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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our 14 month old Ruby has lingering separation issues. We've gotten her to stop crying as we're leaving, but while we're gone, her toys don't move an inch. I even fill them up with her favorite treats. They are in the exact same place when we return, about 90% of the time. What's funny is that as soon as we come home (and I stress AS SOON AS), she's all over those treat-filled toys. It bothers me that she's that upset that she won't touch her favorite toys.


Has anyone had similar experiences?
 

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i don't have any answers for you unfortunately but i share the problem. my jack is so attached - he's a rescue - that he screams and screams while i'm gone.

yesterday, he tried to chew his way out of the crate and there was blood when i got back. i too had a toy stuffed with his favorite treat and it was untouched. so i will be looking forward to answers from others to add to what a trainer told me.

thanks for the post.
 

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I'm sorry, I have no answers for you, only sympathy. Your presence is just way more important than favorite treats. Good job on stopping the crying though.
 

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Have you tried leaving a radio on? They dont feel quite so alone then. How long is Ruby left for? If its all day could someone pop in to see to her half way through?
Same for Jack.
There is doggy day care, but I dont know what it costs.
Our two rescues dont like being alone, but they do keep one another company. We started off giving them a treat and saying we'll be back in a minute. First we only left them for 5 then 10 minutes. They got to know that we would be back. Now we can leave them for a couple of hours, particularly at night.
 

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Oh boy do I have answers for you, I have been dealing with SEVERE SA with Spencer since I got him as a pup 3 years ago (I can give you a list of things that he has destroyed and I even have videos of him freaking out when I leave if you want to see them).

First off, that treeat toy that you give him should ONLY be for when you are gone, if you get hime and it is still full, pick it up and put it away until the next time you have to leave. Dogs need to learn that good things happen when you leave and that bad things happen when you come home.

Also, it helps to follow the 10 minute rule. No talking or petting the dog whatsoever for 10 minutes before you leave and 10 minutes after you get home. Never say things like bye, I will be back soon or anything like that, just make it that it is absolutely no big deal at all that you are leaving or coming home.

I am just heading out for work right now but will be back when I have more time to give you some more ideas.
 

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Ok, I'm back.


So to continue, you can also start working on small departures. I have had to start as little as just putting the dogs in the kennel then letting them out, then I would put them in and go upstairs and come back and slowly prolong the length of time that you are gone. I have chosen to kennel my two because Spencer has chewed door frames in the past and if he is left out, he will pee on the carpet every time. It is not because he is not trained, it is because he just gets that upset.

What I have found that has worked the best is exercise, exercise and more exercise. I try to bike with Spencer for about 5km/day if I can (3 miles). I also walk him, work on training and on the weekends we have at least one big outing that will completely tire them out. A tired dog is a happy dog. I have learned that just walking Spencer, no matter how far or how long, is not enough exercise for him, it is just a warm-up. We have gone out for an 8km hike (5 miles) and when we get home, he will run laps around the house as though he just got out of bed and hadn't done anything all morning.

I could seriously go on all day about my experiences with Spencer & his SA.
 

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great stuff, Spencer'sMum. Java cries and whines when I leave for work, but he quiets down after a short while and just naps. I wish he would play more too, but at least I've spied him chewing on some of his rubber toys. It helps that I weened him on the doghouse that's in his dog run because he's definitely using it as a refuge and place of comfort.
 

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Spencer's Mum has wonderful advice! We have never dealt with SA in any of our dogs, but I think that's because we've always had more than one dog, so they keep each other company.

The first day we had Violet, Dave had to go to the store and didn't want her running around unsupervised (5 days post-spay), so he put her in the front room, which is gated off. She could see through the gate, but he said the second he shut the gate, she started having a fit. So I imagine if she were an only dog, we may have had SA issues. Luckily, Duke keeps her more than occupied when were gone!

Good luck to all of you having to deal with this traumatic issue with your beags. I hope you can find help for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the advice! I've actually been using a lot of these tactics already, and they've helped. In the beginning she used to cry and howl before we even walked out the door, but that rarely happens at all now. However, it does take some coaxing to get her into the kitchen if she senses we're both leaving. When we call her into the kitchen, she gives us that How stupid do you think I am? look. It's actually funny. Seeing the gate coming doesn't help!

She HATES the gate and is deathly afraid of it - I guess because it symbolizes separation. When I carry it through the house, she runs with her tail between her legs. Once, when the gate fell on the floor loudly, she bolted and piddled. I felt so bad for her! At least, because of her gate hatred, we don't always have to actually fasten the gate to a room that we don't want her in when we're home. She's so afraid of it, she won't touch it. So, we just lay it against the door frame!

Everything else aside, she's made great progress. She just seems too (for lack of a better word) depressed to want to play with her toys when home alone. Ruby's rarely left for more than 4 hours at a stretch. I work from home, so that helps. If left all day, I get my sister to stop over and give her a walk and some company. Though one day when we were gone all day (but my sister stopped over mid day) she tore up a pillow in her kennel. Toys did not move an inch though! I was baffled! I did just remember, though, that last time we left her, she did empty one of her food filled toys. So, maybe in time she'll get better. I'll have to try the special home alone toy as someone suggested.

She's grown to appreciate her kennel as a safe haven when left alone. We gate her in the kitchen, where her kennel is. Most times when we come home, she's been laying down or sleeping in it. In fact, it's the only time that she'll voluntarily go in her kennel (and spend real time in it) without a command. She's also a rescue, and we've only had her for just over 3 months. I do leave the little TV on in the kitchen for her many times, so I think that helps.

So, we may just have to give it some time. She really is a very good beagle. We are very lucky to have her in our lives!
 

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Yes you are very lucky because with Spencer, when left alone (with Sydney) he will still go crazy. When he was a puppy, he would eat the door frame and the gate and was able to jump them. We then had to buy a 2nd gate to put 2 gates high and then he would just start pulling them off the wall. He has also destroyed more than one set of blinds and done extreme damage on his old crate and now his kennel.

They actually say that the reason they leave the treats until you come home is because they are not sure when you will be coming back and feel that they need to save the rations in case you do not come back (of course this is just humans guessing how dogs think). When I took Spencer to the behaviourist, she told me that if he is not eating his kong when I am gone, don't even bother leaving it for him because it is just stressing him out more than anything. Find something that he will actually eat and use that instead. Now, he gets a dehydrated chicken strip and a cookie in a kong (which I am sure Sydney steal the kong on him and eats it).

I had Spencer completely under control, we went from over 3 straight hours of barking and jumping and chewing the bars to absolutely not a peep all day. Then he had hurt his foot and I could not exercise him with the bike like I had been so his SA has gotten bad again. He is starting to slowly improve again but it is a VERY slow process.

If you have any questions about it, please let me know because I am sure I have likely had some expreience with it and I can try to help you through it. SA is so much easier when you have a support system.

Oh and one last note, don't feel bad when you are leaving because they can totally sense that and will think that there is a reason to be upset every time you leave. Dogs can sense what we are feeling. Stay calm and happy, it is the best thing to do. Dogs sleep most of the day anyway whether you are home or not so don't feel guilty or sorry for them.
 

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We luckily haven't experienced separation anxiety with our pack (although maybe having three helps in that regard) so I really don't know anything that can help you here - but I just wanted to say that even our gang, who don't seem to really be bothered much at all when we leave them alone, still don't appear to play with toys when we are gone... I haven't given it too much thought but to the extent I have, I just thought that perhaps when we are gone they are just a bit more on guard and trying to be good little watch dogs (although it would appear that all they really do is sleep when we are away) so don't have time to play, or just prefer to sleep rather than play, or prefer to play when we are there so that we will perhaps join in...

I guess the point I am trying to make is that if there is no real sign of apparent distress while you are away other that un-played with toys, then maybe there are other reasons why Ruby doesn't want to play with her toys while you are away and that it isn't a symptom of separation anxiety as much as other priorities when she is home alone...

But then as Spencer's Mum says really this is all humans guessing how dogs think so what really do we know!
 

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Thinking about what BookerMoose said, I just wanted to add that my beagle (who doesn't have SA) hardly ever plays with her toys while I'm not around either. I think it's because she uses them as a way of getting our attention and interacting with us, so if we're not there, there's no point.
 

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Oh and yes, Sydney my other beagle never plays with toys either when we are gone but she will eat all of her treats (she is a bit of a pig). LOL
 
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