Crate Training… and a Thunder Shirt???

  • I would not use it for separation, it does help for noise and travel. Separation anxiety is tough, I have not had a dog with it yet, but have many friends that have gone thru hell with their whippets injuring themselves they would get so upset.

  • I had a very destructive foster dog that came with severe separation anxiety and used DAP (the plugin version) but it did nothing to calm him (finally found a home for him with a veterinary technician).
    With all my dogs I've always tried to work into the separation (need vacation time to make it work) – first disappearing (even just into another room) for short periods (15 minutes) then longer and longer up to 1/2 day and finally a full work day. As the time period increased I would leave them with bigger bones to keep them occupied while in their crate. On return, it is also important NOT to make of big deal of your return - act as if you never left.

  • @wizard:

    On return, it is also important NOT to make of big deal of your return - act as if you never left.

    A lot of people make the mistake of an enthusiastic greeting…...maybe because we want the dog to express their joy at seeing us. I consider it a job well done that my previously anxious dog now often won't even get up off the couch when we return. Not flattering, perhaps, but it is great to see him so relaxed and "matter of fact" about it. (I have to go away for a week to get a tail wag out of him!)

  • Thanks for all of the feedback. At this point we are willing to try ANYTHING that we can afford… except drugs. I really don't want to resort to having to drug our dog, but her separation anxiety is insane. My husband's parents went ahead and ordered the Thundershirt (mostly because they think it's cute) and I ordered the DAP today as well. When I am home, I am trying to do the gradual training method, but I have to leave the house... and when I do... all hell breaks loose. Today she actually eat up the tray in her crate. I was shocked. But we are not going to give up. Hopefully the Thundershirt, and the DAP will calm her down at least a little bit. At this time we can't get a second dog.... we are still trying to train this one. Please wish us luck. If you have any other ideas PLEASE let me know.

  • You could also go to the health food store and as for a homeopathic called Ignatia Amara.
    I have usd this to crate train many a basenji with excellent results. It has no side effects.
    It works because it just takes the edge off of there anxiety.
    Rescue Remedy also can be given.
    Let me know how you make ou.


  • I have used Rescue Remedy before at dog shows. Becca would get so wound up before going into the ring. I imagine it was mostly due to me. I have a bad case of Generalized Anxiety and now since I am on meds it's all good now…....

  • The thundershirt's a good idea, try putting it on when she's happy and "lovebombing" her–otherwise, if you only put it on her when you're leaving it'll add to the problem, not help.

    Also try music--I think country music is supposed to work best, but there are CD's for this purpose...try searching "music for dogs with anxiety"
    Try to minimize disruption & noise during the day while you're away--put a sign on the door telling people not to ring doorbell or knock, maybe put Zola's crate in part of the house where she can't hear cars drive by etc. But it should be kept in your main living area where you spend most of your time, which will reassure her, and if you can put it where sun will shine on her during the day and in a warm spot, that'll help too.

    But put yourself in her place: she's been uprooted & everytime you & your husband leave for work HER WHOLE WORLD goes out the door and she's ALONE--which is the absolute worst thing for a strongly pack oriented dog. There really aren't any quick fixes--you really need to go thru a protocol to desensitize her, as suggested by Wizard, above. It may seem silly and a lot a lot of work but it'll help teach her it's ok to be alone. I also had a foster with bad separation anxiety--he'd panic when I "disappeared" into the basement, shower or even left the room, screaming and urinating on the floor. But desensitizing him helped big time, and last I heard he's happy as a little clam with his adopted Dad & Mom, no separation anxiety at all.

  • @ZolasMommy:

    Thanks for all of the feedback. At this point we are willing to try ANYTHING that we can afford… except drugs. I really don't want to resort to having to drug our dog, but her separation anxiety is insane.

    It's such a tough call, isn't it? One thing to consider, just from the other side of the decision process, is to look at a medication that is specifically short term but intended to give you and she the time and head space to do the separation training. I am a human who has benefited from temporary anxiety medicine once (xanax), and it really did what I needed it to: it gave me the emotional ability to regroup, figure out the thing that was scaring me, and work through it. I was only on it for about 10 days. I'm not saying such a thing is the right path for you and your family, just that there other solutions between "no meds ever" and "meds for the rest of her life" 🙂 Indeed, in the case of separation anxiety, from what I understand, the medicines are only while the protocol is being taught. Something to consider.

    Anyway, my Simon has some anxiety issues that are a little longer term, and we decided after a lot of research to try L-theanine. It's herbal, over the counter, and I first saw it on the shy-k9 yahoo group. It is not a miracle fix, but it does what I am looking for: gives him the ability to engage in the training process instead of turning into terrified coyote boy. When they are that afraid, they cannot learn. (Neither can humans.)

    Meanwhile, I hope the DAP and thunder shirt do give some relief! Best of luck.

  • @lisastewart:

    I would not leave her in the crate with the thundershirt on as she would most likely strip it off and destroy it. Try DAP instead. Ita a natural pheromone. I've used the spray and wipes. I have friends who use the plug in diffuser. I do use the thundershirt on one is my dogs for traveling as she has travel anxiety.

    Everyone's experience with a product will be different. DAP might work for you, but it did absolutely nothing for Kipawa and I tried both the spray and the plug in diffuser.

  • Thanks so much for all of y'alls feedback. However, today was not a good day for our family. I am just going to start another thread to talk about it…..

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