Our male b named Benji is 14.5 months and we brought him home a few days prior to Toronto (Canada) going into lockdown for the first time when covid hit last March 2020. Right from the start we identified separation anxiety, and after doing tons of research and listening to the advice of a separation anxiety trainer, it was confirmed that Benji's behaviours was that of SA. We learned that as long as he was with someone (doesn't have to be mom or dad) he would get on OK. My husband and I went into panic mode - reason this is such an issue is that once the world goes back to normal in Toronto (whenever that is), my husband and I work long days - avg 8-9 hours away from home 5 days a week. He's already been sent home from doggy day care from having an "incident" with another intact dog.
Having tried almost everything to see what would work - observing behaviours through desensitization training via puppy cam in the crate while left alone, vs. free roam in our condo while left alone, kong toys, puzzle toys, calming tv/radio, tshirt smellng like us, pheremone diffusers, CBD oil, natural aid called Anxitane - an amino acid that helps to calm, you name it.
What we filtered down to by mid-August (5 months into trial and error) was a combination of some of the above: a thorough desensitization training protocol provided by our trainer (average 5 days per week, short 15-30m sessions), pheremone diffuser - Adaptil, and the natural aid Anxitane two times a day. We have been fully committed since, which makes it almost 7 months. PS - if anyone has ever read Malena DeMartini's Separation Anxiety in Dogs protocol, then you know how granular this training really is! I think there are 5 Phases where you start off really easy and then implement time and distance to eventually be out of view, then eventually go to a full absence outside of the home. Although we made great progress in the beginning building a foundation for us to be able to get to the front door of the condo, we have made very slow progress from an overall standpoint - only being able to leave the condo for less than 1m before he exhibits true signs of anxiety and panic. The idea of the training is you never want to hit their threshold of panic, so its baby steps upon baby steps...
After consulting with our trainer and vet, it was agreed that the next route is medication. I truly believe this will help as we will be supplementing the training with his meds - gotta thing positive here as we are running out of options. We have done Benji's blood work and his results came back excellent. Now the next step is choosing which medication. The vet recommended either Clomipramine (also known as clomicalm) or Fluoxetine (also known as Prozac). Start on one of the medications and if for whatever reason it doesn't work after a month or so, we can wean off and try the other.
Now the question is for any of you folks who have gone through a similar situation - getting your b on medication for separation anxiety - I would be curious to know your experiences with either of those medications? I of course understand that every b is different and dogs can react differently. I am more just curious to hear stories, that's all.
Bonus points for anyone who is familiar with this separation anxiety protocol as I'd love to chat on that as well!
Wish us luck wth the whole SA thing and medication route.
Hi everyone, our 6 month old basenji is food obsessed and has unfortunately had an incident or two finding food scraps / chicken bones on the street and trying to consume (we've been able to remove quickly from his mouth). he is a city basenji and we live in an urban area.
his love of food has been great from training perspective since he is so highly food motivated, but challenging when taking him for walks. he is constantly pulling and sniffing around which means we often don't get a lot of distance covered during the walk. this is okay, because we have been doing clicker training and using commands like "focus" and "touch" for recall and its been working great. however our main concern is when he is too quick for us and grabs a piece of food or worse, a tossed out bone on the street. we have been using the "leave it" command and it works well if its a low value object (like a fluff or a weird stick). if its food related/high value, he doesn't let go and we have to take it out of his mouth.
has anyone had similar experiences with their b? if so, any tips or guidance would be greatly appreciated! we are starting to wonder if we should consider a muzzle for safety as he's caught chicken bones one too many times. this morning he actually tried eating a piece of plastic that he found (i was surprised because he usually only tries to consume food related objects) and when i tried to remove it from his mouth his bite caught my finger and drew blood
@zande its a little harsh to suggest we're treating him like a toy that we're "putting in a cupboard when he's inconvenient for us." as mentioned, we're simply trying to get him comfortable with us being away as we'll eventually have to do so when going to work...during that time, we'll also be ensuring that his time apart isn't for a full 8 hour day, especially as a young puppy, and rather broken into at least two intervals with one of us coming home or a dog walker or a family member. as it stands, he also likes being in his crate overnight right beside our bed (safe space) so that doesn't seem to be an issue whatsoever.. plus we're simply just trying to understand what the best approach is for him to be left alone when we go back to work.
we really appreciate your upfrontness and transparency about this...maybe you're suggesting the right approach...we're new at this and so we'll message you to discuss further! again, we appreciate you taking the time to provide advice.
@elbrant that’s great advice, thanks for sharing! we make sure to take him for a walk every morning and play once he returns and has had his meal; of course, once we start working we’ll be ensuring we tire him out to his heart’s content before we leave! with respect to leaving entirely when training him as if we’re away for work, we’ve just been hesitant given how loud he could be within our condo walls BUT understand that there’s no way around it if we truly want to train him to be comfortable with us leaving since we’ll eventually be leaving for work for real...so we’ll make sure to actually leave for the next few days and see how it goes. thanks again (ps - we’re also going to try leaving a t shirt with our smell in his crate to comfort him).
@tanza just to clarify, we aren’t crating him all day then all again when we’re back...we’re actually on vacation right now to spend as much time as we can taking care of him, getting him familiar with his new environment and training him to set him up for success. We have been crating him in small intervals during the day in order to practice for how it will be like when we head to work during the day outside of which he is out of his crate and roaming freely...and as mentioned, we’ll be ensuring to break his day into two once we go back to work by coming home at lunch/ dog walker/ family visit/ etc.
our main concern is getting him to be comfortable with being crated during the day when we start go back to working...
Hi all - for those that remember, our little guy Benji had trouble adjusting to sleeping in the Vari Kennel crate overnight. After switching to a wire crate, he's been sleeping quietly every night in his wire crate beside our bed. He doesn't seem to be anxious whatsoever with sleeping in there.
However, we are now faced with him screaming in his crate any time we put him in there during the day, whether we are in the same room, a room nearby or outside of our condo. He also pees (very little) in there out of frustration. We have made sure to give lots of positive reinforcement whenever he's quiet, we feed him his food and water in there, also give him bully sticks and keep a toy and nylabone for his entertainment.
We both work full-time and will be returning to work mid-way through next week. Of course, we'll be making sure that we break his day up by coming home at lunch/ having a family member/ friend drop by to take him out for a potty break so he's not in there for more than 4 hours.
Any tips on how we can ensure he's comfortable enough not to scream constantly (regardless of if we are here or not); Also, any tips on how we can get him to stop peeing out of frustration? PS - we have a camera set up to see what he's up to when we're not in the room and he screams the same.