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Hello :) So I'm having some...trouble with my dog. A bit of background. I got my dog from a local rescue back in April of this year (April's fools day, interestingly).
What I was told about him: 7-8 years old, neutered, good with dogs/cats/children, house trained, quiet, easy-going, but has a history of seizures and is missing most teeth (he was found wandering).
What ended up being true about him: Possibly closer to 5-6 years old, neutered, not a fan of dogs (he either: growls and lunges, but has no teeth so he does no damage; or he attempts to flee), wary of cats/children, relieves himself without warning anywhere he wants (even if he just did so while outside during a walk), stresses easily, and has severe separation anxiety.:( He also has a fairly large scar down the middle of his head, we're not sure what caused it but it appears quite old.
He is a "chiweenie", but we've guessed that he is probably chihuahua/doxie/beagle/terrier, i.e., a mutt. He's about a foot and a half long, and about 6 inches tall. He's cute as a button, and his ears are too big for his head. :p He was 6 pounds when we got him, but we've gotten his weight up to almost 15 pounds. Anyway, on to the problem.
His separation anxiety: He is very attached to me. He follows me whenever I move rooms, but if I'm not moving around he goes and burrows in the bed like I'm not here. Anytime a door separates me and him, he starts to cry. Even if I go to the bathroom, he sits by the door and cries. When I leave the house, he starts to scream. And howl. And bark. The entire time. I tape recorded it once, he kept barking for 6 hours straight. He was hoarse by the time I got back. And he pees and poops in the house while I'm gone, even if I took him out just prior to me leaving.
What I've tried: I've tried exercising him vigorously before leaving (we go for a walk 3 times a day), leaving my shirt for him (he pees on it:mad:), leaving special treats and toys that are only available when I leave, providing stimulating toys and play time when I'm home, putting him in the bathroom with the lights off (he upturns his food/water dishes), leaving a radio on, and various combinations of the above.
He loses his mind with excitement when I come in the door to the point where he's panting, and it lasts for well over 45 minutes some days. I never make a deal when I leave or when I come in, and I don't pay him any attention when I come home to try to discourage the behavior. I don't let him bully me into letting him on my lap or giving him human food whenever he wants. But even after 8 months, he hasn't improved even a little bit.
I feel like I'm at my wits' end. I'd never give him up, he's part of the family now. But something has to give. I'm in an apartment and I'm sure my neighbors want to kill me :p
Any advice? Short of asking the vet for meds to induce a coma anytime I leave :eek: Sorry for such a long post, thanks for taking the time!
 

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You've tried a lot of things that could help, so well done. It seems like he has got a severe case of separation anxiety and you are going to be more proactive about teaching him to be left alone, because right now he just doesn't know how to and all the comforting things in the world aren't going to make that less terrifying for him.

You can see the process here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGxhcb-itO4&feature=youtu.be

And a book on the subject with a step by step guide:

Basically you take tiny tiny steps in rewarding him for being alone. You will have to start with just leaving him in his crate or bed while you're in the same room, before you are able to leave the room and even the house. The bad thing is that if you are unable to avoid leaving him alone while you're working on training him out of his SA is that he's likely to backslide... Simply because you have to gradually build up the time and being suddenly left for 6 hours again will obviously interrupt that gradual process.

Good luck with it. It's one of the hardest problems for owners to deal with I think. If only we had the luxury to be with our dogs all day every day!
 

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Don't be afraid to ask about meds while you are changing how he feels about being left alone. For dogs with SA, medication in conjunction with behavior modification training is something that can help the dog make progress. Imagine the stress and fear this dog is feeling. We wouldn't expect a human to tough it out without some medication to help ease extreme anxiety and for dogs, who we can't clearly explain that we will indeed return, it's even more important.

Pat Miller has some good articles on SA. She writes for the Whole Dog journal. You can read the articles online.

Most dogs with severe SA will not be helped by exercise prior to being left alone and won't eat anything when they're left alone.
 

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I also adopted an older rescue dog with moderate SA. I found that he responded well to wearing a ThunderShirt, and now, with the shirt on seems to mostly sleep during the day. He still shows some anxiety when he's left alone at odd times, but continues to show improvement. I also think he's also just become more secure in our home.

I didn't try meds, but I think that they might be worth it in your situation.
 
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