my 6 month old puppy does wonderful while i'm home, he sleeps in his cage and occasionally goes in there during the day. when i leave he becomes a whole different dog, barks howls screams for hours. I have left for a few minutes and come back, still barks. I don't make a big deal when i leave or come home. I've tried leaving clothes that smell like me (he destroyed them into tiny little threads) I've tried music, I've tried bark collar with scent and with sound. I've tried bark off, ticking clock, busy toys, and nothing seems to work. I also tried leaving him out of the crate and just have free rome to the house.... he destroyed everything! He gets a lot of exercise and spends 3+ hours at the dog park and still barks. my neighbors have complained and have called me at work to scream at me and tell me hes been barking for 5 hours. I don't know what to do anymore and any advice helps!
Mardi also has separation anxiety but I have made some progress leaving her crated in the car while I run errands. She still barks occasionally, but I have taken her everywhere with me for the past 2 months and I think the short time alone in the car between various errands has helped her realize I DO come back because she is always quiet by the time I return. She also barks in the house if I step out for a minute--like to get the mail. I don't treat her with food when I return and just tell her, "No bark," and go about my business. I have a fenced acre and she also barks if I leave the acre and she can't see me. I make a habit of doing small chores, like carrying in groceries, so she can see that I am near by. I hope I am doing the right thing with her because it makes me sad that she is unhappy to be alone even for a very short time. Also, there are two cats in the house so she does have them for company.
Good luck with your puppy.
Never had to deal with this problem, but I would try:
1. frozen Kongs
2. A Thunder Shirt
3. Doggy Day care
4. Get another pet to keep him company
5. Move to where neighbors are far away
(In that order.) It wouldn't hurt to call the complaining neighbors, apologize, and tell them about efforts you plan to resolve the problem. Remember that they could call police and you would be paying fines.
A bark collar is not an appropriate tool for a dog with S/A. The process of desensitizing a dog with S/A takes a lot of time. You leave very briefly, you come back, you leave again, you come back, you do this over and over and over and over and then you extend the time and repeat over and over and over. It takes quite a while to resolve. I agree with the above suggestions as places to start.
But if all else fails before you move you can try medication with the dog. There are times when medication is essential to making behavioral changes to S/A - the dog is more amenable to learning/changing when he is not in an anxiety ridden state.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I would recommend talking to a trainer. It will take time and patience to address this issue, it will nto happen over night.
Curious - did you get the pup when they are a baby? Did you practice leaving during the first few weeks you had him? Are you home most of the time (i.e. are you gone regularly for long hours for work or school or are you generally home)?
Some initial tips: play music/radio for the dog. give them something to do in the crate like a frozen kong. start with short periods. when you get home leave the dog in the crate for awhile then non-chalantly go let them out but ignore when they are out of the crate for another minute. I think I saw video on this - they said to leave and come back for like really short periods of time but a trainer would be in a better position to help.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Flynn had very mild separation anxiety. Every morning when I would leave for work I could hear him inside barking and slamming into windows. The odd thing was that as soon as I started the car.... everything got quiet in the house. It was like he figured, "Well, THAT little performance didn't work to keep her here. I'll try again tomorrow." Flynn. What a guy.
Noone has mentioned this, so I will. I learned this from our city shelter people years ago. When you leave for the day, try to make the house as dark as possible. Or just the room your dog is confined to. Remove all stimulus... light, sound. No TV, no music, no nothing. The dogs in the shelter were calmed by this lack of audio or visual stimulation.
This is how I leave my house each day. When I'm home all day on the weekend there's usually the TV droning on in the background, or music playing, appliances running, and the blinds are all open. The dogs are very active with that. Occasionally on weekends I leave EVERYTHING TURNED OFF, keep the blinds closed for a few hours in the morning. Under those conditions the dogs go to their favorite snoozing places and... zzzzzzzz.
You might try this if only as an experiment!
Seamus and Flynn
Regardless of what you try, make sure you try it for long enough it actually has a chance to take effect. It can be a long process and if you don't commit and just bounce around all these different solutions you will have a very confused puppy.
I know it isn't. It was my very last try and i threw it away. I've tried frozen toys, a dog bed (which he chewed up and made a giant fluff ball that i had to dig him out of) music, tv, dark room, leaving for short periods and coming back, i've tried everything under the sun. I am waiting on my taxes to come back so i can get professional help.. but I've had him since he was 9weeks old. for the last week his barking has slowly gotten better but he still barks. now he's moved on to more destructive things. broke his metal crate, chewed the plastic part on the bottom, and has chewed on the cabinets in the bathroom. i have his crate held together by zip ties and cant find a replacement bottom to his cage.
Try the Thundershirt to calm him. People have a lot of success with it in relation to anxiety due to loud noises and storms, so maybe it will help enough so that some of the other methods (the darkened room w/no stimulation, in his crate, with only a stuffed Kong) will work to eliminate the problem.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy