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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I picked up a second beagle from a friend who couldn't keep him anymore. That makes two pups. My first pup had separation anxiety for the first 3 weeks. Then after that, she learned that I was coming back, etc..

Now this new pup, he was fairly mistreated, locked up in a huge wire crate in the basement, they gave him to me with dried poop stuck to his crate floor...

My problem is that he has a severe case of separation anxiety. At first, he'd whimper and bark when I left his sight. Now, he barks non-stop when I leave the house. I've tried just about every method I can think of to ease his separation anxiety, but no improvements.

What I did with my first pup, Luna, was to leave the bedroom with her crated and quiet, I came back right away while she was still quiet. Gave her a treat, and repeated while extending the time I was away. If she started going crazy, I'd wait until she settled down to return.

I tried this with Sylar for a month, repeating everyday, 3 times a day. The second he hears me open the outside door, he barks. I've tried going close to the door, then returning and treating...still no improvement.

During this time, I also tried giving a safety cue that I'm returning. I leave my music on for them when I leave, same playlist. When I leave, I don't make a big deal of it, I just leave; when I return, I ignore him for a few minutes or until he settles down.

I think that's all I've tried. Any suggestions?
 

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As some of you may know, I co-manage a beagle group on MSN - we have quite a bit of training information on the group - and I found this on Separation Anxiety. I hope it's helpful for you.

Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit extreme behavior problems when they are left alone. The most common behaviors are destruction of property (sometimes injuring themselves in the process), especially around doors or windows, howling and barking, and urination and defecation from distress. The destruction and house soiling is not an attempt to seek revenge on the owner for leaving, but is actually a panic response.

Separation anxiety sometimes happens when

A dog has never or rarely been left alone.
Following a long interval, such as a vacation, when dog and owner are constantly together.
After a traumatic event (in the dog's mind) such as time at a boarding kennel or shelter.
After a change in the family's routine, like a move to a new home, or a new person in the home.
Dogs that exhibit separation anxiety follow their owners around from room to room and become anxious even if a closed door separates them from the owner. They dislike spending time alone outdoors. They act depressed or anxious to your getting ready to leave the house.

For minor separation anxiety problems the following may be helpful:

Keep comings and goings low key. Ignore the dog the first few minutes when you come home, then calmly pet him.
Leave your dog with an article of clothing that has your scent on it-- one that you don't mind if it gets chewed on.
Provide enriched environment to keep the dog busy while alone. A Kong toy (even several) that is stuffed with soft food is good-- unstuffing it will occupy the dog. Hide favorite chewies in the house for the dog to find.
Sometimes leaving the radio or TV on is helpful, if the dog associates it with your presence. Or make a tape of family kitchen noise and play it while you are gone.
Provide aerobic exercise before leaving, but let the dog calm down before you leave. A tired dog will rest better.
Teach a sit or down stay (or use a tether) and gradually increase the distance you move away from your dog. Your goal is to move briefly out of sight while he remains in position. You want your dog to be comfortable about spending time apart from you.
Some dogs may be more comfortable in a crate - if the dog has first been trained to regard the crate as a safe haven. However, in many SA cases, confinement only worsens the dog's panic and hysteria.
Some dogs do better if they have a companion animal to keep them company. But this is not always successful, so be sure you actually want another pet.
Punishing a dog for destructiveness is not effective and may actually make things worse, since it could increase his anxiety.

Severe cases require systematic desensitization to being alone. This can take a long time. Sometimes veterinary prescribed drugs are used as a temporary measure along with the behavior modification program. Because a dog with severe separation anxiety can do damage to himself and/or your home, you may have to figure out some interim measures, such as leaving the dog at a daycare facility, or with a neighbor or family member.

Copyright © Pat Scott

I don't have a lot of experience with SA simply because most of the 9-pack has been with me since they were puppies - and several were born here in the house so they are accustomed to me coming and going. The ONLY exceptions I've had are my JoJo - who was given to me by a friend in NY (I went to NY from WA to get her 4 years ago). My friend was a stay at home mom, she had 3 children, a husband a quite a few critters. JoJo was NEVER alone there - people were always coming and going - and her parents and siblings were all there with her. When I got back to WA with her, she was crated ALONE - I solved that by putting another one of my pups in with her. The other pup was older - and she didn't really need to be crated, but she was a good girl and kept JoJo company. Fortunately, JoJo was an excellent puppy and didn't need to be crated for long. Her youngest pup, Angel who is now a year and a half old, sets up quite a fuss if she's left alone in a crate - so she and her older half sister share a crate at night and when I'm at work. I can't give you any personal experience, but hope the article I found can give you some help. Good luck! Glenda 'n the 9-pack
 

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We have luckily never had this problem, so I have no advice to offer, just sympathy. It must be heart-wrenching to know how upset it makes your baby when you leave.

Glenda gave some great suggestions, hope they work for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your sympathy, but I've tried all those methods ( I might have missed a few in my list of tried solutions). Although I haven't put my two pups together in the crate yet...I've read not to so they don't develop a primary bond to each other. But I'm willing to give that a try! Although, they tend to get really rough when they fight.

He's a loud barker, which echos in my apartment. And it's an apartment...the neighbors sure do love me. :-/

I got him when I was back at my mom's house over the summer. So he got used to being there, he slept out on the enclosed porch since we had no where to put his giant wire crate indoors. Anyways, I went back to school. A couple months later, I go home and I take them with me, of course. I left him on the porch while I went out for a few hours. I came home and my neighbors and family told me he barked non stop...for 4 hours. They said he might have paused for one or two seconds after a long barking session, but non-stop nonetheless.
He continued to bark even when he saw me come home, he decreased his barking when I put Luna's crate next to him.
 

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With your permission, I'll post this on Beagle Bay - someone there may have some other ideas to try. My co-manager there is awesome and often has wonderful ideas. Let me know if it's all right to cross post.
Glenda
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yeah no problem. post away. The vet suggested debarking as a last resort, although just a coverup for his real issue.
 

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NEVER debark a dog, please. This little chap has had a bad start in life and might need extra time to settle down.
 
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