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Old 16.02.2017, 20:38
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Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

Not specific to Switzerland but I know there are a couple of really knowledgable dog types here so here goes!

My poodle cross rescue is about 10 months old. We've had him since the start of December. He's such a lovely, clever, easy dog - loves the cat, loves other dogs, learning fast. But he is incredibly attached to me (normal for dogs and especially poodles who are people pleasers) to the point he howls the house down when I leave for more than about 20 mins even when the rest of the family are still home. We've tried acting normally, no fuss so he sees me going as no big deal - still he howls. We've tried distracting him...no change. I have built up the time I leave him to about an hour and a half but I tend to take him everywhere so I can to avoid distressing him. I have a webcam in the flat and he paces anxiously crying and then howling. I don't need to leave him alone often but I hoped I'd be able to leave him with the family when I'm gone and know he wasn't stressed. When possible they just go out for a walk with him and that's the only thing that stops him. But sometimes I'd like to pop out for an hour and they don't always want to decamp or it's bedtime etc.

Any other suggestions? Getting another dog doesn't work as we dog sit and even when he's got a friend here he's exactly the same. He's attached very specifically to me. One of my previous dogs had separation anxiety so I'm used to dealing with it and know a few tricks but it's not settling for poor Buddy - I've no idea what he's been through but when he was rescued in Italy he went to a pound type kennel at the border and on to a foster family. Maybe it will get better but it's showing no signs!

Last edited by MaybeeSkint; 16.02.2017 at 20:42. Reason: Typo
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:44
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

Stop feeding him.

Let me guess, you two are together almost 24/7. Everyone else comes and goes, but you're always there.

And you're his food source.

Get a different family member to feed him.
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:53
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

A couple of things that I might try - As he is so devoted to you when he comes towards you, say if you were on the sofa,and wants your attention is to turn yourself the other way to ignore him if he keeps trying to get attention. This should make him realise that he cannot depend so heavily on young give him some confidence to be a bit more independent. Another thing is when you leave him to go out is to make him go to his bed but maybe leave an old sweater or item of clothing that smells of you - that should reassure him.
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Old 16.02.2017, 21:08
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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Stop feeding him.

Let me guess, you two are together almost 24/7. Everyone else comes and goes, but you're always there.

And you're his food source.

Get a different family member to feed him.
We've tried the food thing. He attached himself in the same way to the woman in his foster family. He's better with women so I'm wondering if he's had a negative experience with a man before he was rescued.
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Old 16.02.2017, 21:10
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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A couple of things that I might try - As he is so devoted to you when he comes towards you, say if you were on the sofa,and wants your attention is to turn yourself the other way to ignore him if he keeps trying to get attention. This should make him realise that he cannot depend so heavily on young give him some confidence to be a bit more independent. Another thing is when you leave him to go out is to make him go to his bed but maybe leave an old sweater or item of clothing that smells of you - that should reassure him.

The thing is he doesn't follow me around or demand my attention as much as precious dogs have. He sleeps in his own bed happily and isn't at all a lap dog....

I may start leaving something on his bed again (I tried that to start with) but he has the run of the house and could get on my bed or anywhere when I'm not around...
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Old 17.02.2017, 07:17
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

Have you tried an adaptil collar? We used that with our pup when he was young and we brought him home from his mother, and while I therefore have no baseline to compare against, there was a minimum of separation anxiety.
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Old 17.02.2017, 07:24
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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Have you tried an adaptil collar? We used that with our pup when he was young and we brought him home from his mother, and while I therefore have no baseline to compare against, there was a minimum of separation anxiety.
We used an adaptil diffuser with my dear dog who I meantioned in my OP... I might have a look in Cats & Dogs today actually. Thanks for the reminder! It was 11 years ago since we dealt with Merv's SA so some things I've forgotten!
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Old 17.02.2017, 09:16
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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Have you tried an adaptil collar? We used that with our pup when he was young and we brought him home from his mother, and while I therefore have no baseline to compare against, there was a minimum of separation anxiety.
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We used an adaptil diffuser with my dear dog who I meantioned in my OP... I might have a look in Cats & Dogs today actually. Thanks for the reminder! It was 11 years ago since we dealt with Merv's SA so some things I've forgotten!
I would certainly give this a try, but think that the collar might be a better bet as your puppy has the freedom to move around the house and so he will carry the benefit with him. I would also look into Bachs flower remedies and maybe even a visit to the vet to discuss drug therapy.

I used the collar for about 2 years on my old girl when she became anxious as a youngster. I do think it helped, but we tried the diffuser next to the crate of our current puppy and it didn't help at all. She also had separation anxiety at first which has thankfully passed now she is older.

Question: does puppy howl if you are in the house but shut a door between you? Is it that you are blocking him from being with you if he needs to be or is it only when you physically leave the building?

In any case I would try to find a trainer who specialises in rescue and difficult dogs. You could also look for someone who is a practitioner of "tellington touch", this has been found to be very relaxing for distressed animals.
Most important is for you not to become anxious too as he will pick up on it and then feed on your anxiety. Good luck and keep us posted.

Oh yes, we need photo's of the young lad
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Old 17.02.2017, 12:27
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

Have you tried using a crate? Some dogs feel very secure in these- even with the door open.

That was my experience. All our dogs were rescued and it does take time for them to feel safe in their new environment.
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Old 17.02.2017, 13:05
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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Have you tried using a crate? Some dogs feel very secure in these- even with the door open.

That was my experience. All our dogs were rescued and it does take time for them to feel safe in their new environment.
He is off the scale distressed in a crate. We tried crate training from the day we brought him home like we did with our other dogs. I have never ever seen distress in a dog like it. He's got his safe space in his bed (he doesn't sleep with us and is very happy in his bed) but the crate was cruel for him.
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Old 17.02.2017, 13:10
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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Question: does puppy howl if you are in the house but shut a door between you? Is it that you are blocking him from being with you if he needs to be or is it only when you physically leave the building?
He is happy for me to have a shower or be in a different room with the door shut. He might sometimes come and find me but he will go to bed spontaneously in another room and he doesn't even sit on my lap much. He's got his little spots round the house he favours usually correlating with the underfloor heating! It's just if I leave the building. He howls at the door then runs round the garden and howls at the gate.

Pic to follow.....

Last edited by MaybeeSkint; 17.02.2017 at 13:21.
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Old 17.02.2017, 13:20
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

serious-separation-anxiety-attachment-issues-15327230_10154389112453445_113749490492975562_n.jpg

serious-separation-anxiety-attachment-issues-15873168_10154499007468445_6447748745672142724_n.jpg

On our walk this morning with Woody who we dog sit for

serious-separation-anxiety-attachment-issues-16730284_10154642197548445_2473625993312454124_n.jpg

serious-separation-anxiety-attachment-issues-16807286_10154642196938445_7667956332403987433_n.jpg
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Old 17.02.2017, 18:12
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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He is off the scale distressed in a crate. We tried crate training from the day we brought him home like we did with our other dogs. I have never ever seen distress in a dog like it. He's got his safe space in his bed (he doesn't sleep with us and is very happy in his bed) but the crate was cruel for him.
Our current one was the same, during the day, but bizarrely she sleeps in one at night and always has. I tried putting her in the crate in the daytime, but she screamed blue murder, so I bought a babies playpen which we put in the living room and tried her in that. Screamed again but we persisted with the understanding of our neighbours who knew we were trying to train her to be home alone. They would report back on how long she screamed and had a key to come and rescue her if I knew I was going to be longer than 30 minutes. In desperation one day I decided to leave her free and the little b*gger was as quiet as a lamb

I would try natural remedies as mentioned before as well as going back to walking out of the door for 1 minute, coming back and ignoring. Work up slowley minute by minute, as many times during the day as you can manage and think he can cope with too. Sounds to me that he is possibly going through his "second fear stage" which can happen between 6 and 18 months. You need to get this right so he recovers and does not remain scared/anxious. I would really recommend professional help as soon as you can find someone you and he trust.

Best of luck and keep us posted
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Old 17.02.2017, 18:13
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

Forgot to mention how handsome he is
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Old 17.02.2017, 18:31
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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Our current one was the same, during the day, but bizarrely she sleeps in one at night and always has. I tried putting her in the crate in the daytime, but she screamed blue murder, so I bought a babies playpen which we put in the living room and tried her in that. Screamed again but we persisted with the understanding of our neighbours who knew we were trying to train her to be home alone. They would report back on how long she screamed and had a key to come and rescue her if I knew I was going to be longer than 30 minutes. In desperation one day I decided to leave her free and the little b*gger was as quiet as a lamb

I would try natural remedies as mentioned before as well as going back to walking out of the door for 1 minute, coming back and ignoring. Work up slowley minute by minute, as many times during the day as you can manage and think he can cope with too. Sounds to me that he is possibly going through his "second fear stage" which can happen between 6 and 18 months. You need to get this right so he recovers and does not remain scared/anxious. I would really recommend professional help as soon as you can find someone you and he trust.

Best of luck and keep us posted
Thanks this is helpful.

re neighbours.... we moved in here 2 years ago with 2 lovely old cockers, both about 10 years old. One was deaf (not dear as per the typo in my comment above ha) and is the one who had some separation issues. When we arrived I wrote hello cards to all our connected neighbours in the building introducing us and the dogs and asking for a little patience as the dogs and kids settled....

They gave us exactly 5 days

Our deaf dog was crying as we started the process of leaving him for short times (this process takes less than 2 weeks as we've done it a couple of times in the decade we've had him) and my husband bumped into our neighbour in the lobby on day. he greeted him politely and our neighbour (not Swiss) proceeds to tell us that our dogs bark 'constantly' when we are out.... (not true as we have a webcam that emails me when the dog jumps off the bloody sofa) My hubby apologised for him and explained again that they were settling and we didn't anticipate the process being long.....our neighbour then broke the news that...and I quote.... 'dogs don't bark in Switzerland...'

ok....

yes he said 'i don't know where you have come from.... [Answer: Morges just past Lausanne] ...but in Switzerland dogs don't bark....you go to classes and teach them not to....'

So understanding neighbours are not a thing here unfortunately - in fact he also tried to literally scold out kitten when it strayed into his garden due to his kids coaxing it there....apparently in Brazil they 'deal with unwanted cats in the garden with boiling water...they don't come back then....' .....so.....
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Old 17.02.2017, 18:55
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

Luckily our neighbours are Swiss , we all moved in together, well we were last in but within a few months of each other. They loved the fact that the old one barked if she heard something "odd" i.e. Might be a burglar. They all cried with us when she passed and were all so happy when we bought the new terrorist home.

I feel for you and hope that it gets better soon
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Old 17.02.2017, 19:48
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Re: Serious separation anxiety / attachment issues

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Luckily our neighbours are Swiss , we all moved in together, well we were last in but within a few months of each other. They loved the fact that the old one barked if she heard something "odd" i.e. Might be a burglar. They all cried with us when she passed and were all so happy when we bought the new terrorist home.

I feel for you and hope that it gets better soon
I think the expats are more 'Swiss' than the Swiss in this area....

we will persevere
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