Separation Anxiety

General discussions about Chow Chows.

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Shadow
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Separation Anxiety

Postby Shadow » Tue Jul 19, 2005 3:28 pm

6 weeks ago I rescued a black Chow (approx. 5 years old) named Shadow from Animal Care and Control. This is my first rescue dog. Shadow is a really lovely dog and seems very typical for the breed, but suffers from severe separation anxiety when we leave her home alone. While we have been gone she has urinated, torn up molding, scratched at doors, ripped apart the corner of a couch and has even chewed through plaster down to the metal studs on the corner of a wall. It's very difficult to figure out what triggers this destructive behavior, as she gives us no sign that anything is going to be wrong before we leave. Sometimes we come home after being gone fifteen minutes and there's blood and urine everywhere; sometimes we can leave her for hours and she's fine. No matter what occurs while we're gone, she always greets us with a wagging tail and some friendly barks.

In an effort to avoid any more destruction we have decided to leave her out in the garden while we are gone, but I feel horrible doing this when it's dark out, even if it's only for an hour or so. It also doesn't seem to be helping much as I let her stay inside today as I ran a quick (30 minute) errand and she urinated all over the kitchen while I was out. Also, we live in New York City, so she won't be able to stay outside forever as it will eventually get too cold. We do have a crate for her, but we haven't used it yet. She didn't seem to be too happy in her crate at the pound.

If you have any suggestions about how to help this dog transition into her new home, please help me. Any book or training suggestions would be of great help. I feel like we need to come up with a plan for Shadow and stick to it ASAP so that she gets comfortable being alone in her new home.

Many thanks,
Markus and Shadow

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Shane
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Postby Shane » Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:38 pm

To keep this quite short watch National Geographic at 6 o'clock, The Dog Whisperer should be on. Watch it many times situations you may have will cum up and watch it.

First of all you need to master the "walk". Place the choke chain high upon the neck and do like you would a dog show. Keep the dog under control never letting him lead, keep him by the side. Wen he turns to go in another dirction give a tug to get bk on track.

Always give mental and physical stimulation befor your departure. Always hve walks a good distance.

There is alot more to this these are nly some info that may help.

Shane

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Postby Rogansmommy » Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:23 pm

Hello! First, I wanted to say thank you for rescuing Shadow. Chows are unique and are much more people oriented than most breeds, IMO. They were bred to be guardians, so they really don't like us out of their sight.

In my experience, Chows are not huge fans of being crated - they like their freedom - but you can get her used to it and at this point it might be safer for her than being outside or loose in the house. When I kept Rogan in his crate, I would leave him some toys, a chew or two, and the radio on. Always. (I still leave the radio on for him.) Another place you could leave Shadow, temporarily, would be the bathroom or another room with tile flooring in it. At least then the urinating would not be as destructive. Personally, I don't like leaving Chows outside in any weather, especially this time of year. They are not warm-weather dogs and were bred for companionship/guard duty. They are bred to be with their human in human situations.

I would also contact a trainer (maybe someone in NYC could recommend one) and get them to do house calls. It's more expensive, but worth it. Try and interview the trainer - alot of them don't have a good understanding of Chows, (the trainers think they are 'just dogs'). You cannot handle your Chow as a dog - it will not work and could make the situation worse, frankly. Positive reinforcement is the way to go, harsh correction or coercion will NOT work with a Chow - it will make it worse.

Another thing you can try is leaving her for short bursts of time. Start with one minute. Then two minutes... she will eventually see that you always return. Reward her for positive behavior for these short, successful bursts. Even a Chow loves something (for Rogan, it's Yellow American Cheese - yes, only yellow) - save it for her good performances. Have you also tried video taping her? How long before the destructive behavior begins?
Michele

^Rogan^ at the Bridge on 5/16/09 -- always in my heart

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Postby Guest » Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:34 pm

In my experience Chow's are very high anxiety dogs. They hide it well, with their laid back, I'm chillin' ! attittude. But infact because they are guard dogs they are hyper alert when they are left alone, and are incharge of keeping everything safe. This is probably compounded by abandonment fears, after being abandoned by the first owner.

Stanley Cohen, a prominant dog behaviorist, recommends as the previous poster said, leaving the dog for very short periods (a few minutes) to start, and gradually increasing the time. What he would recommend differently though, is that both when you leave and when you return, you should totally ignore the dog. (no pats, no encouragement, no cookies) The dog then realizes that what you are doing is normal and no threat to their security and will begin to mellow over it. When you make a fuss when you return it reinforces the behavior that they were engaged in when you were out.

The other thing that I would recommend would be that you have the dog checked for any physical problems. It is very unusual for Chows to pee in the house after they have been trained. I know my Chow has a urinary tract infection when she pees in the house, even after just being out. Your chow may have a problem and find that increased anxiety/barking (and subsequent drinking of water) pushes your dog over the edge so that your Chow can no longer hold their pee.

Hope this helps.

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been there done this, wouldn't wish it on anyone

Postby anita_robins » Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:33 pm

First let me say congrats on adopting a chow.

That being said, I would like to tell you that there is a simple fix for this, but trushfully there isn't. I don't agree with the others that have posted saying that you should spend your money on a good trainer, cuz in fact it will just not work. Nothing short of staying home 24/7 is gonna releif your chow... what has most probably happened is that Shadow has bonded with you very very fast, and now feels like she is being abandoned everytime you leave.

My chico was a rescue at the age of 2 (black as well) but didn't start to show the anxiety until almost a year. He throws up on the couch or my bed, pees everywhere and deficates in the basement. I have tried everything for over a year to fix the issue, and the best thing I could do was put him in his own safe spot. My husband had to build him his own room in the basement with tile floors, room is about 8 x 10 feet, I leave his blanket in there along with a radio, and generally he tends to do ok, until recently when he started chewing on the door frame.

YOu can take him to the vet, where they will charge you an arm and a leg to run every test possible (I know as I did this), I do recommend a blood test that will touch base on most of the vitals in her body, runs about $85 CDN. to rule out any serious infections... but for the most part they will put her on a doggy prozac, which just makes them very unhappy and dosen't cure the problem.

One thing you could try in the Bach Flower Remedies, I used recue remedy and star of bethlehem (SP) these are all natural and not harmful to your chow, you have to use a fair bit, but you will get a calming effect from them.

I have had Chico for over 4 years now and although the peeing, puking, deficating and destruction sucks, he is the best chow in the world, and I couldn't give him up for anything, and believe you me there are days that I want to.

P.S. I wouldnt use a crate unless the chow was used to it from early on, not a breed that likes to be confined. I leave my chico in the backyard on days were the temp in low with lots of water and shade... only for a couple hours at most, they are very sensitve to heat.

If you want any further info on things we have tried feel free to email me..

GOOD LUCK, Shadow will take a little extra work, but will shower you with love and that is so worth it.

Anita and Chico

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Postby Guest2 » Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:19 am

I have a 5 yr old Chow that I adopted when he was 8 months old. Until I tried a crate, he tore thru my couch, carpeting in three rooms just by the doors he was closed behind, and ate the moldings off those doors too.
Crate training is not an overnight solution because it is still training. It took me two weeks to train Bear to his crate. (meaning he'd actually go into it, lie down and stay there - not freaking out if I locked him in, but stayed in site.) Positive reinforcement - in Bear's case use of his favorite treat and feeding only in the crate - helped him get used to his crate. BUt he did and his crate became his safe zone. By putting him in his crate with something to keep him busy the first few minutes I was gone helped him to overcome his issues (along with the not making a big fuss over leaving and returning). We used kongs filled with frozen PB, pig ears, etc. We also made sure to give him plenty of exercise (in the form of a walk) right before he needed to be crated so he'd be tired. Eventually he calmed and after about 8 months I felt comfortable enough to start leaving him out for short trips.

Crate training is a useful tool. Going to the vet is also a good idea just for the physical since she came from Animal Control. Ruling out illness first is just being smart. Going to an actual trainer for this specific reason may or may not be helpful depending on the trainer. (try http://www.apdt.com for a list in your area). Training in general is never a waste of time because it will help you bond with your dog at the very least and get some socialization.

Good luck and hang in there!

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Postby Zhuyos mom » Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:53 am

I posted this way back on on the old site (11/16/2003) for Gwrol's dad and Anita's Chico. Hope this helps you a bit...

...This sounds loopy, but it worked for me. When I started back to work at an outside office versus telecommuting from home, Zhu did not like it one bit. He escaped (fortunately only to the backyard but he jumped over the 4' fenced deck to a 8' drop - nutcase!), became a bulimic (binged on anything that fit in his mouth and purged it out). It was bizarre & awful. What seemed to stop his insane behavior was I simply told him where I was going and what time I was coming back. That he had to stay at home to watch the house, that there is no more escaping, that his mission is to watch over his grandparents, that there was no poo poo, pee pee or "cacking" inside the house (cacking means throwing up) etc... Did this each and every morning, and still have to be accountable to him, whenever I leave the front door I remind him about the no poo poo, pee pee and cacking inside the house but it worked! We know how smart our chows are... they try to communicate with us verbally and telepathically. I think that they seem to comprehend verbal communication pretty well and expect it from us. Otherwise, they're just going to do what they want 'cuz why not. So give it a try. Talk to him and leave him a responsibilty. Oh, and something else I would do is leave a biscuit somewhere he knew was his "place" and when I walked out the door, I would tell him, "by the way" I left you a biscuit under your blanket. You know, your new guy is probably worried you won't come back..


Also, do you think there might be a noise during the day that frightens your chow to urinate? Excitement urnination is unpleasant but is common. Another suggestion from another chow parent was ti get another canine companion for your chow. That helped my Pooh Bear's transition into my household... having Zhu already there as a companion and mentor.

Anita.... remember when you even considered consulting a psychic? Ah, the good old days!!!

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anxiety

Postby anita_robins » Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:02 pm

Lou,

NOt only do i remember thinking about using a phyic, I did, OH MY GOD, what a waste of money that was.... she told me Chico threw up becase he didn't like the oil furnance, and that his prevous owners fed him beer and smacked him around, left him outside all the time etc...she also said he pees and poos downstairs cuz he smells the old owners pets down there... but I have it on good authority from the neighbourss... that there was only one family that lived here before us, and the never had pets..

She then went on to tell me that I had this special bond with one of my cats, as I had had her the longest and it used to be just me and her, before the husand and all the other animals.. this was so off base, as that particular cat belonged to my husband.. she then said that one of my cats liked to sit in the middle of the road... but again my cats have never been outside..

THE GOOD TIMES WE HAVE EH?

Anit and Chico

acalis
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Re: Separation Anxiety

Postby acalis » Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:33 am

I know this is an old but I want to post on here just in case someone stumbles upon this post when doing research.


its very common for rescues or companions who've had multiple owners to suffer from separation anxiety. its extremely hard to deal with without conditioning, classical condition, or better yet uncondtioning. its really not safe for any person to attempt unconditioning methods for it can cause other mental problems if they're not unconditioned properly.


the best bet in this situation... on the cheap... is to give special toys or whatever when you're about to leave the house.. then take away those toys when you're home. you can buy puzzle toys for dogs. its best you Google puzzle toy rather than have me explain it.


Its nearly impossible to get rid of total separation anxiety. You'll benefit more attempting to calm the anxiety. Comfort is the key. figure out triggering factors that reduce anxiety.


it might also be right to note if they see a pre-existing handler it may

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Re: Separation Anxiety

Postby JammyJoy » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:14 pm

Find what motivates your dog. Some dogs do anything for food. Some dogs do anything for Toys. Some do anything for a good petting.

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Re: Separation Anxiety

Postby ski » Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:40 pm

Poor baby!! We had a dog years ago with severe separation anxiety. She ripped a door off the frame, destroyed wall and destroyed carpet. I relied on a book entitled "the Dog Who Loved Too Much". I followed the steps in the book which included ignoring her whenever we left and making a fuss upon our return. We started leaving her in five minute increments...and worked our way up to hours. We did crate her for a short time but made sure the crate was on a hard surface and had her favorite blanket. In a short few months she was cured! She was such a sweet girl and had been abused and panicked when we left. Also, make sure you leave tv or music on when you leave. Please do not give up! Our Murphy turned out to be such a great dog and lived until the age of 13. We now have a rescue chow

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Re: Separation Anxiety

Postby Brisco » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:08 am

Imagine how freaked out this poor dog would be locked up in a crate when you leave. A crate won't help your dogs mental well being it will just stop the damage but your dog will still be very upset with no outlet, don't use a crate. Fix the problem don't just cover it up, that's like turning your radio up so loud that you don't hear that bad noise your car is making, Your car is still broken. I agree with a couple of the previous post but mainly with short burst and especially no attention or acknowledgement of the dog for 10 minutes or so before and after leaving. No speaking to him, or petting him at all, none, zero, nada. Good luck!
No matter where you go, there you are.

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Re: Separation Anxiety

Postby stella1 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:31 am

Our chow mix came from a shelter. She had a lot of separation anxiety her whole life it was not until she was older 9-10 when it finally subsided. That said we would crate her. She would bark her head off for about 30 minutes and then lay down in disgust. I setup a web cam to watch. She was rarely left alone for more then a hour or so early in her life. Early on we would exhaust her and then throw some treats in her crate and walk out.

I'm sure others would say this is cruel but it worked for us. After a couple weeks she would go in the crate on her own eventually sleeping in there with the door open. It became her safe place after some time.

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Re: Separation Anxiety

Postby Mignon11 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:14 am

Shadow wrote:6 weeks ago I rescued a black Chow (approx. 5 years old) named Shadow from Animal Care and Control. This is my first rescue dog. Shadow is a really lovely dog and seems very typical for the breed, but suffers from severe separation anxiety when we leave her home alone. While we have been gone she has urinated, torn up molding, scratched at doors, ripped apart the corner of a couch and has even chewed through plaster down to the metal studs on the corner of a wall. It's very difficult to figure transfers Dieppe out what triggers this destructive behavior, as she gives us no sign that anything is going to be wrong before we leave. Sometimes we come home after being gone fifteen minutes and there's blood and urine everywhere; sometimes we can leave her for hours and she's fine. No matter what occurs while we're gone, she always greets us with a wagging tail and some friendly barks.

In an effort to avoid any more destruction we have decided to leave her out in the garden while we are gone, but I feel horrible doing this when it's dark out, even if it's only for an hour or so. It also doesn't seem to be helping much as I let her stay inside today as I ran a quick (30 minute) errand and she urinated all over the kitchen while I was out. Also, we live in New York City, so she won't be able to stay outside forever as it will eventually get too cold. We do have a crate for her, but we haven't used it yet. She didn't seem to be too happy in her crate at the pound.

If you have any suggestions about how to help this dog transition into her new home, please help me. Any book or training suggestions would be of great help. I feel like we need to come up with a plan for Shadow and stick to it ASAP so that she gets comfortable being alone in her new home.

Many thanks,
Markus and Shadow

So sad :/


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