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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19766
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I have a German Wirehair Pointer who has the worst

Customer Question

I have a German Wirehair Pointer who has the worst separation anxiety I have ever seen. If I try and crate him, he poops all over the crate and howls for the entire time I am gone. I have gone out to do errands and locked him in my truck and he destroys anything that is in there. How can I help him??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

If you don't crate him, what does he do when you are out?

Do you have a fenced yard?

If you take a shower how does he act?

I see you have tried taking him with you, but what else have you tried?

How old is he exactly?

How long are his walks?

Do you ever crate him when you are home?

Is he otherwise house trained?

Are you home most of the time or is this a new issue?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is in my living room and dining room area. His pillow is in that room where he sleeps.
I do have a fenced in yard. Very small yard in Denver.
When I am in my shower he opens the door and sleeps on the floor mat.
I try and run him as often as I can in order to calm him down. I try to make sure he knows that he is loved and is paid attention to.
Radley is 9 months old
I walk him for 30 minutes first thing in the am. My wife takes him to the park at noon for at least an hour. We then walk him for at least 30 minutes each night. We try and run him in the park at night as well when we can.
I do not crate him at all anymore.
He does all his bathroom requirements outside. He loves to play with his toys inside and he is very loving.
He has been acting like this since we got him at 2 months old.Hopefully that helps
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

So is he destroying the home or eliminating inside when left during the day?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No accidents in the house because we are not leaving him alone anymore.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He was going to doggie daycare until last month. He is not fixed and after 7 months they said he has to be fixed before he comes back
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for that information. You still didn't let me know if he was destroying things inside when left alone in the house. You could go ahead and get him neutered and keep sending him to daycare as one solution. However, there are other ways of helping with separation anxiety.

The 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 boy out. Don't just let him walk casually to eliminate. Make it a quick fast walk allowing him time to casually look around about halfway through.

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 your house is like mine in the morning everyone is running around getting ready to leave. This has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly he is alone. If this is the case, put him away from everyone, say in a bathroom until the frenzy is over.

You can provide him with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats. Kongs are a good choice and you can fill them with peanut butter or yogurt and freeze it. The give it to him when you leave. If his mouth is busy, it helps keep him from destroying things.

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 him nice calm praise when he is being calm. The best way is to crate him. I know he is eliminating in the crate, but if it saves the home from destruction and prevents injury and protects him as well. Another thing that might help is a DAP collar. These use a pheromone to calm a dog. See one here:

vetmedicine.about.com/od/behaviortraining/gr/DAP-Dog-Collar.htm

Practice putting him in the crate, leaving the house, opening the door immediately and rewarding him with a hot dog treat if he did not scratch, bite and carry one or eliminate This teaches him that you leave but come back quickly. Once he seems to not do anything when you initially leave, lengthen the time he must be quet for you to come back in. Change the time as well. Make it 2 minutes one time and 10 mintues another, so he never knows if you are gone for an hour or gone for 2 minutes. It helps him stay calm for longer periods of time, just be sure you reward him when he is good.

Another thing that helps is to do things that might make the dog feel you are leaving and then don't such as putting on your coat or picking up your keys. Or leave without doing those things. This helps remove things that might trigger the dog to become anxious.

These should help his separation anxiety and boredom and help curb his barking. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your family’s part to be consistent in your interaction with him. Here is a site that also offers idea to combat separation anxiety.

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

Another option is medication, which is discussed on this site:

http://www.fidosavvy.com/dog-separation-anxiety-medication.html

You might consider a diaper as well if he'll keep it on or putting him in the yard when you leave as long as he isn't able to escape the house. Many dogs actually enjoy being outside when their owners leave for the day. Try the dap collar along with my suggestions and see how he does.

I hope this information is helpful to you. 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 . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi Rich,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler