Help with new rescue dog's severe separation anxiety
August 24, 2014 10:30 AM Subscribe
We recently adopted an incredibly sweet dog from a local shelter-- Frances is a three year old dachshund/chihuahua mix. She's super mellow and calm when we're with her-- never barks or chews, perfectly housetrained, doesn't react to other dogs or people when on walks... basically perfect and incredibly lovable... EXCEPT... when left alone, she becomes a nightmare destructo-dog.
posted by bonheur to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's what we've been doing:
-Crate training: Training her to like the crate with lots of treats, toys, and meals in the crate. Closing her in the crate overnight at the foot of our bed (she does fine with this).
-Exercise and routine-- lots of walks, meals, and training sessions.
-Obedience classes-- we're enrolled and she's doing very well.
-Herbal calming serum recommended by the shelter, "composure," in her breakfast.
Here's what she's been doing:
When we leave her alone in her crate, she cries and yelps incessantly. She will chew anything she can reach, except a stuffed kong or appropriate chew toy, which she will ignore. She drools and pants to the point of extreme thirst.
We've reached out to the shelter as well as a dog behaviorist and our dog trainer, and we've been following their suggestions religiously.
Our trainer recommended trying to leave her unconfined. We did this today-- watched on a webcam, she seemed calm, we didn't hear any barking from outside the house. Returned thirty minutes later to a note from our neighbors stating that she had ripped through a screen and escaped onto a second story roof (a tiny, steeply pitched roof!) where she was freaking out until they rescued her with a ladder. Huh-- not the outcome we were hoping for!
We have a vet appointment Friday where I will ask about / ask for doggie xanax or something similar. Her panic attacks in the crate leave her literally bouncing off the walls, moving the crate, chewing on it, etc. to the point of self-injury.
I have taken her to doggie daycare, which she seemed to enjoy. It's expensive as an every day solution, though-- and we want to be able to leave the house for an hour or two on weekends and not return to extreme destruction.
We're not open to getting another dog at this point. We can't take her to work. We really need her to get comfortable being alone for medium stretches of time-- what can we do?