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Hi guys! Hoping I could get some advice. I recently moved out of my parents house across the country for medical school. When I first moved out, my dog had bad anxiety and was gnawing at her paws but that eventually resolved on its own. I haven’t lived home for 7 months and visited about once every two months. My dog was so happy to see me and acted like I was never gone. Now, with coronavirus I’ve been home for about 2 months and my dog is too attached to me and has bad separation anxiety. She used to love my boyfriend and was literally obsessed with him. She would rather sit by him most of the time. Recently, she has started to sort of hate my boyfriend and she won’t make eye contact with him. If he comes near her, she moves away. When he comes over, she still gets so excited to see him and gives him so many kisses. Lately, she hasn’t been giving any of my siblings attention nor my parents. Her main focus is me. I love her so much and it kills me knowing that I’m going to be moving away again and I know it’ll be SO hard on her and myself. What should I do? Does she anticipate that I’m leaving again? Does she hate my boyfriend because every time I leave without her, I’m with him? Helpppppp
 

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Dogs can have SA in relation to a particular person so I'd suggest you start getting her prepared by coming and going frequently, before you leave for a longer period.

Have you seen our resource on SA?

 

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Hi guys! Hoping I could get some advice. I recently moved out of my parents house across the country for medical school. When I first moved out, my dog had bad anxiety and was gnawing at her paws but that eventually resolved on its own. I haven’t lived home for 7 months and visited about once every two months. My dog was so happy to see me and acted like I was never gone. Now, with coronavirus I’ve been home for about 2 months and my dog is too attached to me and has bad separation anxiety. She used to love my boyfriend and was literally obsessed with him. She would rather sit by him most of the time. Recently, she has started to sort of hate my boyfriend and she won’t make eye contact with him. If he comes near her, she moves away. When he comes over, she still gets so excited to see him and gives him so many kisses. Lately, she hasn’t been giving any of my siblings attention nor my parents. Her main focus is me. I love her so much and it kills me knowing that I’m going to be moving away again and I know it’ll be SO hard on her and myself. What should I do? Does she anticipate that I’m leaving again? Does she hate my boyfriend because every time I leave without her, I’m with him? Helpppppp
Your boyfriend should be happy to see the dog and should visit regularly. You should leave the house for at least 8 hours at a time. Whoever is home should spend time daily playing and socializing with your pet. Dogs are more dependant on socializing than people because they have so few connections. If your dog is video aware, you could face time with him. One of my dogs can see and hear other dogs on TV. Many cannot comprehend Video due to vision issues.
 

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Hold up, leaving a dog with SA for 8 hours isn't recommended - I appreciate this dog seems to have SA from one person and there are other people there, but jumping in at 8 hours is too much too soon.
 

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Hold up, leaving a dog with SA for 8 hours isn't recommended - I appreciate this dog seems to have SA from one person and there are other people there, but jumping in at 8 hours is too much too soon.
I doubt that's the case, but each dog is completely unique. I've had dogs for 20 years, and have to pet the one on the left and the one on the right differently. Half of my dogs are rescues but even the pup-raised have weird unique issues.
 

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The reason 8 hours is too long to leave a dog showing signs of separation anxiety is that it is not possible to train a dog (or any other creature) to not be anxious while she is in a state of anxiety. It's rooted in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; animals cannot learn (one of the higher functions in the hierarchy) if their more basic needs, like feeling safe, are not met.


The key to resolving SA is to build up the dog being left gradually, starting with seconds if necessary, and slowly increasing the time away. But crucially - and this is really important - you return before the dog becomes anxious.

That's why leaving for 8 hours from the start is not helpful.
 
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