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Schnauzer Devotee

Rescue Girl And Separation Anxiety

23 posts in this topic

Hi - Bridie is 3yrs old and is our third Mini Schnauzer with our last girl Molly passing away last year aged 14…

Bridie is a rescue dog and we have inherited her barking issues.

She is a perfect wonderful example of the breed and we have her in training to iron out her issues and she is doing really well…..however…..

As soon as we leave her she displays typical separation anxiety behaviours and barks incessantly until we return.

Regrettably if we are not home we cannot correct this behaviour and indeed the barking is the reason she was surrendered in the first place.

Our strategy thus far is to exercise her prior to our departure to wear her out….provide her with bones and toys to curb her boredom…..she has access to the house via a doggie door and the TV or radio is left on to provide company….she also has full access to a large back yard……my latest ploy is that I have fitted an Adaptil collar to see if this affects her anxiety any…it is only day 2 I am praying it helps..

I only work part time so she is not as alone as some dogs during the week and we are home bodies on the weekends.

We are bringing a Mini Schnauzer pup into the mix in late Dec with the hope that company may settle her and make her feel less detached from the pack…noting the very worst thing a dog can experience it being away from the pack and its leader..in this case..that is me….

We adore the breed and its idiosyncrasies….but we are very concerned for her well being and state of mind and that of the neighbours who informed us that she barked for 5 solid hours whilst we were out for the evening !

Does anyone have any other ideas…next step is a corrective collar which is my least preferred option..but the thought of moving her on because of the barking is too much to bear….

Of note is the fact that her previous owner NEVER allowed her indoors EVER….so up until we got her in Sep she had NEVER been inside with the family..so understandably she is fearful and anxious…poor Bridie :-(

I would be very grateful for some constructive input….

Thank you

Edited by Schnauzer Devotee

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megan_   

PM sas - Great Dane rescue have a great free program . Personally I would never put a corrective collar on an anxious dog - it isn't going to address her anxiety and may well make it worse.

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PM sas - Great Dane rescue have a great free program . Personally I would never put a corrective collar on an anxious dog - it isn't going to address her anxiety and may well make it worse.

Yes - I agree - only deals with the symptoms not the cause…..

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Ranga   

I'm no expert, but would crate training help her? Maybe she has too much freedom and if she knew she had a 'bolt hole' or safe den she may be quieter and happier?

Good luck and good on you for taking her on :)

Edited by Ranga

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I'm no expert, but would crate training help her? Maybe she has too much freedom and if she knew she had a 'bolt hole' or safe den she may be quieter and happier?

Good luck and good on you for taking her on :)

Thank you and yes, crate training may be another option….in order to minimise her angst whilst being away from us…we actually do isolate her whilst we are home so she does not become too dependent…but I think that ship has sailed.

We will persevere as she is perfect in every other way and we knew she had this issue when we took her on.

Thanks again...

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BC Crazy   

I have found the Adaptil spray to be far more effective than the collars. i just spray it on my girls bed every night & it does seem to take the edge off a little.

I wouldn't use a corrective collar on an anxious dog myself. IMHO it will only make them more anxious.

I too use the radio on softly. Plently of toys etc A Kong filled with something yummy.

Crate training is another great idea. You can cover the crate over with a sheet or something to make it more cosy. Found that becomes there favourite haven once they are used to them.

Good luck SD :) Fearful & anxious dogs are so complex. My girl has a tonne of issues. I have found it is trail & error. What works for one might not work for another. I threw out the 'dog manuals' long ago. There is nothing text book about her :laugh:

Edited by BC Crazy

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I have found the Adaptil spray to be far more effective than the collars. i just spray it on my girls bed every night & it does seem to take the edge off a little.

I wouldn't use a corrective collar on an anxious dog myself. IMHO it will only make them more anxious.

I too use the radio on softly. Plently of toys etc A Kong filled with something yummy.

Crate training is another great idea. You can cover the crate over with a sheet or something to make it more cosy. Found that becomes there favourite haven once they are used to them.

Good luck SD :) Fearful & anxious dogs are so complex. My girl has a tonne of issues. I have found it is trail & error. What works for one might not work for another. I threw out the 'dog manuals' long ago. There is nothing text book about her :laugh:

You are so right…my other two did not have any issues I could not deal with….but gorgeous Bridie is a 'beautiful disaster' when it comes to being away from her leader….

Onward and upward….

Thanks again :)

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Many dogs we get surrendered are the same. I have used the Great Dane Rescue program with great success with my own rescue girl - she had Pica/shocking anxiety - she ate fabric/cushions/toys etc. I used the program plus did obedience training in conjunction with Clomicalm on the advice of my vets - her Pica was so bad that we thought she would end up killing herself from an obstruction. We weaned her off the Clomicalm after about 3 months. My dog does have two other minis and I would not rely on this to resolve your dogs issue. It seems you are doing all the right things - access to the house, radio etc. I would incorporate training into your walks - a thinking dog is a more mentally tired dog. I presume you are using puzzle toys/food kong as well? You can also use the DAP diffuser in the house when you are out. A crate may make her feel more secure.

I would not isolate her when you are there - this could cause her more stress. I would teach her to go to a "safe place" like a basket/crate with a command. Then teach her to stay there and reward her - I would have the basket/crate somewhere where she can see you/the family but not feel isolated.

My dog is now so much calmer, she hasn't eaten any fabric in over 12 months and I can leave the house and she won't even get off the couch. It is hard work, but the reward is immense once you get there. Feel free to pm me if you need help.

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hankdog   

Definitely the Great Dane rescue program, a crate or in jakes case he has a giant beanbag that he sort of disappears into. For Jake, also a beautiful disaster, prozac which he was given for his DA issues has a marked effect on his sep Anx.

Edited by hankdog

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Many dogs we get surrendered are the same. I have used the Great Dane Rescue program with great success with my own rescue girl - she had Pica/shocking anxiety - she ate fabric/cushions/toys etc. I used the program plus did obedience training in conjunction with Clomicalm on the advice of my vets - her Pica was so bad that we thought she would end up killing herself from an obstruction. We weaned her off the Clomicalm after about 3 months. My dog does have two other minis and I would not rely on this to resolve your dogs issue. It seems you are doing all the right things - access to the house, radio etc. I would incorporate training into your walks - a thinking dog is a more mentally tired dog. I presume you are using puzzle toys/food kong as well? You can also use the DAP diffuser in the house when you are out. A crate may make her feel more secure.

I would not isolate her when you are there - this could cause her more stress. I would teach her to go to a "safe place" like a basket/crate with a command. Then teach her to stay there and reward her - I would have the basket/crate somewhere where she can see you/the family but not feel isolated.

My dog is now so much calmer, she hasn't eaten any fabric in over 12 months and I can leave the house and she won't even get off the couch. It is hard work, but the reward is immense once you get there. Feel free to pm me if you need help.

Thank you - bringing the other pup into the mix is not so much a tool to alleviate her anxiety..rather, we are a two dog family and having the pup was always in our plan..

Agree with the training aspect whilst walking..routinely ask her to sit calmly whilst waiting for traffic and safe passage across the road. But once more trust is established and in a safe place I will be pushing for her to stay and come on command which she will do in a controlled space, like the back yard.

Thank you again and I may well PM you - I have an appointment with a Behaviour Vet on Tuesday….

Cheers

Denise

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BC Crazy   

Thunder shirt is another big winner for us as are ear muffs if your girl is noise phobic. Stella comes running to get her muffs on.She loves them :)

Edited by BC Crazy

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Thunder shirt is another big winner for us as are ear muffs if your girl is noise phobic. Stella comes running to get her muffs on.She loves them :)

Thunder shirts work well too - issue is that I would never leave a coat on a dog when I wasn't there and they are a very thick fabric, so too hot for summer.

Edited by schnauzer

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Thunder shirt is another big winner for us as are ear muffs if your girl is noise phobic. Stella comes running to get her muffs on.She loves them :)

Yes I have used then but our last girl Molly did not respond well to a Thundershirt…she was terrified of fireworks/storms etc and this got worse as she became elderly.

We tried the Thundershirt but it did not work well….and I felt that the issue of overheating was a problem…we live in Vic and Melbourne summers can be brutal and invariably at that time of year is when there is a spike in fireworks activity ….although it is illegal !!!!!

Thanks again :)

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mita   

We had a sheltie with separation anxiety. She tore the cushions on the sunroom chair to pieces when we went out. University of Qld vet bahaviourist gave us steps to follow which, to my amazement, made a huge difference in only weeks. What we had to do, wasn't all that complicated, we just had to do it consistently.

So when we later got a tibbie who used to bark when we went out, I applied them again... & she came good. If you wanted the steps, I'd type them out.

Meds were not used with the sheltie. But temporary use of valium was recommended for the tibbie, alongside the behavioral steps. Valium is actually a muscle relaxant, which helps hose down anxiety. But it doesn't act as sedation, so the dog's brain is available for the relearning in the behaviour modification program.

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mita   

We had a sheltie with separation anxiety. She tore the cushions on the sunroom chair to pieces when we went out. University of Qld vet bahaviourist gave us steps to follow which, to my amazement, made a huge difference in only weeks. What we had to do, wasn't all that complicated, we just had to do it consistently.

So when we later got a tibbie who used to bark when we went out, I applied them again... & she came good. If you wanted the steps, I'd type them out.

Meds were not used with the sheltie. But temporary use of valium was recommended for the tibbie, alongside the behavioral steps. Valium is actually a muscle relaxant, which helps hose down anxiety. But it doesn't act as sedation, so the dog's brain is available for the relearning in the behaviour modification program.

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mita   

We had a sheltie with separation anxiety. She consistently tore soft furnishings to pieces when we went out. University of Qld vet bahaviourist gave us steps to follow which, to my amazement, made a huge difference in only weeks. What we had to do, wasn't all that complicated, we just had to do it consistently.

So when we later got a tibbie who used to bark when we went out, I applied them again... & she came good. If you wanted the steps, I'd type them out.

Meds were not used with the sheltie. But temporary use of valium was recommended, by the behaviorist vet, for the tibbie, alongside the behavioral steps. Valium is actually a muscle relaxant, which helps hose down anxiety. But it doesn't act as sedation, so the dog's brain is available for the relearning in the behaviour modification program.

Edited by mita

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We had a sheltie with separation anxiety. She consistently tore soft furnishings to pieces when we went out. University of Qld vet bahaviourist gave us steps to follow which, to my amazement, made a huge difference in only weeks. What we had to do, wasn't all that complicated, we just had to do it consistently.

So when we later got a tibbie who used to bark when we went out, I applied them again... & she came good. If you wanted the steps, I'd type them out.

Meds were not used with the sheltie. But temporary use of valium was recommended, by the behaviorist vet, for the tibbie, alongside the behavioral steps. Valium is actually a muscle relaxant, which helps hose down anxiety. But it doesn't act as sedation, so the dog's brain is available for the relearning in the behaviour modification program.

Would love that - thank you…..would you be willing to send the steps to my email address ? ….. [email protected]

I would be most grateful…..

Thank you

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mita   

We had a sheltie with separation anxiety. She consistently tore soft furnishings to pieces when we went out. University of Qld vet bahaviourist gave us steps to follow which, to my amazement, made a huge difference in only weeks. What we had to do, wasn't all that complicated, we just had to do it consistently.

So when we later got a tibbie who used to bark when we went out, I applied them again... & she came good. If you wanted the steps, I'd type them out.

Would love that - thank you…..would you be willing to send the steps to my email address ? ….. [email protected]

I would be most grateful…..

Thank you

No worries, Denise. I note you said that you have an appointment with the behaviour vet on Tuesday. I suggest that you do that first because a face-to-face assessment with the UQ behaviour vet, was our first step, too. There may be different aspects about individual dogs which need to be taken into consideration. I agree with HW about the need for an expert eye on a particular case.

I'll still type out the steps we were given ... & will send it to you. But with the understanding they were based on an assessment of our dogs & their circumstances. So feel free, when working with your behaviorist vet, to accept or reject any bits or all.

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