Author Topic: Major Destructive Separation Anxiety!!  (Read 1994 times)

Offline shine

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Major Destructive Separation Anxiety!!
« on: December 22, 2007, 02:57:49 pm »
Over Thanksgiving I posted about the "Dogs From h*ll" I was sitting for.  Two labs, and one of them has serious separation anxiety and tears things to shreds.  She destroyed several books, DVDs, a $400 pair of snowboard bindings, and ate her entire bottle of incontinence meds...requiri ng a late emergency call to the vet and an entire night of trying to comfort her as she rode out the aggitation side effects. 

At the time I didn't think I would ever sit for these dogs again....but their owners called and asked if I would give them "another chance"....and they are rapidly becoming very regular clients.  The owners travel alot, so I've had these dogs 4 times in a month.  Onnie is a black lab who I call "Unflappable Onnie" because she is so laid back that nothing ever phases her.  It is the yellow lab, Lucy, that has all the issues.  She is so very sweet and comical.  She just freaks out when she is left alone.  During the Thanksgiving debacle I called her owners several times and they finally had me drag a giant kennel in from their back garage.  I now keep her in it between my daytime visits, with plenty of towels, toys, and "teddies" (washcloths.... Lucy's favorite thing!). 

However, they still want me to leave her out loose in the house overnight.  This is always stressful....#1 because I am concerned about her tearing up their stuff...#2 because I am even more concerned about her getting into something dangerous.  The owners never seem to put things away before they leave....this past week I went over for my first visit and found a bowl of Hershey Kisses and a bag of chocolate chips on the kitchen counter!  I don't know why they would leave those out knowing that Lucy goes on a tear when left alone and could easily eat them.  Maybe they don't know chocolate can be toxic to dogs.  In any case.....every evening before I leave I make my rounds of the house looking for potential dangers.  I put away all cleaners, soaps and lotions....tak e the lava lamp out of the laundry room so she can't knock that over and break it and eat the contents....pu t away all remote controls and laptop cords and try to hide other cords under the rugs to keep prevent her from chewing on anything that could shock her.  Per the owners instructions I leave out magazines and papers and make sure there are rolls of paper towels on the table and counter (the idea being that these will keep her busy so she doesn't start gnawing on the couch). Still, she always manages to find something else to shred overnight.  I arrive every morning to a mess on the floor.

Lucy has been on Clomicalm since Thanksgiving.  It may be helping somewhat, since the messes of "Hurricane Lucy" are now more Category 1 than Category 4, lol....but there are still messes, so she must still be anxious when left alone.  I don't know what to do about it.  If the owners don't mind their stuff being ripped up that is their business...but I worry that one night she will find something toxic that I missed and could get very sick or even go into organ failure.   

I really am very fond of sweet, goofy Lucy in spite of the extra work and stress she causes me.  She obviously feels very bad when I show up and see her messes...she hangs her head and brings me a toy to apologize, lol. I just want to keep her safe, and help her with her separation anxiety if I can.  The owners are very nice people who adore these dogs.  They are also at a loss as to how to help Lucy.  If anyone has any tips, advice, suggestions, etc....please share them!


BTW...here is a photo of Onnie & Lucy.  Aren't they cute?  Picture that sweet yellow lab standing in the middle of a pile of shredded paper, looking hilariously guilty and wagging her entire butt to say "I'm sorry...."! LOL!
« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 03:01:46 pm by shine »
Sharing my life and love with
Bodhi - Newfoundland
Rio - Loyal Lab/Beagle Mix
Zildjian - Dalmatian
Dolly - Weird Hound Mix
Stubby - Weird Corgi Mix
Ribbit - Grumpy Cocker Mix
House Cats - Bump, Delilah, Stashe, Mischa, Moose
Barn Cats - Archie, Betty, Midge
The Pigs - Ginger & Marianne

marypyrs

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Re: Major Destructive Separation Anxiety!!
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 03:16:43 pm »
Lucy sounds like Marley in "Marley & Me". (I loved that book!)
« Last Edit: December 22, 2007, 03:17:19 pm by marypyrs »

Offline maxsmom

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Re: Major Destructive Separation Anxiety!!
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2007, 10:21:06 pm »
It sounds like you have one of my dogs on your hands but I know they are both still here.  We have dealt with separation anxiety for the past 6 months with Jake.  He is slowly getting better, but not where I want him to be yet.  We did find that the crate only made him worse.  Medications did not help him at all.  More exercise helps some.  Melatonin seems to be helping at this point.  He has not chewed up anything in probably 3 or 4 months, no more ripping down curtains, cornices, newspapers, etc.  He is still urinating on the floor and leaving us a pile to clean up, but he is not slinging it all over the walls and furniture anymore, Thank God.  We give him 2  3mg. tablets of malatonin every morning.  It has definitely calmed him down.  I can now lock him in the sunroom on the back of the house and he will be just fine, with NOTHING to clean up.  I still cannot leave him in the kitchen with the other dogs or he will have an accident, but not out there.  He won't eat anything or tear anything up out there.  The dogs spend most of their day laying out there guarding the pool screen from squirrels anyway, so he is comfortable out there.  Good luck.
Kathy
Max  2 Irish Wolfhound
Jake  2 Great Pyrenees
Cody   3 Tibetan Mastiff
ChiChi 1.5 Caucasian Ovcharka
John and Nicki Maine Coon cats