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Separation Anxiety. Does your dog suffer while you are away?

Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008, at 4:19 PM


This common behavior problem results in destruction of your property and can cause problems between you and your neighbors. Many pets are even abandoned because of this behavior, which can be resolved or even prevented with a little patience and training. Here are a few tips to help ease your dogs anxiety while you are away, for further information, please email Jaymeey at jayh@ontheothersideofthefence.org or post a question here.


Every 6.5 seconds an animal is euthanized in the United States, because they do not have a home. In dealing with Animal Rescue for the last five years I know that dogs are not stupid. They just get confused because the message that the owner is trying to send them is unclear.

Separation anxiety.

As defined by Sarah Probst, information specialist, separation anxiety is "increased fearfulness of the dog after the departure of the owner".

1. Dogs taken away from their mothers before 8 weeks of age often develop this problem.

Common problems are chewing or pooping on items that smell like you, such as your underwear or pillow and excessive barking.

You can try several approaches to ease your dogs anxiety while you are away.

1. Physical exercise such as playing tug of war or fetch for 10 -30 minutes.

2. Mental exercises such as exploring new places, smelling lots of new smells, and obedience training sessions.

3. As Stacy Braslaw from Stacy's Wag N Train says "A tired dog is a good dog".

4. Give your dog something to do while your gone. Kong's are hollow rubber toys filled with treats. Use peanut butter or cheeze whiz as an alternative to expensive pet store stuffers. Home made Kong's can be made from empty milk cartons or rubber hoses. Just make sure its clean and doesn't become a choking hazard.

5. Don't make a big deal about coming home. Come in and ignore him for about 20 minutes.

6. Desensitize your dog to your leaving. For example, put your shoes on, watch t.v, put your coat on, watch t.v., grab your keys, watch t.v., then leave, WITHOUT showing your dog how much you will miss him while your gone, just walk out the door and leave.

7. Use a crate while you are away to prevent destruction of your home and injury of your pet. Crates can be an invaluable tool that accelerates potty training and can save your dogs life. I am sure he would rather be crated than sent to the pound.

8. You can also look into:

a. Doggie daycare, if there are any in your area. Maybe even get together with your friends to create your own doggie day care.

b. Bach Rescue Remedy, you can buy Bach Rescue Remedy at The Bee Hive next to Orscheln's. Bach Rescue Remedy is wonderful for any pet in times any types of stress, including illness such as Parvo. It has done wonders, for example, a dog who was laying seemingly almost dead with Parvo virus had not moved in hours. I gave him 10 drops of Bach on his tongue. He stood up, walked about three steps, looked confused and went and laid back down. I believe it has saved several animals lives. It is a non toxic flower essence, marketed for humans, but used by holistic Veterinarians and animal welfare organizations all over the world. I will post about Bach in the future, so stay tuned.

c. Dog anti depressants, which I do not recommend unless all else, including a professional animal behaviorist has failed.

Written by Jaymeey Hatfield, Executive Director of On The Other Side Of The Fence, a non profit animal rescue September 23, 2008. Anyone can use any part of this information as long as you mention this website http://www.theothersideofthefence.org/  and other appropriate resources listed.

If you have any fencing, cement, nails, or fence posts you can donate to help build a fenced in dog park, please contact 573-686-7551. We also collect scrap metal and aluminum cans to help feed the rescued animals. Thank you, spread the word. http://www.theothersideofthefence.org/

The grass is always greener....On The Other Side Of The Fence




Showing comments in chronological order
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Solution to chewing on POOPing on things that smell like you........Get a handy copy of the Daily Statesman, preferably a thick edition....roll it up...and proceed to beat the hell out of that yapper until they learn to NOT chew your things and POOP on them! This should only take about 2-3 good times, doesn't cause permanent damage or injury, and if it is not working.....you could consider that euthanized thing.

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Thu, Sep 25, 2008, at 11:05 PM

You are right, beating and euthanizing are much easier than crating.

-- Posted by jaymeeyh on Fri, Sep 26, 2008, at 7:40 PM

Jay, I have worked with hunting dogs most of my life. It all started when I was 12 years old, living in South Bollinger County MO. at a time when over 75% of the territory was covered with standing timber. I was anious to start hunting possums, but I didn't have a dog.

As it so happened my uncle knew of a young mix breed dog that had been hanging out at the saw mill where he worked. He brought this dog to me and this bob-tailed dog became the greatest possession of my young life.

At tbis time the average laborer was earning about $1.00 per day at the saw mill and the average possum hide would bring at least $1.00, so during the hunting season me and my bob-tailed friend were raking in about twice as much money as the saw mill hand.

I am not sure which one of us was more attached to the other, but anyway ole Bob and I were hunting together at night and he went with me to school every day through the eighth grade. He even went with me a few times as I walked 5-1/2 miles to high school.

By the time I graduated high school ole Bob was really growing old, and it was time for me to move out into the world. As I said "Goodby" to the family, ole Bob was the last one to get a hug.

Ole Bob always seemed to be hapy and he liked to bark, especially to bark treed at possums, but I had never known him to howell. However my mother said that within three days aftre I left home he would sit at the front gate to our home, late in the evening, pointing his nose toward the sky and give off a long lonesom howell that would bring tears to the eyes of the entire family.

I was away from home for nearly two years, and When I came back ole Bob was gone, and the only thing I could do was place a flower on the grave where he was burried on the bank of Cato Slough

-- Posted by paulcorbin on Fri, Sep 26, 2008, at 9:04 PM

Paul Corbin, what a wonderful story! You've written so much in the North Stoddard Countian about your fictitious dog Ky-Rucus - I'll bet he was based on ole Bob, wasn't he?? I especially love the stories about his coon-hunting prowess!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Sep 26, 2008, at 9:17 PM

Jayme, you're gonna work right into these blogs just fine!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Sep 26, 2008, at 9:18 PM

Hoon, a newspaper and a heavy hand don't fair well on nervous or anxious dogs. My bassett hound, whom I received at around 4-6 years of age, is very anxious! A pending storm will send her into a frenzy...she'll even poop around the house if the thunder is loud enough. And even though I've found that rubbing a dryer sheet over her to relieve the static electricity is a good trick, it still doesn't calm her completely.

And there's no way I can leave her at home w/ a 1/2 full trash can. Her little loving way of letting me know I shouldn't leave her here all alone like that. I'm not going to beat her with a newspaper for doing something that I can prevent!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Sat, Sep 27, 2008, at 9:31 PM

Outside with the Bassett. It won't hurt her.

-- Posted by I.B. Le Truth on Sat, Sep 27, 2008, at 11:18 PM

I know I.B. In fact, she insists on going outside in the mornings...so that's when I try to be away.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 11:57 AM

Can't imagine how bad your living quarters stink Flipper. Man, poop and trash all over the place? I say use a Post Dispatch next time.

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 10:19 PM

This morning I have another kind of "separation anxiety"! Because of someone who has dumped a dog on me (a pit bull, by the way), I have to spend $50 to get the dog euthanized, then bring home the body and dispose of it - all the while hoping that it doesn't have some awful disease that my own dogs will pick up!

How's that for irresponsibity??? I cannot STAND people like that!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Sep 29, 2008, at 7:45 AM

Update on the stray problem: I emailed someone with the Bollinger County Stray Project, and they're gonna try to save the pit, since he's so young. They're in touch with a pit bull rescue, so they're pretty sure they can get him adopted to a responsible person.

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Sep 29, 2008, at 8:36 AM

My living quarters smell just fine HOON. I don't leave the trash can within reach when I'm away, and she doesn't poop in the house if she's not alone when it's storming...which I try to prevent. Besides that, if you clean daily, and clean up pertinent messes immediately, it won't stink no matter what. Besides, and some of you may not even agree with this, but a spray bottle with water works much better than beating the poor thing with a newspaper, or any other object of that sort.

GL, glad to hear that puppy will be ok after all. Pits really aren't bad animals...their owners usually are.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Mon, Sep 29, 2008, at 3:47 PM

I use the spray bottle, too, dolphin. You're right. It works great. Let's try it on hoon!

-- Posted by goat lady on Mon, Sep 29, 2008, at 5:35 PM

Humans are smarter than dogs, right? Then why would we beat a dog or puppy for going poop in the house, and not a child?

-- Posted by jaymeeyh on Mon, Sep 29, 2008, at 7:07 PM

What an idiot....We beat the dog and NOT the child BECAUSE humans are smarter than dogs. You just proved the point moron.

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Mon, Sep 29, 2008, at 11:35 PM

I once had a dog, who according to DOCUMENTED TESTS, had the vocabulary (understood words) of a five-year-old. So, no, humans (young ones) are NOT always smarter than dogs.

The salient point is this - does a spray bottle work on a HOON??? (Bad boy! Bad boy! Spritz, spritz!)

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 7:09 AM

Humans may have the capacity to be smarter than dogs...but I often wonder if they are capable of using that capacity.

Jaymeeyh throws out a good point, and that's the way the world is. Though animals are our pets, and in my case, part of my family, we still treat them, and expect different things of them, than we do our own children. If we're going to have the animals, and claim they're a part of the family, we should treat them as such as well!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 11:35 AM

By the way HOON, in case you hadn't noticed, all those comments that you've made that people call you disrespectful for are grouped in the same category as the last one you made here. If you don't find it the least bit disrespectful calling someone an idiot or a moron, then you truly must not understand the meaning of disrespect. Grow up and learn that you don't necessarily have to use name calling on people just to get them to see your point, or even give a ****! It just makes them despise you more. And from some of the taken-aback posts I've seen you put on here lately about not understanding why you've been censored for this or that, I realize you do have the capacity to care.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 11:39 AM

So which is the pretense - the carefully constructed hate comments, or the occasional glimpses of compassion???

How much of it is TROLLING, and how much of it is TRUE??

No doubt that this blog could be just a bunch of animal lovers writing back and forth, agreeing with each other and exchanging dog food recipes. And then along comes hoon, scattering caution and common sense to the winds!

Hahahahaha! Sometimes (not on this blog, certainly!), hoon says the precise thing that I would like to!

Then, of course, there are the times when he goes TOO FAR! It must be hard to judge, when your mind is often so clouded with HUBRIS! (Look it up, hoon, and read closely....)

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 3:06 PM

Shut the hell up.....no growing up hear. I will continue to bang my head and beat my dog. GOAT...you really are an idiot if you are counting the words you think your dog can "speak".

Ruff Ruff (hope those two don't get me censored! hahahahahahahahah)

-- Posted by shannonhoon on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 11:46 AM

"Shut the hell up..." Just another example of my point. That's the best you could come up with? I'm not asking you to stop banging your head...I do the same when the music is right...but it doesn't mean I resort to telling people they're idiots, morons, or the like. Speaking your mind is one thing...making a mockery of yourself, and putting others down, is entirely another.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 3:10 PM

In reality, I don't mind hoon calling me an "idiot;" I call him that all the time and don't really mean it.

It may be time to initiate Project I-G-N-O-R-E...before we goad him into being so B-A-D that he crashes and burns! I'm seriously worried about his blood pressure on Corey's blog...

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 6:00 PM

Jaymee, I hope you're still reading this blog, because I need some advice. I'm fostering a stray (dumped) puppy who is really young - I'm guessing under three months, though I'm not good at estimating. I just got him today, and he's howling and yipping his head off out there in the pen. I can't keep him in the house; I have cats.

I've wormed him. All I have is SafeGuard goat wormer, but I got a vet's advice on that and Frontline.

I just took a stuffed toy out for the baby, but what else can I do? I'm sure he wants his mama!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Oct 7, 2008, at 6:10 PM

Tonight I wrapped up a hot water bottle in a towel and put it in with the puppy. That seems to have helped...

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Oct 7, 2008, at 9:13 PM

Well, the puppy has been adopted, so that problem is solved.......until the next one shows up!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Oct 9, 2008, at 6:09 PM

Update in the Goat Lady Blog: Just discovered that the puppy had ring worm and possibly whip worms, so I have to keep my dogs out of the pen until I can spray with bleach! ICK!

-- Posted by goat lady on Fri, Oct 10, 2008, at 6:43 AM

No posting on here since Oct. 10. Jaymee, I can't keep this thing going by myself!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Oct 21, 2008, at 9:32 PM

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Jaymeey Hatfield is a community activist who enjoys rescuing animals and helping people get information they need.
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