And he doesn't destroy my apartment anymore. Usually I find him asleep on my bed cuddling with my two cats. Huge progress I used to have to confine him to a tiny area with no windows and nothing he could chew or destroy. Just the fact that I can leave him with access to my bedroom is huge since there's a lot to destroy in there and two large windows he could break out of.
When you leave and return, just do it casually with no dramatic or emotional greetings or welcomes. Make it completely quiet and routine. Emotional exuberant greetings reinforce to the dog that your leaving is a huge scary event and increase their anxiety. Best to just ignore the dog and leave and ignore the dog when you get back for a while.

This was particularly hard for me. I loved the super enthusiastic welcomes and wiggling whole butt and body tail wags and dog gentle repeated kisses. He's usually much more reserved and quietly affectionate and I really miss the boundless energy and enthusiasm and exuberance my last dog had his whole life. This dog is much more quiet and sweet and loving in his own gentle way. But won't come racing at you at warp speed wagging and licking your face off and knock you down with dog affection and exuberance. My last dog did that to everyone he met until he was too old to. The only time this dog is that exuberant, or even close to it is after I come home after being away. It's tough to balance my selfishly wanting that enthusiasm with what's best for him in getting over that awful anxiety.
But those are some of the highlights of what behaviorists recommend. For severe cases medication is very helpful.
Shadowmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2018, 12:37 PM
Senior Member
Moonstream's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 659
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I would highly, highly recommend looking into the book "Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs" by Melana Demartini Price. It's an awesome read, and her protocol has a higher success rate compared to other methods of working with separation anxiety.

She also has a great website:

Her protocol does require the dog not be left alone at levels that makes them exhibit the symptoms during the treatment, which means they must have alternative accommodations like day care, a pet sitter, staying in the car, etc. It sounds like you're already looking into that, though, which is awesome.
Moonstream is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2018, 04:49 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Thank you! I am always relieved to see some 'real life' cases that got better.

My pup is fine in the crate. I figured I would start by getting her comfortable in the crate while I was at home and after 30 minutes of not a peep, I let her out.

She is getting an evaluation at puppy day care (which I'm confident she will pass) so I will most likely bring her there every day this week and I'll start thinking of a 'plan'
veroniquemusic is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Separation Anxiety in Adopted Dog vickyc Dog Training and Behavior 0 01-10-2018 07:35 PM
Calming Treats as a Separation Anxiety Training Starter? lgoycoolea Dog Training and Behavior 5 12-30-2016 09:38 AM
Puppy Blues & Separation Anxiety? Please Help :( sorsha Dog Training and Behavior 5 08-28-2016 11:08 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.