Welcome to Pitbulls.org › Forums › Pit Bull Talk › Training › Separation Anxiety.
- This topic has 28 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 11 months ago by adamshk9.
April 25, 2010 at 7:54 am #14246
I have a question for all you APBT lovers out there! My baby Marley is going to be a year old next month, and still suffers from severe separation anxiety. We’ve tried leaving the T.V on or the radio and that still doesn’t help. Whenever one of us goes outside and leaves him inside, he watches out the window. We have to take him with us while we run to the store for something or he eats the whole house! If we leave him at a friends for a few minutes he attacks their bread and chip stash! We don’t like leaving him at home, and it’s usually not for more than half an hour if we do, but sometimes he just can’t come with – and we don’t want to leave him in a hot or cold car. We had a crate, but he chewed through it. Anybody have any tips on what we can do? When we’re home he’s the best behaved little guy on the face of the planet. He just doesn’t like being without his mommy and daddy.April 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm #15213mattParticipant
Chewed through the crate! That’s a persistent little guy.
Get one of the metal crates, I would say.
Does he have chew toys? The best thing we ever did was get ours a Kong and fill it with a treat that’s hard to get out.April 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm #15214jslinckParticipant
My pits love to play “treasure hunt” while I’m away. If you hide treats all over the house (and maybe a frozen bone) then they have something to do while you’re gone that is not destructive and satisfies their need to be busy. The only thing is they get really good at it, so you have to be creative.April 25, 2010 at 7:06 pm #15215
I’ve heard the Kong toys are amazing. We tried a metal crate as well, but I guess the metal was pretty thin cause somehow he bent his way out of it. He’s a strong little guy as well as persistent! If he doesn’t fit somewhere, he tries to squeeze through! We’ve tried rawhide bones and such, but he goes through one of those in fifteen minutes usually. But, I’ll definitely be getting him a Kong now! Thanks!April 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm #15216
I’ve tried that as well, and he tends to just not look for them. 🙁 I think he might be better if we had a companion for him. He’s really well behaved when left alone with another little buddy. He just gets so bored so easily!April 25, 2010 at 9:39 pm #15217mattParticipant
Got through the metal crate. Good night.
Yeah our dog goes through rawhides in seconds. Kong solves the problem. Well worth the money.April 26, 2010 at 8:46 am #15218sissadee2001Participant
My oldest APBT had horrible seperation anxiety. he would chew anything that belonged to my husband and I. Shoes, coats, hats, you name it he would tear it up. So we thought maybe he needed more exercise nope that didnt work, so we got him a friend. Since we got Lollie he has only tore up one thing and well it was totally my fault. I left it out and should of known better. Needless to say my feather pillow is no more. =) As far as Kong’s go my puppies have 4 of them and love them. You can even freeze them and make popsicles for your puppies!April 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm #15220
Sounds just like Marley!! He eats anything he knows we use or like!April 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm #15221bullypawsParticipant
A “friend” for him is not the answer. Try Kongs, TV, radio, music, etc.
Sounds as though this dog is more bored than anything. How much DAILY exercise do you give him?April 26, 2010 at 11:37 pm #15222genuwinesweetyParticipant
Separation anxiety: I think it is Caesar Milan that said… If you are the pack leader, the pack leader can leave anytime and naturally, the pack will not be upset. I suggest you be more of a Pack Leader…don’t let him do everything HE wants. Read up on it a little…he talks about simple things like.. you need to make sure YOU rather than the dog go out the door first, and back into the house first, he should eat AFTER you and lie down out of eyesight when you are eating, he needs walks where you are the leader and he has to follow. I made some small changes at first and they lead to others, nothing awful…just, how should I put it, a little “mean”. It puts the dog in his place and makes you the Master/Owner, not just a Pal. This is an important concept and will give you more control should you need it. He needs to obey and understand that you get to do whatever YOU want not what HE wants you to do. After all you are the human!April 29, 2010 at 6:33 am #15225christinaParticipant
my pitbull(thor) was abandoned when he was approx. 1year old. a friend found him and gave him to me. he was so malnurished that his gums bled when i gave him a chew toy and his head was bigger than his body. thor suffered severe seperation anxiety.he chewed everything and even destroyed my couch! i took him for long walks in the woods and let him run so that he would get out his energy,i gave him chew toys i also had another dog so thor was not alone.ive had him 5 years and he does not chew anything.hes such a great dog! after a while he knew that i would never abandon him.i think thats what stopped the seperation anxiety was time. i know that is not the case with most dogs but dont forget yours is still a puppy. it sounds like you are doing everything a good dog owner can do. have you talked to a vet for suggestions or ideas? good luck!April 29, 2010 at 7:15 am #15226christinaParticipant
i think dogs know who the “Pack Leader” is without being a little “mean”.dogs are very smart,and without the “Pack Leader” there is no food,water or shelter. not only that,dogs want to please their owner. dogs do communicate its the owners that dont listen and if a dog is being bad its because hes trying to get your attention and tell you something. i have a chow thats 15 years old and a pit that is 6yrs. old they dont need to be put “in their place” because they know without me they dont survive! i even allow my pit to sleep with me. sometimes i think he’s the boss!April 29, 2010 at 1:59 pm #15227Kotas MommyParticipant
I went through this with Dakota (now 21 months) very recently. As a puppy, she was fine. I crated her whenever I would leave and always gave her a chew toy and her teddy bear (which had a pulsing heartbeat) – at 6mos old she got very sick after coming home from an overnight vet stay in disgusting conditions.
My friends told me crating her would worsen her illness, so I began leaving her out. Dakota has never (ever) been destructive – never potty’d in the house, never chewed furniture or walls, never destroyed my belongings… or anything…. literally, ever!
This past December she started getting sick on car rides – even short rides to the store – every time! I still tried taking her on outings, but would leave her home now when I ran to the store or to a friends house.
One afternoon I came home and found her balled up in the corner shaking FRANTICALLY – at first I thought she had done something bad, but after searching the house I found nothing. This behavior continued – and it broke my heart to see her in this state literally EVERY time I came home. I did a lot of reading and even spoke to an applied animal behaviorist who specialized in separation anxiety. The advice I was given was to stop making my departures such a big deal.
Anytime I would leave the house, I would “baby” Dakota before I left. Seeing her trembling everytime I walked in the door was very upsetting to me, so I thought that by coddling her before I left she would start to learn that when I promised her I was coming back, I meant it. I was told to leave the house without saying a word or even looking at her. I tried that – but it made me feel bad – I had never left the house without telling her to be a good girl & that I love her and will be back soon. I stopped babying her, but I still say good-bye & tell her I will be back every time I leave.
The 2nd piece of advice I was given was about my arrival home – I used to walk in the door & go straight for Dakota, enthusiastically (to the point it was theatrical). I was told to walk in the door, put my keys away, take off my shoes, etc… and just let her come to me, naturally. And NEVER let scolding be the first contact upon arrival (even if the house is completely torn apart). I’ve never had to scold Dakota – but I began using this method of arrival (combined with giving her hugs & kisses & treats AFTER she has come to me) – and it worked very quickly.
For a week or so, I still found her in a corner when I came home, but the trembling had stopped. Finally, one day I came home and she was asleep on the couch – barely lifted her head when I walked in – and fell right back to sleep. She also doesn’t get car sick anymore (that took alot of positive reinforcement!!!) so she gets to ride with me more often, but I think its good to leave them home sometimes and keep them used to you being gone.
Some other things I have tried are classical music cds, calming charms & oils and leaving a sweatshirt or blanket with my scent for her to sleep on. Just like us, each dog has their own unique personality, so what works for one may not be successful for another. I agree with the previous post that it takes time – but be persistent and he should be just fine.
Another thing I wanted to mention was about establishing the chain of command in the house. While yes, dogs are very intelligent – they don’t “just know” who is alpha! If you ever try to introduce an alpha dog into a family with an existing alpha – you’ll find this out right away. Dogs are pack animals – two dominant personalities will most times work out the order (in rare cases they can’t work it out) – but it won’t be worked out without combat to some degree. It is essential YOU establish this with your dog as well. This can be done without hitting or delivering negative punishment to your dog, but (ESPECIALLY with this breed) it is very important you stand firm with your dog and teach him that he is not the king of the castle. He will much better off and respect you more in the long run!May 1, 2010 at 1:58 am #15244
Actually, a friend was the answer. We’re currently living with my husbands parents. They have a Brittany Spaniel and Marley does AWESOMELY with her. We can leave when-ever without him attacking their bread/food/couch!
Our family is big on outdoor activities. Marley and I go for 3 to 5 mile walks/runs a day. He also gets to play with other dogs now and runs in the yard with our horses. I understand that most people go automatically to thinking “oh they just don’t exercise him enough!” But, that’s not the case here. And, as the weather keeps getting increasingly better, he gets even more outside time. 🙂May 1, 2010 at 2:02 am #15245
Marley doesn’t get a big performance when we leave or return. Everything goes pretty smoothly. When we come home he just prances around like he’s done nothing wrong. After 10 – 15 minutes we take him to whatever he’s torn up, scold him and sometimes he gets a pat on the hiney. (you can say anything you want to about that but I know what works in discipline for my dog) After that’s done, he gets a lot of love and our day finishes as normal. Music/TV hasn’t worked. But thank you for your story!
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