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I know this has probably been asked and answered numerous times, but I also know every dog is different in his/her own way. I have a 1 year old Mini-pin/Chihuahua mix. I believe he was either beaten or abandoned by his last owners because if you make sudden movements he cowers his head and his tail goes between his legs and he goes into a submissive pose, lying on his back, all from a simple fast movement that is totally unrelated to disciplining him. We never yell or hit him.

I have 4 other roommates and we all consider him our dog. The problem is, we cannot leave for literally more than 10 seconds, before he starts whining a shrill incredibly loud whining and barking. If there's one person in the house, we have to let him follow us everywhere we go because he'll just start screaming, even to the bathroom. We just moved into a new apartment last week and already received 2 noise complaints. If you leave him in the car when you go into a store, people start complaining about animal abuse and how long he's been in there, even if it's just a few minutes, with all windows cracked.

I'd prefer to have a professional train him, but money is so tight right now that's just not an option. Friend of mine told me about animal xanax but i know the side effects of human xanax so that's not an option I'd like to choose. His official owner, one of my roommates, want to get a bark collar, but i know that could make it even worse and its so inhumane.

I know the theory of desensitization and counterconditioning, but not how to utilize it. Can someone point me in the right direction on how to go about training him? We really don't want to get rid of him because when he's around and not freaking out, he's the sweetest dog and we'd hate to give him up. We want to be able to go out once in a while without him and know that he'll be okay and not get us another noise complaint. We actually tried that "calming harness" but he managed to get his teeth into it and chewed it up. We tried calming treat and those seem to work, but it's about $15 for 11 chews so its pretty dang expensive. I know about the kong and puzzle tricks to try and keep the dogs mind on something else while we go out but if he know we're going out, he is not interested in food or anything.

One thing to note is he is not neutered because my roommate thinks it's an inhumane thing to do. Would neutering help at all? I just don't know. I love the dog but he is driving us crazy.

Another thing aside from the separation is he begs constantly. If you go into the kitchen just to wash dishes, he follows you and sits on his 2 back legs with his front legs in the air. Yes its cute as heck but its so annoying. Then when you have food and don't share with him he whines and begs until an hour after your done eating.

Another thing is, he does not like children. And that's fine as we rarely have children over, but at his old residence there was a child who used to throw him around and hurt him on several occasions, this is why my roommate moved in with me. Every time he's near a child now, he growls and shows his teeth and even cornered one child before. Though he never bit one...yet.

I just don't know what to do. Should i take him to a no kill shelter or is there a way to train this almost impossible dog? Please help!
 

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Hi Shaggy,

I have a Chessie with similar separation anxiety issues although he is not as skiddish around people. I didn't want to give him any meds though. I tried two tactics that I found on another site petvotion that helped keep him calm while I was away. I used the idea of freezing wet and dry dog food inside the KONG toy which kept Chauncy busy for a while after I left. I also used the Thundershirt. It fits pretty well to his body (although he's a lot bigger than your dog) and it was durable so he didn't bite a whole lot. I found them here Away for the day — Petvotion

I hope this helps. Your dog looks so cute so I would hate for you to have to give him up.
 

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I have a dog that used to suffer from SA (and so I have read all books available) and this is by far my favorite:
Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Medicine, if used correctly, will make the process faster. I didn't use it for my own dog and it took about 7 months (with no management fails - he was never alone outside training) before I could leave him alone any length of time without any anxiety. I believe I could have cut that time in half using meds.

Good luck, it's a terrible disorder that cause so much suffering but it can be cured.
 

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Is the dog a recent addition? If so this seems normal. Of the 5 dogs I've lived with in my life, the 3 that came as puppy as well as the as the two that came as adults, have cried nonstop when you leave them alone for the first time.

I think its natural, they're in a new unfamiliar place, it's more than a little frightening, and the one positive calming element is you. Dogs exist because the were selectively bred to work and provide companionship for humans. It's understandable that they seek you out and reject being alone.

The latest episode of this fun was just this last week. Non stop howling all night long. I laid in bed each night thinking, "It wasn't that bad last time, was it?", "I hope she's alright" and "The neighbors are going to kill me".

3 nights of non stop howling. There is no way the entire block did not want to murder me. Ambient music, a noisy heater with a fan and some Ambien was the only reason I slept. However I'm a big believer in that if you give them attention when they're crying it just encourages the behavior since it gets them what they want. The 4th - 7th night featured some intermittent howling for 30 minutes at a time; enough to cause sleep problems and nights 8-11 (last night) featured an ever decreasing amount of complaining each time I left her alone.

My advice is just ignore him, it will most likely self extinguish and will do so much more quickly if you all agree to NEVER console him. For the neighbors, explain that it's a new dog; if they're dog owner's they've lived through this before. Even if the ones complaining aren't dog owners, there are probably enough of them in the HOA that understand your position.

I absolutely agree that a bark collar is a bad idea, a god awfully terrible one in fact. I doubt that neutering would have any effect on this kind of barking. Xanax - human or canine- just manages symptoms it doesn't actually treat any problem. It could work by making the training less painful but I'm guessing it'd also make the same training less effective.
 

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I highly recommend fluoxetine(prozac). They do not typically use xanax/benzos in dogs, don't know where you got that.
Fluoxetine works very well for separation anxiety and does not sedate them in the least. Talk to your vet about it.
 
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