01-10-2018, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Separation Anxiety in Adopted Dog
my approximately 3 year old pit bull was adopted at the end of August from the local SPCA. It was clear pretty soon that she had severe separation anxiety. She had ripped off the bars of her previous cage, chewed on furniture, ruined the floors in our rental apartment, chewed up a door in the same apartment and so much more. I got her a new cage thats more heavy duty and that seemed to contain her but then she figured out if she slid the removable mat on the floor of the cage she could move the cage around because her feet could touch the floor and she ruined more things that way and then she also figured out how to open up the side and front cage door. I actually have locks on the door and in front of the mat and that solved that problem. Then she figured out if she basically body slammed the side of the cage she could still get it to move and destroy things she could get close to. Then she figured out how to actually dismantle the back of the cage and get out, lock on that too now.
We give her a kong filled with peanut butter and kibble and freeze it. This usually keeps her occupied for a long time, I typically watch everything on my nanny cam while at work. Also, we adopted her knowing she had heartworm so she is currently going through heartworm treatment, she started that in October I believe. The SPCA has been giving us tranquilizer for her to try to ease her separation anxiety because if you know about the treatment she must remain calm or it could be detrimental to her health. She is on ACE and it has helped tremendously but honestly she's still kind of a wild child. Her separation anxiety has been much more manageable since getting her on a tranquilizer but she still has a lot of issues. Our routine when we put her in the cage is to put her in about 20 minutes before we leave the house, her having her tranquilizer about 1.5 hours before we leave, and we king her the kong the last minute before we leave and don't say anything to her and just leave. When we come back we don't make any fuss about letting her out.
What I have noticed lately is that she seems to do the most damage and have the worst time when my partner (who I live with) puts her away on days when he works afternoons and I've already been at work most of the day and she's only alone for a couple hours. On days when we both go to work in the morning, he leaves before I do and I put her in the cage and those days she does great! So I was thinking that she may be so attached to him, which it does seem that way, that she gets more riled up when he leaves. But now I've noticed on days I have off, and am the only one home, she does very poorly in the cage when I leave in the middle of the day to do some errands even though the routine is the same. So I've been wondering if she really hates when we've spent much of the day with her and then just leave, but I'm not sure. I wanted to take her to training at the local petco but unfortunately she doesn't get along with other dogs and would need to take private classes but the trainer doesn't even think she can help and thinks we should use a behaviorist. However the behaviorists I've talked to won't return my calls when I mention that we're a young couple who can't afford to spend several hundred dollars every month on training so I asked for some kind of payment plan. Another behaviorist I was referred to wanted a lot of money for just a consult. I'm actually a zookeeper so I would feel comfortable doing training with her but I'm not entirely sure where to start. We're seriously just at our wits end with this problem. Sorry this is so long and thank you for the help.