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Categories: Separation Anxiety

Q. When we leave our 11-month-old in the kennel and comeback, his legs and belly are soaked. We believe he has separation anxiety. Any suggestions for us?
Ed,

I have an 11 month, almost one year, old German shepherd. Great dog, me and my wife love him to death. I have been working with him a lot on obedience lately and he is very eager to learn. He does a good job, I think he should have been a stand in for the energizer bunny though. The problem I have been having with him is I think he may have a bit of a separation anxiety issue. We have been trying so much to help him with this problem but it seems as thought nothing is working. Gunner has been houstrained since he was about 2 months old, no accidents in the house, never has accidents in the house. Now when we go to leave to kennel him we come back to the poor guy's legs and belly being soaked and have to clean him and his kennel up. We have tried everything, I have tried kong toys with treats in them to keep him busy, tried leaving some country music on for him, chew toys with him in his crate. Really not sure what else to try. We never make a big deal out of leaving, just make it seem as though it is normal as well as when we return. We have tried exercising him before we leave and kennel him. I am running out of ideas. Any suggestion on what to do? I hate leaving him and hearing him just go nuts that we are leaving. What else can I try?

Also, love your website, have downloaded a lot of your podcasts and read many of your articles. And the other thing I just thought of, I really don't think he does not like his crate, when we are sitting around at home, he will just go in his crate and fall asleep! That's what is really leading me to think he may have some separation anxiety!

Thanks much
Adam and Brooke

A. We have a Q&A section on separation anxiety that may help you.

I’ve found that beefing up the structure helps, as well as a Tritronics Bark Limiter when you have to kennel him. Sometimes stopping the barking in the crate stops all the other behaviors as well (I have a dog that suffers from separation anxiety).

You may also want to read this short article on crates. Even if your dog is not trying to escape the crate, you may find the advice there helpful.

In addition to training and exercise, I also use Calm Shen daily in my dog's food. It doesn’t make their overall behavior any different but just seems to help them cope with anxiety a little better. It’s something you need to give twice daily, every day.

Dealing with separation anxiety is something you will manage in some fashion for the dog’s lifetime. It’s not something you can typically train completely away, it’s part of their temperament. My dog (almost 6 now) is SO much better but the anxiety still is evident at times.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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