Does she have a chance to overcome separation anxiety

Posted by merryblueeyes
Jun 18, 2011
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I have a little three year old Maltese, Hope, that I rescued 7 months ago. She was initially rescued by Animal Control from a dreadful puppy mill. When I first got her, she was afraid of people, grass, the sky...She has transformed into an affectionate loving dog, obedient and even has passed all of tests to be a certified therapy dog. She also assists me in picking items up since I have some bending limitations.
However, she still barks incessantly when I have to leave her at home. She is not destructive, no chewing or digging. Initially she was so frightened that she would bleed from the rectum and have uncontrolled diareaha. Now it is just barking and drooling. Left in the car she will eventually sit down and be quiet. She is very seldom left at home since I am retired and my neighbor is very impatient.
With this background, does Hope have a chance of overcoming separation anxiety. She has a lot against her being Maltese, and having been neglected and abandoned. Still, she has come sooo far.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 19, 2011
Hi merryblueeyes,

What a dreadful beginning for your pup! I'm so glad she's already showing progress and has found a loving home with you! Congradulations and thank you!

Seperation anxiety can be a handful, and stressful obviously for both the dog and owner, but there are a few things you can try to overcome it.

Is she crate trained at home? Sometimes a crate that is "her space" can help a dog feel much more secure and happy when they are alone. You could try getting one for her and training her to go in it both when you are home and when you are not, so that she percieves it as a good place to be.

When you leave her, try leaving something you've worn recently that smells strongly of you. This often helps anxious animals, providing them both something to snuggle and something they will associate with you. You can also try leaving a radio or television set on at home when you leave so that there is noise, voices especially to keep your dogs attention and not leave her in silence.

You can also talk to your vet about a DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) spray or plug in for home, which you could start using a little bit before you leave the house to help calm her down. I've heard some dogs respond really well to DAP and it calms them immensely. Likewise, there are anti-anxiety medications you could try and work to wean off until she doesn't need them anymore. Sometimes this is the only way to really control a stressful situation so I would definitely speak to your vet about their opinion and the choices you have.

Lastly, try desensitizing her to the routine of you leaving. Break it down into steps (getting your coat on, picking up the keys, walking to the front door, opening the door, walking out, locking up, and actually leaving - for example) and perform the starting steps at random during the day. This will help her realize its not such a huge deal when you get your keys, and will hopefully train her not to respond to these stimuli. She will still be left alone, but it can help prevent her working up so much, and in combination with the other suggestions it might really help.

I hope these help you, and make sense. I know a few people who have overcome seperation anxiety, so I"m sure you can. Im glad youre being so patient with her, its obvious where her anxiety comes from, but I have no doubt she'll learn to cope and have no issues! Keep us updated please!
Posted by LuvmyPitbull
Jul 15, 2011
My baby girl had/has seperation anxiety very bad...she'll chew the walls and herself to the point of bleeding. What helps my baby is crate training! I put her in her crate before I leave, give her several toys and even a shirt that I wore to bed the night before. Also changing up my behavior pattern before leaving helped her to realize it's not such a big deal if I walk out the door or pick up my keys...becuase I will [U]always[/U] come back. I don't leave the tv or radio on becuase that just makes her cry...she thinks people are there and she's locked up so she can't play/see them. I do, however, have a lamp that I leave on becuase it makes a bubbling sound with little fake fishes swimming gives her something to focus on during the day.

Your baby will get better, it will just take time and lots of love. Good luck and keep us posted!