Separation Anxiety

July 24, 2015

well look at that.  i decide i don't feel like writing a blog post and suddenly it's been 2 weeks.  time flies.  not really; time has been taken up by working on the most awful work project (an appellate brief and corresponding indexes for my lawyer readers) and if i never have to look at it again it'll be too soon. but no, i don't have separation anxiety about leaving the blog on it's own for 2 weeks.  this post is about this munchkin:

hrh princess hawkeye has been having major separation anxiety issues.  she's not the worst case in the world, but she has all the signs - pouts when i leave, goes bonkers when i get home, doesn't eat her treats or food until i return, paces like crazy, barks like mad when someone else leaves.  so not all the signs (she doesn't escape or hurt herself) but a lot of them.

have you ever had a dog with separation anxiety?  how did you help them?

i've tried a lot of the things i found online (and i talked to my vet.  meds are an option but i don't want to go there yet.)  like:

- we go on at least 2 walks a day, sometimes 3 or a really long one at night.  she's ready to pass out when we get home, so i don't think it's lack of exercise or boredom.  we also learn tricks and play games.
- i give her things during the day, like kongs stuffed with treats or peanut butter, and other kinds of treats/food/toys, but she doesn't touch anything until i get home.
- i keep her in a smaller area (i know she does worse if she has the full apartment to wander around in.)
- i don't make a big deal out of leaving.  i also don't greet her when i get home until she calms down.
- i don't think a friend will help.  my roommate's cat is there, and she doesn't care.  she's also been left with my parents' dogs and with john's dog and she still has the same issues. 
- i have not tried leaving the tv on (i only have netflix and we all know that auto shuts off) or a radio.  i could try that next.

i know you have to work on it constantly, which i can do on the weekends.  like leave for short periods of time, work our way up.  but during the week, i do actually have to go to my job.  ya know, to pay her rent and keep her in tacos, so it's like we lose all the training we do over the weekends.  does she need to go to day care?

any thoughts?!


  1. Oof. Separation anxiety is not fun. Our dog was pretty bad when we first got him. I think we just got lucky, because he's settled down over time (having a regular schedule helped, and also not leaving him in a crate - evidently that was the biggest part of the problem). My suggestion was going to be not making a big deal about coming home, but you're already doing that, so I really don't know what else you could try. I hope you figure something out!

  2. Walter used to have separation anxiety when he was younger, but he has grown out of it. I didn't try anything to help him, either. He just stopped on his own. I have no suggestions. :( Hopefully you can find something that helps her.

  3. Barkley has horrible separation anxiety. At this point, he's 11 and I'm pretty sure it's not going to change. We've done all the same things as you, plus he's home with another dog. Nothing works. I just chalk it up to his personality.

    We did put him in daycare when he was an only child. I can't say that helped with the separation anxiety but it did help socialize him. So that's a benefit, just not the benefit you're looking for. Sorry I'm not more helpful.

  4. Awe, poor Hawkeye. Gracie has separation anxiety. She doesn't like when I leave her and often whines to the point it drives my husband crazy. When we got Mac, it got a little better for her but she still whines when I am not around...just not as bad. Perhaps be less awesome? So she wont miss you as much. LOL.

  5. Sheba has major separation anxiety too, it's tough to deal with! I try to throw treats around before I leave so it keeps her distracted when I sneak out the door. I do leave the TV on in one room and the radio on low in another. It definitely helps but nothing cures it completely.

  6. I'm with you on the meds, I won't resort to that unless all other options have been exhausted.
    I'd try putting on a radio, something soft on the ears. I literally cannot believe she leaves her kongs filled with PB - that's, like, unheard of.
    You sound like you're doing a lot of the right things. Has this only JUST begun or she's always had anxiety but it's just ramped up lately? Has there been anything unusual going on with her that you could pin point an event that's agitated her?
    Also, an idea, maybe leave a sweatshirt of yours down for her so she can smell you and have some comfort.
    The thing is, this shit takes time, persistence and consistency. I had to work Baxter for years to overcome his fear of people and every now and then I see him regress a bit because of jackass people that don't listen to me when I'm telling them how to pet him etc, which oft leaves me ignoring many people on walks.
    Keep on it my dear.. I hope it gets better. :)

  7. Poor Hawkeye (and you!). My friend got a dog walker for once a day and that helped her pup. Also, my vet suggested giving Charlie a specific "job", at the same time every day - so that he can learn that "When Mom comes home, I'll do my job and she'll be here with me after", or sort of learn a schedule. She suggested things like "he goes with you to get the mail", or "go to the same spot at the same time every day (maybe on your walk?)". Hope something helps!

  8. i'm sorry to hear you are dealing with this! i wish i had some advice or experience, but thankfully my cats couldn't give a rats ass about me leaving. lol. unless i go away for 2 weeks, but then they are just happy i'm home, they don't freak out. good luck!

  9. i can't say that I have but that sounds tough. you really walk a lot! that's awesome!

  10. my parents leave a specific window open for their dog, tons of treats that take a long while to eat or that are highly preferred, and have a specific blanket that the dog only gets to lay on at night (in my parents room) and then again when they leave in his area so that he associates the blank with comfort.

  11. I was actually wondering if my feed wasn't updating!! Appellate briefs + indecies... THE WORST!!! Poor Hawkeye! I suggest you let her write the brief next time. ;)

  12. Aww poor doggie. My parents' dogs get pretty bad separation anxiety too and I don't know what else could help that you haven't tried. I know my mom leaves the tv on for them, and I have the same issues as you with only having netflix at my place but maybe a radio would be something to try. And maybe leave a t-shirt or sweatshirt of yours in her bed or wherever she likes to sleep during the day.

  13. Heisman gets it really bad. We don't say bye to Heisman. Just leave, and don't make a big deal of us coming home. We leave the tv on throughout the day. We also try to put him in doggy day care if we know it's going to be tough. Last month we took him to my parents b/c our work schedule was hectic.

  14. nice to see you!

  15. Poor Hawkeye. That has to be tough. I think a daycare might be able to help with the training.

  16. Hawkeye is the cutest and that has to be tough to deal with. Hopefully it all gets figured out. Also - appellate brief - no fun. no fun at all. I know you get why I disappear from the blog sometimes lol


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