Tag Archives: Separation anxiety in dogs

Seperation Anxiety – part 5. When crate’s go wrong.

Well, last I blogged about this we were doing rather well with the crate, weren’t we? Annabel was in her crate a lot in order to try and break the addictive behaviour when we left her. We’d increased her exercise to make sure she wasn’t restless in it, and she seemed very happy to go in there.

And all was calm.

And all was happy.

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For a while anyway. . .

After a few accident-free days, one night after last wees outside she wouldn’t go in to her cage. Oooh I felt a right meany! I had to be very firm as I ordered her into it. Mindful of our expert Dr David Sand’s advice that things should be kept as low key as possible with an anxious dog, it went against the grain a little to be so gruff with her right before bedtime, but I weighed up that it was still better than re-visiting ‘weesville’ on a daily and nightly basis.

So that’s when the crying began.

Annabel cried and cried until one of us finally went to sleep in the early hours. At approximately 6am the crying began again. (It harked back to the days of when my daughter was younger and crying for attention. You know to an extent you must harden you heart to it a little – but oh my goodness it’s not easy.)

This was the pattern for the next week or so. Our sleep got more an more disrupted despite us ignoring the hours. My daughter was also being woken by Annabel’s cries and subsequently, her routine and behaviour deteriorated. The crying got earlier and earlier, and my husbands language became bluer and bluer. Just as I was starting to think the toileting might be preferable to the sleep deprivation, a happy accident happened.

We’d been awake since 4am on this particular day thanks to the canine dawn chorus. Our little girl was -quite understandably – shattered and a nightmare to get ready for nursery. I walked them quickly, then we all left the house . . .

And forgot to shut Annabel in the crate!

Now it was one of those freak days where both my husband and I got held up at work and the dogs were left a lot longer than they normally would. I opened the front door and my heart sank as I realised our error and saw her waiting to greet me, roaming free, head poking longingly over the baby gate at the door.

I crept tentatively into the kitchen and nearly burst with joy to see a clean floor! It took every once of self control not to fling my arms around my girl and praise her to high heaven.

“Low key” I reminded myself. “Don’t make my coming home a big deal for her.”

Minutes later when we in the garden and she weed and pooed where she was meant to, I could get my fix and my snuggle. What a clever girl!

Since then, we have gradually increased the times we leave the crate door open and we are now at a point where it can be left open over night and most times we are all out. In fact, I would say the crate’s days are numbered as Badger seems to much prefer being in it now anyway, sneaking in quickly so Annabel has to sleep on memory foam mattress we got to help with his arthritis! ***sigh**

Goodness me this has been a challenge, and it’s a looooong road. But she’s worth sticking with. I feel that now more than ever. Rescue dogs sometimes have issues . . . Fact. Laregly that’s due to the fault of human beings, so surely, it’s only fair that human beings try to fix It? I like to think so.

The end is in sight my gentle girl . . . Keep going Annabel!

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Separation Anxiety Part 3 – One paw forward 4 paws back.

One paw forward 4 paws back. That’s how things feel at the moment. I have been very consistent with Annabel over the past week or two (for those that don’t know our rescue lurcher has separate anxiety – manifesting itself in the form of house soiling . . . Several times . . . Every day. Read the start of our story here.)
So with professional help and a programme of behaviour training put in place, we are soldiering on.

The next step it would seem is a den / cage / crate. Something i have previously had mixed feelings about. Both dogs have already been in a kind of make shift “den” in the kitchen for the past week, and when they are closed in – as expected – there is no soiling. But when out of the den, Annabel will soil the moment we are distracted, be it a phone call, putting our daughter to bed, or even watching a bit of telly. Short of staring at her the entire time she is out of her den (a virtual impossibility with a 4 year old child), there is nothing for it right now but to keep her in it to break the cycle. As this is a little unfair on our well behaved greyhound, Badger, Annabel will be getting her own crate today.

I have been reassured that although this seems extreme, it is none-the-less preferable to rehoming or even more drastic measures.

Our poor girl’s case is quite extreme, and we are certainly not ready to give up on her, so crate it is. I have to think of it as putting her through cold turkey – tough love of you will. We are stepping up the walks to make sure she is sufficiently worn out when at home.

We don’t know her history, but due to the sorry state she was found in it is obvious that her behaviour is the result of human-kind’s failings. She was not treated properly in the first few years of her life, and it is my belief that she has never known love, or a kind home, and she can’t quite cope with it in a healthy way.

Therefore surely it is human kind’s responsibility to try and fix her. Our responsibility.

Annabel came to us for a reason – I have to keep remembering that on a bad day. Maybe other familes could not have coped with the extremeness of the anxiety. Maybe she’d have ended up back in rescue kennels – something I feel sure would be utterly detrimental to her ever finding a permanent home.

I may have to to take deep breaths and remind myself “it’s not her fault” on a daily basis, but we are determined to stick with her.

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