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Hey friends,

About a month ago, my partner and I rescued our two year old shih tzu. He was in an abusive situation where the owner was hoarding dogs and was missing an eye before animal services got him. Long story short, this dog has known company around him at all times, quite possibly since he was a pup.

The trouble is like all adults, me and my partner both have to go to our daytime obligations. I have graduate school while he works freelance. So far, we've been offsetting our schedules so that one of us is home with him so he hasn't been left alone, but it's just not sustainable in the long run.

Any advice on how I can train this 2 year old less-than-trainable ball of fur to be ok if he's at home alone? Anyone else have any experiences with this?
 

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You start small! Small parcels of time where you leave her alone, so she will come to understand and trust that you will come back. Then gradually increase to more and more time. You will also have to decide on whether to give her free run of the house during that time, or create a puppy den like a small room (set up with all she needs), or if she needs to be crated for safety for herself and your belongings.

Leaving the TV on, or the radio can help make her feel less alone. Getting someone else to come in and 'check on her/let her outside/playtime/walk' will be important for the days where she is left alone for longer duration, especially if she is crated!

If she is not crate trained, then you will need to get on that before you leave her in the crate. You can train a dog to love her crate by luring her in with a treat but leaving the crate door open. Once she feels confident in the crate you can close the door while she chews on her treat and let her out right away when she is finished. Catch her before she panics or whines, so the experience remains positive. Once that goes well, then you can give her a treat in the crate which takes a bit longer to finish, with the door closed...you can leave the crate available to her as a cave to retreat to whenever she wants. Then, when you crate her for when you need to, you can give her a Kong with frozen food inside to keep her busy for a while.

My dog loves to sleep in his crate and goes in it all on his own. He pretty much crate trained himself. :)
We have another dog to keep him company which is great when we have to leave them alone in the house. Perhaps you could consider getting a second dog, haha? :D <3
 

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It is very important to teach a dog who is afraid to be alone, to quietly endure such short separations with you, such as when you go out to the store nearby. To do this, create situations of short separation from time to time, but always remain calm and confident. This short parting with the dog can help to convince the dog that your absence will result in your return. See more instructions here:


https://www.cesarsway.com/dealing-with-dog-separation-anxiety/

https://dogsunleasheddaycare.com/dog-behavior-training/help-dog-with-separation-anxiety/

https://www.rover.com/blog/heres-real-way-train-dog-separation-anxiety/
 

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The current advice from behaviorists in my area at least is NOT to put dogs with separation anxiety in crates at all as they're so flooded with panic that they're more likely to hurt themselves trying to frantically escape the crate. Medication is the preferred and evidence based most effective way to treat separation anxiety.
Think about it. If you're having the worst panic/fear ever, you can't learn or be rational. You're in a complete panic convinced you're being abandoned forever and will die soon. You can't hear or listen to voices telling you things. You just want to escape the tiny jail cell (crate) you're in and be with your parents and know you're safe.

Training doesn't work until after the brain chemistry has been reset so the immediate fight or flight reaction is calmed. It's impossible to learn or be rational Al in full panic survival mode

Many dogs have been so overbred or carelessly bred for single traits like color, speed or physical traits that people created monsters in terms of physical and emotional health. That's why separation anxiety and anxiety in general is so common now.

My dog was literally dangerous to himself and extremely destructive from separation anxiety until I got him on Sertraline. That and doggy daycare kept him safe during the work days. Then I could gradually train him.
 

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This thread has me thinking about Frank the Dog and separation anxiety. He was a year and a half when I rescued him and he followed me everywhere in our apartment. It's small with an open floorplan of kitchen living room and stairs to a loft style bedroom and bathroom. The only door inside is to the bath where he would scratch at the door if I closed it. I didn't need that so I opened the door. When I got into the shower and pulled the curtain he would wiggle his head around the curtain. It took awhile... 4-6 weeks possibly, before he felt secure enough to wait outside the bathroom.

I guess I didn't realize at the time that he was having anxiety about me going behind the curtain and leaving him behind.
 

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My dog had severe separation anxiety and takes Zoloft for it. He was a danger to himself. He follows me into whatever room I'm in but will go into another room to sleep sometimes now.

He always has to follow me and wait right outside the bathtub when I shower. Usually likes to stick his head in at least once to check on me. He'd love to be in the bathroom too but usually will be right outside the door if I close the door.

If I'm at the stable and either lock him so he can hear me but not see me, he whines. If he can see me but is tied and can't get to me he whines.

If he's loose he just takes off and forgets about me completely.
Go figure that.
 

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I haven't left Laurel alone yet for any longer than it takes to check the mail.

She is genetically prone to SA. If the terrier in her is Yorkie (I was told it was MinPin but she sure doesn't look like it now) then we are going to have a long, hard road ahead of us.

Fortunately, she's cute. She hasn't even been kicked out of the grocery store yet.
 

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Have you tied full spectrum hemp oil? We use Treat-its soft chews b/c we find it easier to administer then the tinctures. I got an email this morning that they are on sale half off on Zulily this weekend. Otto and I highly recommend them
 
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