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Thread: Separation Anxiety - 7yr old Foxie

  1. #1

    Default Separation Anxiety - 7yr old Foxie

    Hi everyone,

    First time poster, and have come on here via a google search.

    I'm a little dressed with my current situation, and am seeking some help or assistance.

    So here is my current situation. We had two dogs for quite a number of years, and two years ago mum and dad moved into a retirement village, so we adopted their dog. I had a Maltese and a mini foxie, and dads dog is a foxie also. So the three of them were great mates. We had to put the Maltese down in Jan this year and the mini foxie down around 3 weeks ago.

    Now the foxie, whois around 7, has developed separation anxiety. The mini foxie that died a few weeks ago was clearly the pack lead so I guess the remaining dog is looking to me as his new pack leader. When we leave the house, he cries and barks / howls. He is not destroying anything, but is quite distressed.

    What I have done is try to de-sensitize him from our leaving queues, taking him on walks twice a day if we can, we have a pheromone collar on him, we ignore him before we leave and when we come back, I leave him treats like bones and a kong and I think that covers it.

    So for the first week after new collar I think that we were making some progress, then last week I was not able to regularly walk him diue to health issues, and my wife was home for two days straight. After the two days my wife was at home, he started to stress out again when nobody was home for three hours. So now it app eras that we are back to square one, he cries and frets if I leave for even two minutes.

    What are my options? My wife wants to get another dog, but from my research I don't think it will solve his problem. I have spoken to the vet who has said that I am doing the right things and should continue as best I can for another week before we consider mess or anything like that.

    The foxie is an outside dog, so no fear of him destroying anything, abut he has managed to get out once.

    So what advice can anyone give me? I am quite stressed as this cannot be sustained for the dog or for my family or my sanity !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    near Sydney NSW


    Hi and welcome to the forum
    Sorry to hear about your problems. I'm not a behaviour expert but I'm sure others with experience and knowledge will jump in with advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    The one thing that comes to mind immediately is: it might help to allow the dog inside? Both when you're there and when you go out. At his age it seems unlikely he'd become destructive.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Beloz View Post
    The one thing that comes to mind immediately is: it might help to allow the dog inside? Both when you're there and when you go out. At his age it seems unlikely he'd become destructive.
    Won't he simply replicate the same behavior inside? Ie bark, cry and howl from inside the house?

  5. #5


    First of all,, I am sorry to hear about your situation. After losing two dogs, it must be very wearing to now have to deal with the remaining dog's separation anxiety.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samboss260 View Post
    Won't he simply replicate the same behavior inside? Ie bark, cry and howl from inside the house?
    Possibly, unless he feels more secure inside the house - then he might settle a bit. Having said that at least if he barks and cries inside the neighbours may be less likely to hear him and complain.

    We have issues with separation anxiety with a couple of our dogs and the behaviour occurs off and on like you describe - they cope for a while and then something happens (like us having time off work, going away, getting sick etc) and we end up back to square one.

    The only thing that has helped us is anxiety wraps - I purchased this off ebay:

    Anxiety Wrap Shirt Calms Dog Stress Relieves Fear of Thunder Separation Pulling | eBay

    While wearing these our dogs' barking decreased by quite a bit.: the first time my troublesome foxy wore it her barking went down from 2.5 hours to 20 minutes over a 5-6 hour absence. It didn't solve the problem entirely but it seemed to cut down her stress level to a point where she could cope.

    The training is probably helpful too but the wrap might allow you to make progress more quickly. The only issue I have had is that the wraps can stretch which reduced the effectiveness on my barker but not the dog with "true separation anxiety" who used to attack the doors and throw himself at walls. In the case of the barker - I soaked the wrap in boiling water to shrink it and purchased a replacement to wear on special occasions (weekends/ nights) when she normally becomes more stressed. Even though this is a pain - it would probably still be cheaper (and certainly better for the dog) than medication. Both of these dogs supposedly had separation anxiety due to the loss of their previous owner who went to hospital and didn't come home.

    Getting a new dog can be a double edged sword. Sometimes getting a new dog can help in the case of grief as the dog is anxious about being separated from the other dog (rather than the owner, as is the case in SA). Alternatively, you could end up with two barking/ crying dogs. Is it possible to have a friend or family member's dog come over when you are out to see if it makes any difference to your dog's anxiety before you commit to purchasing a new dog?

    I also used this book - Don't Leave Me by Nicole Wilde - it is the best resource on separation anxiety that I have ever read.

    Phantom Publishing - Don't Leave Me!

    You've probably read alot about separation anxiety, but basically if barking is the only symptom AND your dog is comforted by another person or dog being present when you are out it is possible that your dog has isolation distress, which is a less serious form of separation anxiety. That sounds like the case since your dog only started behaving this way after the other dogs passed away. The exercise and pheramone collar seem to be helping a bit. Other suggestions I found in the book were anxiety wraps (which I had alot of success with), flower essences (rescue remedy), and my vet has also told me that a DAP (dog appeasement pheramone) diffuser in the house is more effective than the collar.

    So - in short if you are able to keep the dog inside, put an anxiety wrap on him, leave out kongs or other food toys, and maybe plug in a DAP diffuser - his problems may largely disappear because he feels more secure and less stressed. Good luck and let us know how he goes.

  6. #6


    I agree with letting the dog into the house and training him to stay in one room when you have to leave him - maybe crate training would help here as well. If the dog feels safe and comfortable, his stress levels go down.

    The DAP diffuser will work well in a closed room but loses effectiveness if allowed to dissapate through the house.

    If his stress levels are inordinately high you may need to use something like Rescue Remedy along with the pheremone treatment.

    Trick with desensitizing is to work at it slowly and consistently. Start with being out the room for just a few seconds and build your time away slowly. Use as many other signals as you can such as picking up car keys, moving them to another table, pick up a hand bag, put on and take off walking shoes, pick up and move the leads/harness etyc etc etc.
    Nev Allen
    Border River Pet Resort

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