Jump to content
BC Boards

Separation Anxiety


Guest echoica
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest echoica

Like the title says...

 

My first recuse, Casey (a Border Collie mix) has severe separation anxiety - ALWAYS an issue from the time I adopted him from the shelter at 10 weeks. While getting a 2nd dog (Rikku) has helped when I have to leave to go some where solo - I still cannot take her with me and leave him alone - even if it is a short potty break. I have tried every type of training possible (ignoring, repetition of leaving etc) and he still has issues stressing out when he is left alone (I think this goes hand in hand with how submissive and timid he is as well). He is completely housebroken and crate trained despite the anxiety. I have had 2 neighbors complain now about his incessant barking when I go out with the other dog (sometimes I like to do separate activities!) - AGAIN, no problem if she is left behind with him. So now I am thinking of asking the vet about medication.

 

Have any of you had any experience with using drugs for separation anxiety? Side effects? Efficacy?

 

Thanks! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shoshone has never been officially diagnosed with SA, but I would bet the farm that she's got it, and fairly severely. We did a trial run of Clomicalm, (generic is clomiprimine) about 6 or 7 yrs ago, and have never looked back. We don't see any side effects, the first few days she was a bit sleepy, but that went away quickly.

 

We're lucky to have a world class behaviorist close by, Trish is not a veterinary behaviorist, but is very, very, very good. When I took Shonie to see her, at the end of the 2 hour session, I asked if she thought medication might be appropriate. She said, "I'm not a vet, but for Shoshone, I think there's a good chance it could be helpful." My regular vet was willing to prescribe, and off we went.

 

Having said that, barking incessantly isn't always SA. Barking is a self rewarding thing, and Casey could be just letting the world know he's not happy being left. How is he when you come in - is he frantic, is there evidence that he's been chewing at the crate or the like?

 

I don't have any ideas about what to do for this problem, and I don't think that a medication alone would fix Casey's barking even if it is SA related. For what it's worth, many dogs with SA can not be left in crates, they get too frantic and injure themselves trying to get out and be with their person.

 

Good luck, I hope you find some answers.

 

Ruth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest echoica
Shoshone has never been officially diagnosed with SA, but I would bet the farm that she's got it, and fairly severely. We did a trial run of Clomicalm, (generic is clomiprimine) about 6 or 7 yrs ago, and have never looked back. We don't see any side effects, the first few days she was a bit sleepy, but that went away quickly.

 

We're lucky to have a world class behaviorist close by, Trish is not a veterinary behaviorist, but is very, very, very good. When I took Shonie to see her, at the end of the 2 hour session, I asked if she thought medication might be appropriate. She said, "I'm not a vet, but for Shoshone, I think there's a good chance it could be helpful." My regular vet was willing to prescribe, and off we went.

 

Having said that, barking incessantly isn't always SA. Barking is a self rewarding thing, and Casey could be just letting the world know he's not happy being left. How is he when you come in - is he frantic, is there evidence that he's been chewing at the crate or the like?

 

I don't have any ideas about what to do for this problem, and I don't think that a medication alone would fix Casey's barking even if it is SA related. For what it's worth, many dogs with SA can not be left in crates, they get too frantic and injure themselves trying to get out and be with their person.

 

Good luck, I hope you find some answers.

 

Ruth

 

It's definitely SA - he otherwise never barks (unless I give him the speak command of course). And, yes he is VERY frantic when coming or leaving. It takes him around 15 minutes to settle ignoring him completely. And he has been this way since a pup too. I have NEVER, since I got him, rewarded the excitement. He is ok in the crate. Never injured himself in it but I do provide lots of chews in there for him to take it out on and he does! Recently I tried giving him more space by just shutting him in the bedroom but he chewed a hole in the bottom of the door. It should be noted too that he is a very excitable dog in general. If anyone pays ANY attention to him he goes over threshold - and he is very well exercised - mentally and physically. Completed several levels of obedience. It's like night and day this excitement thing - Seriously, he is the laziest, quietest dog ever when he is just hanging out around me and my other dog. I think anti-anxiety medication might just have to be the next step because there is nothing else left. I have had him over a year and it has been constant, persistent and consistent training for his anxiety this whole time...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest echoica
I don't have anything against medication... one of my foster dogs were on Clomicalm for SA as well. But have you tried anything like Rescue Remedy or a DAP diffuser? Just a thought...

 

Could you elaborate...I know nothing of these 2 things you mention :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ya, sorry. I'm on a yahoo group for shy dogs and everyone knows what these are! My bad!

 

Rescue Remedy is a natural mix of flower essences that can have a calming effect on both humans and animals. I've heard of it working on dogs, but never tried it myself, but my boyfriends mom takes it when she has to fly and it keeps her pretty calm.

 

http://www.naturalcanine.com/html/rescue_r...CFQUMDQodogLSZg

 

 

DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) can come in a diffuser (like glade plug-ins), collar or in a spray. It is natural canine pheromones and I've heard of quite a bit of success with it from dog owners in a couple of yahoo lists.

 

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/behavior/a...ehaviorprob.htm

 

I am one of those people who would try natural remedies first before medication. That is the only reason I suggested them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest echoica
Ya, sorry. I'm on a yahoo group for shy dogs and everyone knows what these are! My bad!

 

Rescue Remedy is a natural mix of flower essences that can have a calming effect on both humans and animals. I've heard of it working on dogs, but never tried it myself, but my boyfriends mom takes it when she has to fly and it keeps her pretty calm.

 

http://www.naturalcanine.com/html/rescue_r...CFQUMDQodogLSZg

DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) can come in a diffuser (like glade plug-ins), collar or in a spray. It is natural canine pheromones and I've heard of quite a bit of success with it from dog owners in a couple of yahoo lists.

 

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/behavior/a...ehaviorprob.htm

 

I am one of those people who would try natural remedies first before medication. That is the only reason I suggested them.

 

 

interesting...thanks for the info!! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dean is on Clomipramine (Clomicalm) for noise phobia. He had mild separation anxiety that was actually staring to escalate notably about the time I talked to the vet about medication for the noise phobia.

 

When he went on the Clomipramine, his separation anxiety disappeared and we haven't had issues with it since.

 

I'm also one to try natural remedies first, but Dean definitely needed the meds.

 

It will be two years in June and he hasn't had any issues with side effects or anything. He's totally still himself. He just has the ability to recover from noise phobic panics now, and he is fine when we leave the house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest echoica
Dean is on Clomipramine (Clomicalm) for noise phobia. He had mild separation anxiety that was actually staring to escalate notably about the time I talked to the vet about medication for the noise phobia.

 

When he went on the Clomipramine, his separation anxiety disappeared and we haven't had issues with it since.

 

I'm also one to try natural remedies first, but Dean definitely needed the meds.

 

It will be two years in June and he hasn't had any issues with side effects or anything. He's totally still himself. He just has the ability to recover from noise phobic panics now, and he is fine when we leave the house.

 

thanks for responding. from what i am hearing so far it seems that clomicalm is quite popular and effective. i will have to ask the vet about it...i just want casey to have some relief. poor guy...getting this stressed out...he clearly thinks we are abandoning him every time we go out. probably has a lot to do with his removal from his mother too early. he got to stay with the rest of the litter for a few weeks though *at least* before the spca started adopting them out. i just feel so horrible about this situation. more for him than me of course...i'll move if i have to!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for responding. from what i am hearing so far it seems that clomicalm is quite popular and effective. i will have to ask the vet about it...i just want casey to have some relief. poor guy...getting this stressed out...he clearly thinks we are abandoning him every time we go out. probably has a lot to do with his removal from his mother too early. he got to stay with the rest of the litter for a few weeks though *at least* before the spca started adopting them out. i just feel so horrible about this situation. more for him than me of course...i'll move if i have to!

 

Dean was taken from his mother early, too (not by us). I've always wondered if that is a factor in his later development of Separation Anxiety.

 

Then, at 8 months old, he was surrendered to rescue. The rescue was a fantastic environment, but he still lost the only home and people he had known since he was 6 weeks old. Then, after two and a half months in the rescue, we adopted him. Another loss of everything he had come to know.

 

It struck me that Separation Anxiety was pretty logical in a dog with that particular background. Maybe he would have developed it under perfect circumstances, though. You really never know.

 

Technically, you are supposed to do training with the dog once the meds have reached therapeutic levels (it did take a few months for that), but since we were using it for noise phobia, we never did the Separation Anxiety training. His Separation Anxiety still subsided in a major way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jack developed SA in June 2008 and he has pretty much been on generic Clomicalm since then. We worked with a veterinary behaviorist and his prescribed dosage was much higher than my regular vet---50 mg morning and night. This past December we weaned him down to just 50 mg in the morning which is when he is usually alone. The Clomicalm did not make the SA disappear, it just helped him cope a little better. It took several months before he adjusted to the high dose and stopped being so dopey. It also took the edge off of his noise phobia/hatred of thunderstorms.

 

However, the presciption was only part of his treatment. The vet. behaviorist had several changes we had to make in our environment, actions, etc. to help him deal with our departures better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buster has been on Clomicalm for a couple weeks now. We started him on 1/4 tablet twice a day, we are up to 1/2 twice a day, and I think we are going to stay at this dosage for now. He had a really bad reaction to Prozac, it turned him into a fearful zombiedog. I have posted at lenghth about Buster's SA. We did go to a veterinary behaviorist, it was the best thing I could have done for him. Some of the things she suggested didn't work - Nothing in Life is Free didn't work at all, when asked to work for his treats, he shuts down. The same thing with learning 'stay" he sees it as a punishment. But he knows that he isn't allowed to leave the family room without an invitation and it doesn't bother him. Buster was in danger of fatally hurting himself in his attempts to get out. So now when the weather is nice, he spends his days in the yard, on the vet's advice, not my first choice, but it is working for him. My husband built him a small room, there is room for his crate and room a few feet of space around the crate, but not enough that he can climb up, and nothing he can claw or chew through. He hasn't been in there more than twice, the weather has been good enough that he can be out - he has a petdoor into an outbuilding that has a nice place for him to sleep, it seems to be working for him. The drugs have made him a much happier dog. We started letting him sleep in the bedroom with us, and in the beginning when I said doggy bedtime, he slunk down the hallway with his tail tucked, now he bops down the hall, wagging and happy. My best advice, have your dog evaluated by a vet behaviorist, it was the best thing we did for Buster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The idea behind using medication is that it ameliorates the problem enough so that training has a chance to take hold (gets a foot in the door, as it were). My Solo had severe separation anxiety, with vocalization being his main reaction; he was neither destructive nor did he soil the house. He is an anxious dog in general, and it was clear that he was panicked at being left alone (drooling, dilated pupils, other frantic behaviors) and not just enjoying the sound of his own voice.

 

He has been on a combination of amitryptyline (generic Elavil) and fluoxetine (generic Prozac) for years now. Some dogs can be weaned off meds, others can't, Solo is one of the latter. His quality of life is excellent and he is behaviorally normal in most situations -- he is unremarkable to most people who see him. We practiced extensive behavior modification exercises as well as the stuff you've probably been doing (leaving/returning over and over again, ignoring upon your return, etc.). His separation anxiety has been basically cured for years. He'll counter surf if left alone for long enough, but it's more of a boredom thing now than a panicky thing, and back when he had SA he was too petrified when alone to do anything like that.

 

In my experience, "natural" remedies are often useless because their mechanism of action is either unknown or the dosages are not controlled. In addition, if "natural" remedies work, the fact of the matter is that they are drugs. They are simply chemicals, just like something that came out of a lab, except that they have all sorts of other unknown or uncontrolled crap in them. I would personally rather know exactly what is going into my dog than waste time dicking around with "natural" remedies which yes, I did try and yes, were largely useless. (The exception was DAP, which is not "natural" in the sense that it is a synthetic version of a natural pheromone, but it is not something that you administer to the dog but rather use in his environment). I also believe in cases of SA that it makes more sense to medicate sooner than later -- why let the condition progress to the point that it is going to be very difficult to treat before treating it? That makes about as much sense as letting the tumor grow before removing it. Dogs with SA are usually under quite a bit of distress and to me the more humane thing is to nip the condition in the bud, especially since it almost always gets worse over time, not better.

 

If SA is your dog's only problem then it is quite likely he will be on the meds for a short time, be weaned off, and be OK thereafter. If he is generally anxious, like Solo is, then he may benefit from being on meds for life, but only a veterinary behaviorist will be able to help you determine this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest echoica
The idea behind using medication is that it ameliorates the problem enough so that training has a chance to take hold (gets a foot in the door, as it were). My Solo had severe separation anxiety, with vocalization being his main reaction; he was neither destructive nor did he soil the house. He is an anxious dog in general, and it was clear that he was panicked at being left alone (drooling, dilated pupils, other frantic behaviors) and not just enjoying the sound of his own voice.

 

He has been on a combination of amitryptyline (generic Elavil) and fluoxetine (generic Prozac) for years now. Some dogs can be weaned off meds, others can't, Solo is one of the latter. His quality of life is excellent and he is behaviorally normal in most situations -- he is unremarkable to most people who see him. We practiced extensive behavior modification exercises as well as the stuff you've probably been doing (leaving/returning over and over again, ignoring upon your return, etc.). His separation anxiety has been basically cured for years. He'll counter surf if left alone for long enough, but it's more of a boredom thing now than a panicky thing, and back when he had SA he was too petrified when alone to do anything like that.

 

In my experience, "natural" remedies are often useless because their mechanism of action is either unknown or the dosages are not controlled. In addition, if "natural" remedies work, the fact of the matter is that they are drugs. They are simply chemicals, just like something that came out of a lab, except that they have all sorts of other unknown or uncontrolled crap in them. I would personally rather know exactly what is going into my dog than waste time dicking around with "natural" remedies which yes, I did try and yes, were largely useless. (The exception was DAP, which is not "natural" in the sense that it is a synthetic version of a natural pheromone, but it is not something that you administer to the dog but rather use in his environment). I also believe in cases of SA that it makes more sense to medicate sooner than later -- why let the condition progress to the point that it is going to be very difficult to treat before treating it? That makes about as much sense as letting the tumor grow before removing it. Dogs with SA are usually under quite a bit of distress and to me the more humane thing is to nip the condition in the bud, especially since it almost always gets worse over time, not better.

 

If SA is your dog's only problem then it is quite likely he will be on the meds for a short time, be weaned off, and be OK thereafter. If he is generally anxious, like Solo is, then he may benefit from being on meds for life, but only a veterinary behaviorist will be able to help you determine this.

 

 

Thanks for your insight Melanie! Casey is generally anxious as well. I also hope that medication will soothe him in other ways as well like it did for your Solo - he is very timid and must be introduced to everything slowly (a good recent example of this was when I brought out the tape measure...yep, a tape measure...tail between the legs and ran to the bedroom...clearly an overreaction...Rikku licked it lol). And the SA has taken a turn for the worse lately. Strangely enough, Rikku helps with his SA when she is around, alleviating his need to search for me and go into panic...but at the same time she has also made it worse because he now reacts much more strongly then he ever did with me leaving when RIKKU leaves!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We use a DAP diffuser and Rescue Remedy with our anxious dog. That was enough to take the edge off for us to do the counter conditioning in Patricia McConnell's book I'll Be Home Soon (which was an amazing tool working with our SA dog). If the DAP and RR had not been enough I wouldn't have hesitated to use medications.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest echoica
We use a DAP diffuser and Rescue Remedy with our anxious dog. That was enough to take the edge off for us to do the counter conditioning in Patricia McConnell's book I'll Be Home Soon (which was an amazing tool working with our SA dog). If the DAP and RR had not been enough I wouldn't have hesitated to use medications.

 

Thanks! I will check out the book too! Lots of great advice...thank you all so much!!! :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...