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Extreme Separation Anxiety

March 8, 2010 | By ACN

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.
Tina F.
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Tina F.
4 years ago

Hi,
I went through this with my beagle and beagle mix. With my beagle, we made the mistake of not crate training him from day one, and taking him everywhere because he was our new "baby". He would be fine when one of us left but when we both left he started barking like he was dying, to the point where our neighbors came out (we rented). We tried desensitation, DHP relaxer plug in, leaving the tv on, leaving lots of toys down, etc. Finally we got our second dog a beagle/boston terrier mix. Now I do not reccommend running out and getting a second dog, but it has helped. We also didn't crate our mix initially, we used baby gates to close them off in the kitchen with lots of toys, but they learned how to escape from the gate. Then we worked with crate training, but made sure they were next to each other with kongs, toys, and the tv on. They are now a little over 2 and have free access, and a doggy door. We still leave the tv on but overall their anxiety dramatically decreased.

Brian P.
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Brian P.
4 years ago

About 20 years ago I had a beagle that did the same thing, and it was all my fault, I was young and dumb, I took him everywhere, which was bad, I inadvertanly trained him to have anxiety when I would leave, and he would bark all day, my landlord was not happy, I ended up getting him a home with an owner that had other beagles, and after a year I visited him and he was fine never barked unless out with the other beagles. Remember, beagles are pack animals and require companionship, and need to be part of the pack, when you leave, he wants to be with you, you will need to start out leaving him at home and slowly increase time away until it is a full 8 hours. Start out slow and increase the time out of the house. You can't take him everywhere then expect him to be fine when you leave him all day, thats asking a lot, you have trainned him to want to go with you. You need to retrain him and yourselves to not take him everyplace, and things should get easier and quieter.

This reply was edited 4 years ago

ACN
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ACN
4 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!
amy

katie f.
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katie f.
3 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.

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