preventing separation anxiety

Posted by joshua-jackson
Mar 5, 2013
We have a 4 month old american bulldog that we have crate trained. My wife currently stays home while i go to work but she will start work in about a month. We leave the pup in her crate up to 3 hrs. a few times a week. She is comfy in there but soon we will have to leave her by herself longer and don't want her to freak out. Any suggestions on how to prevent separation anxiety? I had a dog in the past with severe sep. anxiety that i got from the shelter and want to avoid this at all risks.
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Mar 11, 2013
Hi Josh, It sounds as though you are already quite anxious about this situation, which of course is understandable if you have experienced a dog with separation anxiety in the past. Do you plan on leaving your dog inside her crate all day? That's not really something I would recommend. Is there another space inside your home or in a yard that she can spend her time? Wherever you leave her, please make sure that she has everything she needs including water, bedding, toys and a place to toilet. You could try leaving her for a few hours a day outside her crate to see what happens. Perhaps leave a stereo on to create the illusion of company. Don't make a fuss of her when you come home, so that your return doesn't become a big deal. Wait a few minutes, go and put down your bag and change your shoes...whatever your regular routine might be, then call her over and give her a nice pat without getting to excited.
I hope this helps!
Posted by Preethi KOP
Mar 31, 2013
Hello Joshua,

Congratulations on the new addition to you family! Separation anxiety is certainly something you don't want to have to deal with.

-I would recommend having a fenced in area outdoors, with some shelter of course, to leave her in while you are at work.
- Lots of water is a must and a chewy bone would be a bonus.
- The recommended "stereo/radio" trick to create the illusion she isn't alone should work well.
- If you feel this isn't working you can talk to your vet about getting her a D.A.P. collar (dog-appeasing pheromones,which is basically a feel-good hormone therapy) or maybe giving her anti-anxiety pills if you do end up with a problem.

Let us know how she is getting on!

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Mar 31, 2013
Hi Joshua,

I am sorry I didn't post this sooner but I hope you have already started this training, which is leaving her in a confined area with her crate with its door open for a few hours everyday so that she will get used to be left alone. You should increase the lengh of her being left gradually up to the hours your wife will be gone once she starts working.

I don't recommend leaving her outside, especially if you live in an area where it gets cold during the winter. Besides, your dog can bark seeking for attention and it might cause some complaints from your neighbors.

I don't like leaving my dogs (they are all adult dogs) no more than 5-6 hrs in a row so I come home during lunch to walk them when my husband is traveling. He usually works from home so our dogs can go in and out a couple of times during the day.

However, not very many people can do as we do so it can't be helped to leave your pup most of the day. If you can find someone you can trust, have the person walk your dog or play with her, or take her to a doggy day care a couple of times a week if your wife works regular 8 hrs. You will have to wait and make sure that your pup has got all the shots she needs though. If a pup is left unsupervised, without any interaction with other dogs or people, he/she will lose opportunities to become socialized, which will be a potential problem down the road.

I hope you or your wife can come home during lunch once a week or so especially when your pup is still young.

Above of all, you and your wife shouldn't feel nervous about the situation because that can be easily sensed by your pup and makes her feel more insecure.

Hope this will work.