Help,

gumpatrump

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My great dane is getting worse with her separation issues and I have run out of ideas!

At first she was fine and I could leave her home alone for a few hours easily or with a friend and she would be happy. Then I couldn't leave her without her howling the house down! I tried all the normal training methods to try and make her happier on her own and she started to get to about 15 mins I could leave her without the howling! But, now it is the worse it has ever been, nothing works and even when I leave her with a friend she just whines and howls until I get back, even with other dogs to play with.

Im at my wits end about what to do? I can't even go to the local shop and back without trying to keep the dog happy, let alone have a life! Does anyone have any ideas? My OH keeps saying perhaps a couple weeks break from us might help her but I think it will make her more clingy when we get her back!

Any help and advice much appreciated, thanks!
 

Lucy_Nottingham

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Is she crate trained? If so then have you done the normal put her in a crate at some point during the day (like a meal time) and just leave her in it to eat for a few minutes then return, and if she has been quiet etc she gets a fuss.......

as time goes on she gets left for longer and longer and each time she is quiet she gets lots of fuss/fave toy/treat etc for being so good.....

I know you said you ahve tried all the techniques btu this is the only way I have heard of to try to deal with separation anxiety......

Does she have lots of toys etc that she really REALLY likes? if she is getting really bad, maybe buying a phermone diffuser to plug in in the room she is left in might help to calm her down?!

If nothing else helps maybe OH's suggestion isnt too bad.
 

Spudlet

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I would second all the advice above. My very helpful Dogs Trust book on settling a rescue dog also suggests trying mock departures, putting on your coat and rattling keys then returning after a short interval. It says this should prevent the dog from developing negative associations with the sight of your departure and getting worked up in anticipation of being separated from you.

It also suggests teaching basic exercises or fun tricks to build self-esteem as it says that this anxiety is the result of a dogs loss of confidence, so all opportunities should be taken to praise the dog and build him (or her in this case!) up by rewarding her for good behaviour.

It says to be calm and matter of fact when leaving and returning so the dog will not see coming and going as such a big deal.

Hope this helps.
 

brightmount

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I would agree with hanandhen about doing mock departures, beginning with maybe just one minute or less. Also I have always used a distraction tactic when I leave which never fails to work, even though you would think my dogs would be wise to it by now (I have 2 dogs now but used to have just one).

The trick I use is to buy terrier meal which comes bagged up from pet shops, it's like crushed biscuit, and I scatter a handfull of it across the floor for my dogs to hoover up as I go out the door.

Maybe you could try this with the mock departures, beginning by returning before you think she will have hoovered up the biscuits, then leaving it a little longer so she has finished, and increasing the time so she settles down. Don't make a lot of fuss when you go back, the dog will think leaving must have been a big deal if you demonstrate any kind of reaction.

Dogs that leave their treats and then eat them on your return have bad anxiety issues. If this is the case it would be worth consulting a dog behaviourist.
 

Louby

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We had the same trouble with our Lurcher. We tried all the suggested going out, coming in, leaving for a minute and building it up, ignoring, crate etc etc. I was getting to the end of my tether.
I dont know how old your dog is but my dog has just turned one and touching wood (again and again) it sorta all came together. We havent left him more than 3 hrs but he now seems fine. We leave the TV on low, shut the blinds and windows even in the day say 'see you later' but no fuss, give him a kong with spread cheese in it and go. We are that sad we tape him as our neighbours said he was really bad.
Against what most will say but our turning point was when he was ill for a couple of days and we left his crate open and then didnt lock it again. He still uses it for his bed though but the door is open.
It felt like we had no life at all for 12 months so I do understand and I really hope you manage to sort it.
 

CAYLA

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The most important factors in dealing with seperation and buliding up a routine, is to practice the same routine when u are in the house as you would when out of the house, i.e a smaller confined area or crate to establish a safe leaving space that will create a feeling of security rather than the run of the whole house, for the dog to pace and stress.

You will need to place the dog in the designated area at times when u are in the house, i.e doing house work, watching the ele, bed time e,t,c, this way the dog does not assosiate being left in the designated area with u leaving, feed all meals in the designated area, long lasting treats, kongs, large uncooked bone, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, tire the dog out b4 it's placed in there, do not plan to leave her for a few hours without burning some energy of her, as her unburnt energy will turn to anxiety, also try a DAP diffuser to plug in near by and leave the radio on, so she cannot hear u leave and enter.
When you return home, make NO fuss, just release here to the garden, no stroking or making the whole scenario exciting, as she will anticipate your return for a huge fuss.
 
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