Separation Anxiety and Barking at other dogs, two part question

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Separation Anxiety and Barking at other dogs, two part question

This is a discussion on Separation Anxiety and Barking at other dogs, two part question within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello everyone! I have a lovable dog named Snow. I've raised him since he was a pup and tried my best to raise him to ...

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Old 11-20-2017, 12:19 AM
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Separation Anxiety and Barking at other dogs, two part question

Hello everyone!

I have a lovable dog named Snow. I've raised him since he was a pup and tried my best to raise him to be the best he can be.
Unfortunately, there are mistakes I made being a first time owner and I'm really dealing with the manifestations of those problems in my little boy.
Firstly, he has really bad separation anxiety issues. Whenever my wife and I leave the house even for a minute, he'll bark and pant and start shivering really badly. This is probably because I had to work when I had him as a pup and would have to leave him at home unattended. I feel terrible but I had no other choice at the time.

Second, He used to be very friendly with other dogs we'd walk into during our walks but there was an incident when my mother was watching him and during their walk another bigger dog came and bit him on two separate occasions. It was a neighborhood dog everyone had a problem with. Luckily he wasn't hurt too much cept a small nick on both times. However, after that he's definitely become more hostile to dogs we run into during our walks now. Weird thing is, when I take him to the dog park or an off leash trail, he's super happy and gets along with other dogs just fine! BUT when I have him on the leash and take him for walks on any neighborhood block he becomes aggressive to other dogs. He hasn't attacked or bit another dog thank God but he barks at them incessantly.

PLEASE help me and my boy! I love him to death and I want to improve his standard of living. It really hurts when owners have to shield their dog or walk around us. Also, the neighbors dont appreciate his freak outs when we leave the house. Thank you so much in advance for your advice!







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Old 11-20-2017, 01:56 AM
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Sorry to ask the blindingly obvious. For both SA and neighbourhood barking. When this happens, what do you do? What, if anything, have you tried so far?
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:35 AM
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Thanks for the reply! Yeah I should've mentioned what I've tried so far. For the separation anxiety, I've tried thundershirts, tried baby sitting a friends dog so that my dog may have company, even installed a camera in the home with voice option so I can try speaking to him from work.

So far none of these have worked so I've been dropping him off at my mother's before work so he won't be completely alone. However as soon as I drive off he will start crying. When I come to pick him up and drive off, he will start crying cause we're leaving my mom. It could be because we all used to live together?

As for the barking, I'm totally clueless. I try to get a tighter and closer grip on the leash and as soon as he starts barking at other dogs I try to get in front of his view. He completely ignores me though. Doesn't hear any of my commands.

I can tell these two cases are pretty severe because Snow LOVES treats like a drug. But he won't touch them whenever I leave some out for him when I leave the house and he'll completely ignore treats outside the house as if he's trying to be aware of other dogs.
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Old 11-21-2017, 08:34 AM
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In general terms, when a dog is stressed, the "fight or flight" response kicks in. This takes up a lot of the brain's resources, so to compensate it slows down parts of the brain that aren't as necessary, such as the muscles involved in digestion. This could mean that the dog would be physically unable to eat in situations of high stress. Dependant on the severity of the episode(s), it can take several days for the cortisol levels to return to normal.

Realistically, after an incident, if you try a "cure" for a day, the body hasn't had the time to calm down and hormone levels to normalize and the cure is unlikely to work. It needs more time.

Sorry, loads of questions now. There are no right/wrong answers, the more information we have, the more likely we are to come up with appropriate strategies.

When he's not wound up, what will Snow reliably do if you ask? Will he sit, lie down, stay, give a paw, spin round, settle on a mat/bed, watch, walk on a loose lead? Will he do the same if only one of you is there? Will he do the same for your Mom?

Looking at the separation aspect, I assume that there is a pattern that you and your wife follow when you leave the house, can this be varied or is it pretty rigid? What about when you drop Snow off and pick him up later, again, rigid or flexible?

When you drop him off in a morning and he cries, what does your Mom do? How long before he calms down?

As for the barking, are you all in the same neighbourhood? What's he like when your Mom walks him (I assume she does)? What does she do? When he reacts to another dog and you "...try to get in front of his view. He completely ignores me though. Doesn't hear any of my commands.", what are you asking him to do? What is he doing, apart from barking, is he moving forwards, backwards?
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:21 AM
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Taking the second question first: In a lot of cases of on-leash reactivity (often mistaken for aggression) the dog is actually responding to anxiety on the part of the person walking the dog. Dogs are constantly looking to us for non-verbal cues to see how we're feeling and what we want them to do. If you are anticipating a problem and becoming tense or anxious, the dog will see this and become anxious itself. The next time you're out walking with him and see another dog approaching, check your own feelings and see if you're becoming worried before he does. If so, just relax, smile, give him a laugh and see how he does.

Ptolemy asked some very good questions about the separation anxiety. There are ways to help him with this, but more information is needed.
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Old 11-26-2017, 09:00 PM
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Thanks everyone for your response. Snow and I truly appreciate it!

As for the questions:

When he's not wound up, what will Snow reliably do if you ask? Will he sit, lie down, stay, give a paw, spin round, settle on a mat/bed, watch, walk on a loose lead? Will he do the same if only one of you is there? Will he do the same for your Mom?

He listens to all commands. Sit, stay, lay down, come, he can walk without a leash and will never run away. He's a great dog! It's just when other dogs come into view or there's bug distractions he won't listen anymore. Hell just having a freak out session.

Looking at the separation aspect, I assume that there is a pattern that you and your wife follow when you leave the house, can this be varied or is it pretty rigid? What about when you drop Snow off and pick him up later, again, rigid or flexible?

Unfortunately it's pretty rigid. We always grab our keys and put on our shoes and also have only one exit. Ive been meaning to find a way around all this.

When you drop him off in a morning and he cries, what does your Mom do? How long before he calms down?

My mom walks him as soon as he's dropped off so he quickly forgets about us from what she says.

When I try to block his view from other dogs. He actively tried to find a way to look at them like trying to pry between my legs or try to glance at them by ducking to the side.
When a dog starts approaching us on the sidewalk, snow will start dragging me towards the dog while howling and barking. He tries to lunge towards them at times.

I never had an issue with encountering other dogs before , at least, until snow had the incident where he got bit by another dog. I always walked with him firmly but gentle and we used to have great times where we'd meet other dogs and owners and our dogs would just sniff each other out.
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