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Discussion Starter #1
This has been a problem for a long time but I've been at a loss as to how to stop it.

For those of you that dont know - Benji is a 17 year old Bearded Collie cross. He is my dog but lives with my mother and her elderly cat Felix. He is a lovely gentle old hound - but will howl his little head off from the moment Mum walks out of the door until she returns home. He hates being alone. He never used to act this way - its only as he has got older. Apparently separation anxiety can develop as a dog gets older.

Apart from the rather obvious irritation to the neighbours, Benji gets himself worked up to a little frenzy and is absolutely exhausted by the time Mum gets home which isnt doing him any good at all.

I was considering getting something like this

http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/dogs/dog_ ... lars/13678

But it seems a little too much like punishment to me, which doesnt seem fair.

Any suggestions much appreciated.
 

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Allie that collar may stop his barking but it won't stop his anxiety and he may turn to more destructive behavior. There are several ways dogs will express themselves with separation anxiety, barking, digging, chewing, and even going to the bathroom in the house.

Have there been any sudden changes in his environment lately?

One thing you can do is consult a vet, not only to ensure that Benji does have separation anxiety but to see if he has some advice on what might help such as Rescue Remedy – it helps to calm. It’s a herbal and comes in liquid form.

Try giving him some extra exercise. Be it a walk, or a good game of ball, a tired dog is a less anxious dog.

Does your mom or anyone in the house make a big deal out of coming home or leaving the home? If so you need to make sure that when someone leaves the home/comes in that they keep it unexciting.

You can also go through the method of leaving the house for longer and longer periods of time, but you have to start out small and get bigger. Do it several times a day, slowly increasing the time your out of the house but only if he adjusts to one length of time do you go on to make it longer. This method has worked the best in dogs I have seen or heard of with separation anxiety.

Drifter has mild separation anxiety and he’s had it from day one when we got him. I found that if I left the radio or TV on it really helped him might be worth a shot with Benji.
 

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I'm also considering this but there is another collar you can look into. I don't have a link for it but it's a collar that when the dog barks it emits a high frequency pitch. This way nothing is directly sprayed into the dogs face.
 

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MelissaC said:
I'm also considering this but there is another collar you can look into. I don't have a link for it but it's a collar that when the dog barks it emits a high frequency pitch. This way nothing is directly sprayed into the dogs face.
Things like spray collars or correction collars of any kind, even crate training and obedience are directed at the problem behaviour and fail to aid in the actually anxiety.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the suggestions so far. I appreciate them.

Theres been no change in his environment. He has lived where he is all his life and nothing ,much has changed (other than me leaving home years ago). I think its his age. He has always been a anxious dog but this seems to have gotten worse as he has got older.

Benji also has severe arthritis so other than a little toddle in the garden and a 15 minute walk, he doesnt really want much exercise. He is a very sleepy old hound and will happily snooze the day away if he knows you are home.

Mum does leave the TV on and has done for a while but its not made any difference. He even howled when Holly (his long time canine companion) was with him and Mum was out.

I'll have a look at the rescue remedy idea but I have to say I'm not convinced by holistic stuff like that. And talk to my Mum about leaving him for longer and longer periods of time on his own.
 

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I would also suggest a vet visit. If this is a relatively new behavior there might be a medical cause behind it, especially at his age.

Poor old thing. Has your Mum tried anything like leaving the television on when she goes?
 

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We must have posted the same time Allie about the tv. :lol:

The vet may be able to give him something like a mild anti anxiety med to help him not be so anxious.
 

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Leazie said:
I would also suggest a vet visit. If this is a relatively new behavior there might be a medical cause behind it, especially at his age.

Poor old thing. Has your Mum tried anything like leaving the television on when she goes?
Sadly its been going on for quite some time. But perhaps the vet has some suggestions. :D
 

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Hi Melysion,

I would highly recommend giving CrossGates call.

http://www.crossgatesfarm.co.uk/animal- ... dogs.xhtml

They can come up with something specific for Benji and his current circumstances. I know the whole "homeopathic" approach can seem a bit... well you know... but I have many, many friends who swear by CGs for all kinds of animal ailments (mainly horses, but I know a few who also give CG remedies to their dogs).

CGs have a fantastic reputation on another forum I visit for being extremely helpful on the phone, but will not pressure you into buying anything either, if you just want to call for information.

Good luck with Benji...
 

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Look for a DAP diffuser. It is very similar to the feliway diffusers for cats. It is made by the same company. Does he play with toys at all yet? I know some dogs that have separation anxiety will enjoy and kong filled with various treats like peanut butter, treats or even filled with yogurt and frozen like a doggy popsicle. Sometimes its enough to distract.

At his age I would maybe ask the vet about doggy dimensia or have his vision checked. He may be confused and "forgot" that she left. One minute in his mind she is there then she disappeared. Maybe he is confused and feels less secure when your mom isn't home to keep him comfy. Does he use a crate? Some dogs it will work as a den or secure place and others it can make SA worse so you would have to see how he reacts to it. Have your mom sleep wearing an old t-shirt for several nights and then put it in his bed so that he has her smell for comfort.

How does she react when she leaves and comes back. Does she greet him excitedly or make a big deal out of leaving? Those are big NO-NO's. She shouldn't look at him or interact with him for 10-15mins before and after each. Also does she sleep with him and generally have him with her 24-7? Is she does she can gradually work on him sleeping in his own bed and having some alone time while she is home leaving him for short 2-5 min periods and working on longer stretches of time. Here are a few sites I found that have a few of the ideas I mentioned and others. SA can be tough to deal with at times. I hope you have success.

http://www.vin.com/VINDBPub/SearchPB/Proceedings/PR05000/PR00314.htm

http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/dog_behavior_tip_sheets/separation_anxiety.html
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I didn't know what a dog crate was so looked it up. :lol: Benji has been spoiled and pampered all his life. He has never had to sit in a kennel outside and I certainly wouldnt put him in a crate! :lol: My goodness, he would be horrified to find himself in one of those.

Benjis days of playing with toys are long gone - he used to like playing 'catch the frisbie' and 'chase me around the garden while I have a stick in my mouth' when he was younger. But he is way too old for that sort of thing now ;)

I know he is pretty deaf but perhaps his eyesight is going as well. He definately still has his facilities though - he knows how to wrap my mother around his paw - especially in terms of convincing her to give him yet another chicken slice (processed chicken slices - otherwise known as 'dog chicken' in our family - its the only treat Benji can manage as he has hardly any teeth left). He has always been a smart dog.

He does sleep in the same room as Mum but not in her bed. He has his own bed (he loves his own bed). Mum is pretty much retired and is at home at lot but obviously goes out for shopping and social engagements.

I'll have a look at the DAP diffusser -and thanks for the websites. This has been going on for quite some time though so could be a very difficult habit to break (you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks ... )

Photo of me and my boy

 

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Awww...what a sweetheart. He is very cute.

Crates really aren't that bad. My Kipper(greyhound) loved his crate. It was next to my bed and the door was always open unless we were leaving. He was destructive when we left. He would chew the ends of tables and rip apart his blankets. It was his quiet spot like a den. He would go in voluntarally and would always sleep there. We never put him outside in his crate. Here is a picture of one..I'm not sure what kind you found. Ours was all wire.

I'm not saying crating is for all dogs or people but for some it is an effective tool.

Here is a pic of my Kipper sitting in a SA mess. He felt very insecure out of his crate when we weren't home. Its been a year since he went to the bridge. If we get another dog(time isn't right yet) I would like to adopt another greyhound but a pup.
 

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He looks like an absolute sweetheart. :)

I agree that a vet might be able to help.

Your mum might be trying this already, but it could help if she could try to ignore him for the first few minutes that she's home. I know it sounds awful, but that way he doesn't get rewarded for being anxious, you know?
 

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Thanks for the tips guys. I'll investigate and give up a update later ;)
 
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