SEVERE DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY
Dixie’s mom writes:
“Severe — SEVERE — separation/frustration anxiety. Dixie has had this ‘personality disorder’ since we rescued her about 10 years ago, but it hasn’t been consistent over the years. It’s only recently that it’s spiked, and I’m having a tough time assessing what the trigger is — or if there’s more than one.
I’ve always done everything by the book(s) — Thundershirt, Calming Collar, Rescue Remedy, Resources’ Anxiety and Stress formula, Through a Dog’s Ear music, leaving the house while she’s eating so she’s not aware of my leaving, leaving peanut butter-filled kongs and a treat barrel for her, doing the “coming and going” exercises, leaving and returning calmly, practically ignoring her… not sure what else, but everything in the book and BY the book, as far as I know.
I’ve had to resort to a bark collar due to complaints. Citronella didn’ t control her howling and barking and I couldn’t find ‘vibration’ collars in stock to try, so I’m using a shock collar, which to me is as cruel and counter-intuitive as you can imagine. I’m PUNISHING her for being in distress???!!! Who invented this torture device anyway?! I should get the vibration collar in the mail within the next few days, but if you ask me, shutting her up with a collar or drugs is a bandaid that doesn’t solve the deeper issue, which is, why is she feeling this way and how can I help her to feel safe, secure, comfortable and relaxed in my absence?
Despite the complaints and not wanting to be evicted, I’m more concerned with what Dixie is experiencing and why, and helping her feel better. I need HELP!”
Dogs show anxiety in many ways, and Dixie’s mom is right. There are no simple workarounds, and bark collars are indeed inhumane. If your dog is scared, you can’t fix it by punishing him! You need to get to the source and work diligently to get your dog to be OK being left alone.
Read The Pooch Coach’ article on dog separation anxiety to learn more and get some tips for helping a mildly anxious dog, or to ensure your dog doesn’t start exhibiting these behaviors. Click here for Dog Separation Anxiety tips.
And, of course, you can contact us for help any time!