Separation Anxiety

Do be careful what meds you use; make sure your vet/behaviorist is familiar with Basenjis. Keoki had REALLY BAD reactions to Acepromazine – which I was later told should never have been used -- he became an insane drunk dog for about four hours. It was horrible.

Then we used Torbutrol for a few days followed by Busipirone, which DID calm his behavior, but it also changed his personality. He wandered around calmly, with his little tail hanging down; seemed more fearful of things.... I didn't like it. For me, it was three strikes and you're out,so we dropped meds entirely.
That was when I switched to the ex-pen and just hurried out so I wouldn't hear him screaming. He doesn't scream any more {it's been five months since we stopped all meds}, but he does go into destructo-mode.
We don't try to crate him any more, but keep both B's together in an ex-pen when we leave. We do leave the crates in the pen for them, but I may have to re-think that plan as he is chewing the daylights out of the OUTside of both crates. He NEVER chews them when we're home, and we do leave things for him to chew on. [darn it, Jazzy's was brand-new. 😞 ] , so I know it's a reaction to being left.

I am fortunate in that I don't work outside the home, so we seldom have to leave him. If we had to leave him every day, I don't know what I would have done.

Anyway, somehow this long story was just supposed to be a caution – watch your dog for real changes on meds. I don't want to seem to be discounting meds because I know that many work and are sometimes completely necessary. But I wouldn't use them and leave the dog alone the first time or two. Try them out in such a way that you can observe the effect in your dog.

{Also, Bach's Rescue Remedy is alcohol based, as I learned while using it; not really a great plan as the alcohol is tougher on a dog's system than on a humans.}

Yes to both of the above posts. Acepromazine is a sedative…not really a great choice for anxiety related problems. And, yes some dogs respond poorly to even the best choice of medication. And the best bet for a good medication/behavioral modification plan is going to come from a veterinary behaviorist...someone trained in both the medical and behavioral aspects of dogs. You may have to do some searching to find one in your area...but it is definitely worth it, IMO

@Quercus:

yes some dogs respond poorly to even the best choice of medication. And the best bet for a good medication/behavioral modification plan is going to come from a veterinary behaviorist…someone trained in both the medical and behavioral aspects of dogs. You may have to do some searching to find one in your area...but it is definitely worth it, IMO

Thank you for your help, & thanks everyone else for your stories and support. The vet said Clomipramine (Clomicalm), but dogs take that daily. I have a home office, so she's fine when I'm here, but I leave for 2 hours 3x a week. Crating is out. Can't take her with me, or leave her in the car. Giving her the house no longer works; I'm now afraid she'll hurt herself. Is there a mild relaxing something that can be used as needed? Victoria thanks you for your help!

@Leigh:

Thank you for your help, & thanks everyone else for your stories and support. The vet said Clomipramine (Clomicalm), but dogs take that daily. I have a home office, so she's fine when I'm here, but I leave for 2 hours 3x a week. Crating is out. Can't take her with me, or leave her in the car. Giving her the house no longer works; I'm now afraid she'll hurt herself. Is there a mild relaxing something that can be used as needed? Victoria thanks you for your help!

If this were my dog, I would still give her the Clomicalm daily while you work on resolving the issues with behavior modification. This is a deep problem for the dog, and although you have set it up so that you rarely need to be away from the home..that, obviously won't change the root behavior of the dog. There may be times where you must be away more; so IMO it would be best to take the time now to work on the behavior using whatever means you must, so that in the future you won't have to worry about a change to your schedule.

In my experience, no, there isn't anything mild that is going to fix this problem. You could liken it to a human with a panic disorder trying to medicate it with alcohol….kwim? It may work at the moment, but it doesn't fix the problem, and isn't very healthy for you.

Lots and lots of dogs have really had a lot of success with Clomicalm, and it doesn't need to be a lifetime drug. The intention is to get the dog calm enough that behavior modification works.

You may feel more comfortable making a decision about what the right course of action for Victoria will be if you consult with a veterinary behavorist. A person that comes into your home and meets with you and your dog, sees your home setup, and works with you to develop a long term plan for helping Victoria. I think that knowing what the goals are will help you to know which path is best for you and Victoria.

Dash had serious separation anxiety for at least 2 years. We had the same results-bloody paws and everthing anywhere near his crate was destroyed in seconds. We got a second dog and put them in the expen. That worked for awhile. Then Dash decided he didn't like the expen so we got a doggie door and he goes in and out into our fenced yard as he wishes. We did speak to a trainer that said most severe sep dogs can not be crated.

That worked for us. I am not sure if any of that is an option for you. Good luck!

This is directed to everyone, not just Leigh:

Be very watchful if you put your dog on Clomicalm. My boy had a moderate allergic reaction to it after a few days (extreme lethargy, vomiting, no appetite, lots of head shaking), and I had to take him off it and use behavior modification techniques only.

Also, please be aware that any medication in and of itself is not going to cure the problem, you still need to employ behavior modification techniques while giving it, so that when the medication is slowly removed, the dog keeps the good behavior he's learned from your patient training. I can't imagine anyone who's cool with keeping their dogs on a tranquilizer for the rest of his life.

Leigh, I wanted to PM you about someone who might be able to help you if you ask, but I don't seem to have the ability to PM…

@dash:

Dash had serious separation anxiety for at least 2 years. We had the same results-bloody paws and everthing anywhere near his crate was destroyed in seconds. We got a second dog and put them in the expen. That worked for awhile. Then Dash decided he didn't like the expen so we got a doggie door and he goes in and out into our fenced yard as he wishes. We did speak to a trainer that said most severe sep dogs can not be crated.

That worked for us. I am not sure if any of that is an option for you. Good luck!

Yes, I do not think we'd have made the progress we have with Keoki if we hadn't had Jazzy. I think it's the fact that she is in the ex-pen w/him that keeps him from going totally insane.

@Leigh:

Thank you for your help, & thanks everyone else for your stories and support. The vet said Clomipramine (Clomicalm), but dogs take that daily. I have a home office, so she's fine when I'm here, but I leave for 2 hours 3x a week. Crating is out. Can't take her with me, or leave her in the car. Giving her the house no longer works; I'm now afraid she'll hurt herself. Is there a mild relaxing something that can be used as needed? Victoria thanks you for your help!

The behaviorist that worked with Keoki also mentioned that while our lifestyle – homeschooling family -- did indeed eliminate the need for him to have to be left alone every day, it also possibly exacerbated the separation problem because we were ALWAYS there, and then every once in a while we disappeared and he'd freak out.

Might be worth it to leave the house every day, even if you just take a 30 minute walk by yourself, to get her accustomed to being alone more often and to help her learn that yes, she CAN breathe if you are not home.

Thank you for your help and your kindness. I'm discussing it with my vet/behaviorist and doing lots of research. My girl has had so much loss, plus she's timid to boot. She's afraid of things: noise, people, her reflection, dogs, me leaving. Behavior mod has already helped many things: her tail is now up, she now plays tricks and chase with me, she steals, she gardens, has a new dog friend & loves grooming. When I'm here, she's not so glued to me anymore, hangs around the yard & other rooms. Some things got better, sep anxiety got worse, but I feel positive about the work ahead of us. Thanks again. I'll keep you posted.

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