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Old 09-18-2018, 09:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Separation Anxiety

We love our 1.5 year old Basset, Columbo. Unfortunately, he suffers from some major separation anxiety, and I would love to hear if there is anything we can do to make our guy less stressed.

To give you some context: I'm either at home with him (I work from home), or he goes to camp (2x/week), and he comes with us almost everywhere. However, there are some times when we need to leave him at home alone.

When we do leave him at home alone, we set up the bathroom (the only room we can really close off to limit his run of the house) with his bed, water, etc. When we're leaving, we can hear him barking and when we return, it's clear that he's been drooling and shuffling in/out of the tub. When we've left food in there with him, he doesn't eat it (so it seems like he's been stressed out). We're never gone for long (1 hour, 2 hours max), but it's stressful for all of us to leave him.

We've started to experiment with leaving him in the living room (with a gate) after a camp day, when he's suuuuuuuuper tired. He's seemed good, but we realize him being "dog" tired from camp helps. Our plan is to keep leaving him for longer and longer stretches in the living room alone, but I am terrified I will walk in and find that he's eaten something we couldn't anticipate.

More context: Columbo will eat things he shouldn't, especially when he's bored. We've already gone through a huge surgery with him to remove a rock that he ate, and we're worried something like that will happen again.

If anyone has sage advice on separation anxiety (or rock eating), we are ALL EARS! Thank you!

ps - thanks to all of you who have contributed to this forum! Especially when Columbo was a puppy, I was on here all the time. xoxo
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Can he be crated because if he can, crate with top and sides covered, that should make him a nice safe den where he can go when you can't supervise him. The bathroom could be ok as long as he can't get into drinking from the loo, for starters. He shouldn't need food with him if you are only out for a short time - water yes. I'd think the bathroom would be better than the living room where he could, and maybe will if he's lonely and bored, get hold of many things that could be dangerous to him, and expensive for you!!

Wearing a muzzle should prevent him getting into stones, but I really don't like to have to resort to that.

Do you leave a radio on, playing calm (classical) music and on low, when you go out. That can help.

Time your need to be out to fit in with after he's had exercise and the other things he needs attended to, so he gets to learn about a time for him, and a time not for him, you there, or not. When you do leave, don't make a big deal of the 'leaving'. I tend to call 'be good' when we leave our two, no prior cuddles or fuss. And we have them in our kitchen with a baby gate across the door so they don't have to be actually shut in. We don't leave them with the full run of the house - we rent and I don't want unexpected mess. I have to say that a lot of this so-called separation anxiety is just them getting into a strop about not going with you! In otherwise it has become a rather over-sued term.
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