Separation Anxiety

We want to go to dinner tonight.  Without the dog.  However, we haven’t crate trained him and so far he’s been afraid to even walk into the crate and check it out, so now is not the time to try the crate.

We decide to experiment before leaving.  Pat sneaks into the bathroom hoping Tisen won’t notice he’s there and I step into the hall.  I lurk in the hall holding my can of pennies, listening for any sounds of barking or pawing at the door.  When he scratches, I shake my can.  He stops.  I can hear him sniffing at the crack under the door.  I can’t tell if he knows I’m standing there or not.  After he’s been quiet for several minutes, I decide it’s time to reward him for being calm.  I go to open the door and discover I’ve locked myself out.

I text my husband and he comes out of the bathroom to let me back in.

Next, I decide to try 5 minutes to see how Tisen does.  I sneak back out into the hall (this time leaving the door unlocked) after getting him interested in his simulated dead squirrel toy.  I hide around the corner this time.  Unfortunately, I am across from a neighbor’s door.  I hope they aren’t watching me through their peep hole, wondering what I’m doing in the hallway holding a Christmas canister (my can of pennies is a small Christmas tin that Pat’s mom’s famous rum balls were delivered in).

Tisen is quiet.  Other than one loud sniff, I do not hear anything at all.  I look at my watch.  I get to 3 1/2 minutes and suddenly the door opens, my husband looking for me.  I go back in and learn that Tisen figured out Pat was hiding in the bathroom and was scratching at the bathroom door.  So much for that test.

Eventually, we decide to leave a note on the door with our mobile number so our neighbors can reach us if he’s making a lot of noise and head out for a quick dinner at Taco Mamacitos next door.

When we return,Tisen is having a conversation with the next door neighbor’s dog.  When we open the door, Tisen is frantic.  He leaps at us, nipping at our hands like he’s lost his mind.  He pants uncontrollably.  I wrap him in my arms, firmly push him into a sit, and talk to him soothingly to get him to calm down.  When he calms enough to let him go, I start getting ready for bed.  He follows me into the bathroom–a room he has avoided since his bath.

When I sit on the couch, he plops next to me and pushes so tight against me I fear my pants and his fur are going to merge at a molecular level.  Apparently I have gone overboard spoiling this dog–after 4 days with us, he’s having separation anxiety.  Sigh.  A new thing to work on.


8 responses to “Separation Anxiety

  1. Don’t worry, he will get used to it. I remember going through this! We would leave the house for different amounts of time – first we would go for a walk, then a drive, and build it up gradually. It sounds as though you have the right idea – some dogs just take a while to realise that you will come back!

  2. Sorry but i find it adorable. I have 2 spoiled SMALL dogs at home so it’s kind of cute to imagine your big dog doing the things my smaller ones are doing. But yeah, after a while, he is going to get used to it without much accidents. the trick is to do it gradually until he understands that you are coming back.

    • I will have to start blocking time out in my calendar to step out for a few minutes during the day–working from home had both disadvantages and advantages when it comes to dog training! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Dog separation anxiety can be a difficult thing to deal with and it requires patience to train the dog to being used to being alone occasionally.

    There are any number of things you can try to see which works best for your dog. I’ve found that trying to make sure he has some of his best toys to play with – perhaps with some kibble or a treat jammed in there so he can entertain himself and work to get the treat.

    Leaving the radio on has also helped my pooch to keep calm. Also not making a fuss of him before leaving or inmmediately after coming home so he sees it as no big deal.

    When researching things to try with my dog I found this site particularly helpful: with plenty of tips and advice.

    Good luck with Tisen.


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