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Hi all,

Myself and partner recently adopted a rescue dog. He's a lovely dog and we are really surprised how well he seems to be fitting in apart from one issue...after 10mins of him being left alone in the house he is barking and howling until we return. He doesn't appear anxious as we're leaving and he won't bark if he knows we are only outside the house.

The rescue centre advised us he has been rehomed twice before but previous owner said he was destructive and aggressive towards other dogs. We haven't found this to be the case so far, the most destructive thing he has done is chew up the post and as far as other dogs go, he runs fine off the lead with other family members dogs and we haven't seen an ounce of aggression in him even when passing dogs walk by us in the street.

A neighbour mentioned the barking so we left him for 25mins and when playing back the recording we set up, he was fine for 10mins then the remaining 15 he was moving between the bedroom and landing being really vocal.

We always leave the television on when we go out, he also has a good walk beforehand and has a stuffed kong amongst other toys. If we're gone longer than a couple of hours then a family member will come round to check on him. Also have the Adaptil plug in diffuser but can't say this makes any difference. He does have the run of the house too.

Has anybody else experienced this and how did you overcome it?
Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!

He is approximately 3 and a half years old and is a labrador/staffie/springer cross.

Thanks in advance :)
 

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I just adopted my first rescue pup, so I'm not crazy experienced in this department. My mom is on the board for a local rescue though.
Have you tried crating him with a blanket over the crate while you are gone? It sounds like your pup has some separation anxiety, but like I said, I'm pretty new to the game myself. Hope you find a solution where you can all be happy!
 

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Theres a book with lots of info about SA called Don't leave me By Nicole Wilde.

Does he eat the contents of the kong while you have gone?

Is it possible to only leave him alone for 10 minutes and come back before he starts barking? can you take him with you or have someone to stay with him when you are out.?
You don't want his barking to become a conditioned response to you leaving. You don't want him to become distressed at anytime when left alone, if that's possible .


What I was advised to do with my Pip JRT was to leave him with kongs and things like filled hooves , say "be back soon" as I went out the door and came back before he started to back . That was literally a couple of minutes.
Saying " be back soon" is a cue word that he will be ok, only say this if you can be back before he starts barking. .
This taught him he could cope without me and that good things happen when i leave. I built up the time he was happy to be left for . It did take a while , he's still sometimes howls when i go out with my other dog but other wise he is fine.

I played canine lullabies when I left him. Canine Lullabies calm a puppy or barking dog in less than 2 min.
I reinforced this and created an association with the music and my presence by sitting with him on the sofa with a duvet and stroking him as the music played. . You can also an article of clothing with your scent on it that he can take comfort in .

There's Rescue remedy you can add to his water
I hope this helps.
 

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We haven't tried crating him as i've never seen the good in crates. I know of family/friends dogs who have hurt themselves escaping from crates and I don't think he'd like it. I've always left items of clothing for him with our scent on. One thing i've noticed is with his kong and stuffed hoove, he doesn't touch them whilst we're out then as soon as we come home he's all over them.

Having spent all weekend with him we nipped out for an hour today and left him in the kitchen thinking if he cant see people walking past he wont bark as much. When we came back he had chewed all the door frame and there were spots of blood where it had cut his gum.

Will have a look into the rescue remedy with the water. We also got him a thundershirt last week but can't say thats made a difference.

I'm really hoping that we can find a way to keep him calm as we can't be there 24/7 and he's absolutely perfect when we're actually there with him.
 

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There is a stickie thread on separation anxiety in the Training and Behavior section. Maybe someone can link it?

Crating a dog with SA can make the anxiety worse. I found a ThunderShirt helpful for my rescue dog. There are also anti-anxiety medications.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've just spoke to the rescue where we got him from and they've suggested a crate. Will contact the vets and ask them about possible medication, thankyou! :)
 

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Generally, a vet in the UK won't give out prescribed anxiety meds unless recommneded by a qualified behaviourist. They should be used in tandem with a behaviour modification plan.

have you filmed him when you go out to see hoe he behaves.

A crate will stop him from chewing the kitchen but it won't help him cope with his SA. The fact that he is not eating the kongs and chewing indicates this is distress more than anxiety .

Please do down load the book I recommended. The advice you have recieved from the Rescue if poor.

Having spent all weekend with him we nipped out for an hour today and left him in the kitchen thinking if he cant see people walking past he wont bark as much. When we came back he had chewed all the door frame and there were spots of blood where it had cut his gum
go back to leaving him where he was before,

An hour is along time for a dog that is only ok being left for 10 minutes. You can desensitise him to being left alone and gradually build up the time. Repeat through the day , going out for a couple of minutes and coming back in . Ramdomly pick up your shoe and keys but dont go out .

Emily Blackwell , behaviourist at bristol uni was on a programme on CH 4 I think , Dogs , there secret lives and she starts of by giving the dog a filled kong on a soft comfortable dog bed in the living room , sit next to him , this crate a safe comfort zone with pleasant memories. Next time , sit with him wjile he eats and then get up and walk out the room and then come back in, next time stay out longer, then in the garden You build this up until he is completely relaxed at each stage and you are able to go outside and he stays and eats his kong.
This is a bit rushed so i hope it makes sense.

COAPE have trained behaviourists CAPBT - COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers

PS I do sympathise . Pip had SA when I adopted him a few years ago. he still does the occasional howl now and then but I can leave him for some hours and he is fine.
 
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