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So we have three dogs. Two little ones and a big one.
My DF's dog is the big dog. The only one allowed of the kennel while we're out at work. And a few weeks ago she started doing her bathroom business in the house. She's done awesome since she got here in June. We thought she was throwing a tantrum since DF wasn't the one taking her out in the morning, my sister was. Work schedules were changing. We tried switching it back and thought it worked, but then she went back to doing her business. So after a few days of that, she had to go in her kennel. That seemed to be fine until she busted out and STILL made a mess, tore down the blinds on the balcony door, and the rod holding the window curtains is almost pulled out of the wall.
I'm due in May and will be able to stay out of work for about six months. And what is going to happen when I have to run errands and take my kid to appointments? But once that ends and we go back to work...coming home to a destroyed house with a baby is not ideal. And it's not ideal right now. We've tried getting her out of the house more with DF on his days off to see if maybe she's just getting some cabin fever (it's been way too cold to be outside for long periods of time), and nothing. She gets too excited to be able to go to doggie daycare.
Anyone have any suggestions? If we can't figure something out in the next couple days, she has to go. Not to the pound. We'd ask family if they'd be willing to take her for a while. But I just can't have my house destroyed every single day. She's five years old but has the mentality of a two year old.
HI, I'm new to just mommies but I've been vet tech for 10 years and a dog trainer for 4 years. It sounds like your dog is experiencing separation anxiety. This is not uncommon in dogs as they get older or in dogs that have experienced a trauma or sudden major life change. Like moving to new house or the passing of an owner.
Separation anxiety can be overcome, it does take some patience though. First I would talk to your vet. You want to make sure that these new behavior s are not a result of a medical condition. Plus, your vet may recommend anti-anxiety medication to help speed the training process along. Especially since you have a baby on the way! One of my favorite books discussing separation anxiety is I'll Be Home Soon by Patricia McConnell. It's a fairly inexpensive book and really explains separation anxiety while providing great training advice! If the book doesn't help then I would recommend seeking a professional trainer. Overcoming separation anxiety is time consuming and can be frustrating. It will be a commitment that your family will have to decide if you have time for. If time is a problem then Re-homeing the dog to a family member is a good and loving solution, but the anxiety will go with the dog so that family member may need the help from the book or a trainer.
In my experience, it is always worthwhile to help the dog overcome the anxiety. I'm sure if the dog could talk he or she would be begging for help. I have never met a dog that is happy experiencing so much panic and anxiety all the time. Talk to your vet, decide if medications are appropriate and read I'll Be Home Soon. I bet in a very short time you will start to see a happier, better behaved pup! I hope this helps!!!
See that makes total sense. And I kind of feel bad because I feel like it's tied to the baby. There's days when we're gone longer because of appointments. And all of the dogs have kind of thrown a tantrum, but hers just stands out so much more. Do you think those calming vests would help or would it be better to just seek the medication from the vet?
Actually those calming work very well on about 95% of the dogs that try them. There is always that 5% that break the mold of course. There is no sure way of knowing if the vest will work for your dog until you try it. For moderate to severe separation anxiety I've found that the vests only work when paired with training techniques to reduce anxiety. From what you have described, it sounds like your pooch does fit into the moderate to severe anxiety.
With regards to calling your vet- that depends on how much you like your vet, if your vet is kind and empathetic, how much time you have in your daily life to devote to training and how much time you have before your new baby arrives. Meds are not always needed and as a trainer I usually like to try training and other non-medicinal options first. But meds certainly help speed the process along and reduce owner frustration! The one thing I can tell you for certain- the calming vests and medications are only tools that help you with a training plan. There is no way to modify a behavior without actively participating in training. The tools just help us humans keep our sanity!
the anxiety isn't likely to change with the re-homing, so you're just passing the problem along. And eventually something expensive will be destroyed or the dog will get injured or killed. I'd definitely look into a better crate, and also the book recommended earlier. Another thing that may help is the dvd "Crate Games"
For my dog, we did a combination of working with her to accept being crated and melatonin and benedryl to keep her calm. She destroyed a couple of crates and injured herself, so the meds weren't an option.