Extreme Separation Anxiety

March 8, 2010 | By ACN | 4 comments

hi there, beagle owners. I could really use some ideas and advice right about now. I adopted Murphy, a 3-year-old beagle last January (2009). He's actually an incredibly mellow beagle and hardly ever barks. He had some separation anxiety for a while, but we worked on it and it went away within a few short weeks. We went through the whole summer/fall with no problems, and even got through a 3-month-long winter road trip with him living in our travel-van with us.

Now that we've moved into a new house (same town), his separation anxiety is unbearable. We left him for short periods, and he destroyed the door clawing at it to try to get out, barking a few seconds after we left and continuing the whole time, destroying cardboard boxes, etc. Because we rent the unit, we decided to try crate training.

The moment the crate came into the house, he went right into it. He loves the crate. He'll enter on command, as well.

The problem now is that we get him into the crate and leave, but before we're even at our parking lot, we can hear his "beagle bark" outside; the barking continues no matter how long we're gone. We even videotaped him barking in his crate for over an hour one night. We live in a small condo and, while our neighbors have been very understanding so far, this needs to be solved, and soon.

Here's everything we've tried so far:
- Natural doggy-relaxing treats (with flower extracts) - DIDN'T WORK
- Long play-dates to tire him out before being left alone
- Desensitization (putting on our shoes, picking up keys, etc, but not leaving the house)
- Leaving the radio on
- Leaving treat-balls in the crate as distraction
- Leaving for 1 sec, 10 sec, 30 sec, a minute; varying the time we're gone
- Varying the time of day we leave him alone
- Sneaking out

We cannot leave out another door, because we only have one door. His crate is in the living room where our front door is. I also admit that we've probably dug the hold deep for ourselves by giving into his behavior and taking him on EVERY errand we do around town. Ironically, he can go into the bank, PO, coffee shop, but can't come to work with us at the restaurant where we both work at night.

I think beagles learn and love differently than other dogs, and am asking for any other creative ideas here. Has anyone tried the Rx relaxers, for example? Or the bark collars that spray water?

Thanks for any advice you might have. My neighbors and Murphy thank you as well.
Comments (4)
katie f.

katie f.
5 years ago

Anyone have other advice? What sort of sedative do you use, ACN?

I made another post about this as I have a very extreme case of my own. Looking for medication advice.


5 years ago

Big thanks to Tina and Brian - I knew other beagle-ers would understand! I actually know that getting another dog would help our Murphy; the few times we have been able to leave him alone, he was with his "cousin" Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. However, we, too, rent and are only allowed one dog at this house. Financially, we are only prepared to handle one dog right now, as well. We are now going back to square one with crate training / separation issues and hoping our patience this time around will help out. Our vet did also recommend doggy sedatives for those nights where we MUST leave him.

We're also going to try increasing his trick and obedience training, so that he can build some self-confidence and feel better being left alone. Finally, we actually rearranged our living room so that, when he's in his crate, he can't see us - he just has to hear or trust that we're there.

Thanks, again, and keep any other creative ideas coming!

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