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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16785
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
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I have a 4 yr old pom-chi with severe separation anxiety she

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I have a 4 yr old pom-chi with severe separation anxiety she had as episode last week and they had to put her on phenobaritol do you think a companion dog may help? I am disabled & usually home but have appointments that is impossible to take her with me. Also is there any training tips I can do to help her ?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.
Hi Jacustomer,.My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. .In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient. .Can you tell me what she does when left alone?Have you ever reassured her when she was behaving badly?Is it only when she is left alone or when you are away from her?What training have you tried with her?Have you crated her or does she have the whole house to roam in?Besides the phenobarbitol, has anything else been tried?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

When left alone she hi owels Alot,I do coddle her when I first firm then after about an hour she starts this repetitive actions with her feet, bobbing her head & clawing at me 'respectively at times she is not aware of anything but me. I try to reassure her but after while I just have to act like I am ignoring it. I gave her benedryl it helped at first but her last one was over 12 hrs so I took her in and they had never seen quite that type of seizure she is also ona herbal med as well she h has run of the house but never destroys things or potties in the house

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

I have only had her six months , her original owner's mot reachable to find out any medical back ground either. We have bonded very closly but I am afrsid she thinks I may abandon her as Chastity did. Could thst be possible ?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.
Kelly,.Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. Let me address the separation anxiety issue first. .

There are a few things that we try when dogs are experiencing separation anxiety. One thing is that you should never reassure a dog or show them attention when they are exhibiting unwanted behavior. When you show them attention even if it is saying that everything is ok, it actually encourages the behavior rather than stops it.

First thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your girl out. If your disability makes that impossible, then having her retrieve a ball or other object to give her exercise for a little while before leaving will help.

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Second is to use a low-key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If you normally pick up your keys and a jacket before leaving, then start picking these items up but not leaving. Or leave sometimes without having them in your hand. This will make it so she is never sure you are leaving or not. It stops her from anticipating your absence.

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You shouldn't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find she’s howled the whole time. When you do, you increase her stress level rather than reduce it. Try providing her with a kong toy with a treat compartment. Fill it with peanut butter or yogurt and freeze it for a few hours. Give it to her before you leave. If her mouth is busy she can't howl.

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Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show her nice calm praise when she is being calm.

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I'm also going to suggest that you work with her on obedience training. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

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Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

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Obedience training will give her some structure and she will be happier in the long run. I would also keep her on the floor and not on your lap. Dogs that are allowed on people often think that they are the boss rather than the human. Obedience training, the NILF program and keeping her off your lap or at least making her do something for the privilege of being on the furniture will help her see you as the boss and she should be a little easier to control. It might not cure the separation anxiety, but will help you have a dog that is more adjusted than she is here.

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Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromones similar to the ones that a mother dog produces to calm her puppies. It works to calm a dog. Studies have shown that DAP collars are effective for anxiety disorders such as separation anxiety, noise phobias, etc. Since it is not a medication, it can be used with medications. . See one here:
vetmedicine.about.com/od/behaviortraining/gr/DAP-Dog-Collar.htm

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What you can do is practice leaving her alone. You will be leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding her with a hot dog treat (paper thin) if she did not carry one. This teaches her that you leave but come back quickly. Once she seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time she must be quiet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 minutes another, so she never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. this also keeps her off guard and not able to anticipate how long you will be gone and helps her stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward her when she is good.

.

These should help her separation anxiety and her howling but you will need to be consistent in your interaction with her. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety as well.

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/overcoming-separation-anxiety.aspx

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There are many other methods available such as citronella spray collar, shock bark collars (I personally am against shock collars) that will stop excessive barking and should work for howling since it vibrates the throat. You would want to check with your vet to ensure he feels it wouldn't interfere with the seizure part of the issue. .

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Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site but I'm sure your vet went over medications with you. :

http://www.cpvh.com/2011/08/08/separation-anxiety/

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Now the other behavior you mentioned sounds like seizure activity. That can be caused by many different things and your vet will likely want to run some tests to rule out causes such as organ dysfunction. You can read about seizures and treat met methods as well as causes on the following site.

http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/site_map.htm

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I would follow your vet's recommendations for the medications, use the dap collar and start training and using the techniques I suggested. It isn't going to be a quick fix, but you should see some improvement over a few weeks. Once she gets the idea of what you want, things should move much faster. The medication may help as well.

.

I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16785
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
Jane Lefler and 3 other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.
Hi Kelly,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler
Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for your information on Bella. As he is doing well since she is on her meds as far as the seizures and now. Is only crying or yipping when I return not when I'm gone just when she hears my voice or sees me. Thank you for your advice.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 7 months ago.
Kelly,.I'm glad things are going so much better for Bella and the medication seems to be working for her. Thanks for letting me know.

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