Separation anxiety

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sparty419's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-11

 

Hi everyone,

How is everyone doing? I am very excited to be a part of a Doberman forum. I have been a Doberman lover ever since I can remember and I finally managed to get one!!! I had got the cutest little doberboy when he was about 55 days old and its been almost close to 5 months since he’s become part of the family.

I am not sure where to post this, so apologies if this is the wrong category :)

Although he has been a good boy so far, there is only one teething problem that has cropped up suddenly in the last one month. Just to give you an idea, I live in a house where the ground floor is the garage and there is a staircase that connects the garage into the living room which is separated by a door. I had a flap door constructed instead, so now the main door always remains open for easy access.  I have been trying to train him to sleep next to the flap door, which has a pretty big area by itself and I put placed his bed and toys there.  It also has a fan there that can be regulated for him depending on the temperature. I live  a city that in India that is constantly hot by the way.

He had been sleeping peacefully for the first two months, but suddenly, from the last month, I don’t know what got into him, but he has been showing symptoms of what I see as “separation anxiety”. The moment I leave him alone, in about 5 mins, he starts whining. I don’t know how to overcome this especially in the night time, because I want to train him to sleep in the staircase area. Currently, he needs to be put to bed while I sneak away after he has fallen asleep. This has been happening almost for the last two weeks now. Sometimes, he wakes up realizing nobody is around him, and I have to again sit next to him until he falls asleep. I realize they are social animals, but its not like I am making him sleep in the outhouse all by himself. Me and him are probably separated by about 10 feet, that’s about it. I just don’t want to him to get used to being in the house. The whole of the garage is all his and my office is in the garage as well and I spend the whole day with him, including going on walks and runs during mornings and evening.

I am getting a bit frustrated by his behavior and I don’t want him to get into the habit of being around people 24/7 or especially when he needs to go to bed.

My question is, will this habit continue if I keep putting him to bed or is it just a temporary habit that will go away as he grows into adult?

I would really appreciate all your assistance. If not for this only issue, he’s like the sweetest big baby ever! Always calm, gentle, rarely barks (except for the above situation) etc

Looking forward to your responses.

jerial13's picture
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Joined: 2010-07-22

Pet Profiles

What you will find is that you have a "Velcro Dog" all Doberman's need to be with there people all of the time.  Others on the forum may have some suggestions, but you will find that this is because you are not with him.  You said "I don’t want him to get into the habit of being around people 24/7", my opinion is that is this is not what you wanted you picked the wrong breed.  They need their people, all of the time.

I hope that some of the other members have some advice for a happy medium.  Sounds like you and he have a great relationship.

Jeri & Shelbi

sparty419's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-11

Hi Jerial,

 

Thanks so much for your reply. Just to add some more comments/info:

I guess maybe I am not suited to be a doberman owner (I just love the breed so much, but I never really bothered much about the nitty-gritties of the breed). But in no way do I regret the decision to get Rex (his name) and I don't think I would have selected any other breed even if I had a choice.

Now, secondly, I realize that it may have to be around people 24/7. But its not that its alone in the true sense. I live with my parents and we also have house-boys for the household work (p.s. I am not a millionaire, its a common thing in India!). I think right from 7am, he is always surrounded by people. Its just that as the day winds down, it gets a bit more quiet, we give him his dinner around 8.30 and we ourselves have dinner by 9.30. Between that one hour, we put him in his place near the stairs, and within 5 mins, he starts barking. The only way to silence him is to release him so that he can roam freely around the living. We even tried a leash and he gets irritated really quickly as well. When we let him loose he's soo inquisitive that he starts jumping on everything. I am a pretty patience person, and I can tolerate this for a while until he grows up, but there is still a worry that if he is going to be like this his whole life, then its something I am not looking forward to then. Its just this last 2 hrs of the night that is the worst of the day. 

Again my main concern would be whether this behavior is just temporary since he's only about 5 months old and if he will stop being like this as he is growing up. Or is there somethng wrong with what I am doing?

Thanks so much once again !!!

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

First thing that comes to my mind is what my dad taught me about rhodesian ridgebacks - if your dog is doing a behavior as a puppy that might be cute as a puppy you must consider that if you don't correct it, this same behavior will be done as an adult dog - so anything that you do not like right now - you cannot wait for him to "grow out of it" that won't happen - he will grow into it as an adult doing things you don't want. These are smart dogs so whatever he "gets away with" now he will repeat as an adult, so figure out what you will accept when he is an adult and start correcting any issues now so you have that well behaved adult.

You mention that he barks and then you let him in to get him to stop barking - he has now learned that barking gets him what he wants - inside to be with his people. Now that said, you know these dogs HAVE to be with their people INSIDE the house with their people - however, if you ignore him he could become destructive with frustration of not being allowed to be with you and tear things up in the garage as a result. Is there some reason your dog cannot be in the house with you at night?? They don't take up much room, a little bed in the floor next to where you sleep would be great, why can he not be with you?? Let's start there. And I loved the remark about he likes to be inside with the living, that made me chuckle (as opposed to the dead? sorry, you have a good sense of humor and I couldn't resist).

This is a breed that you will need to adapt to same as Rex needs to learn and adapt to things you want, one thing this breed has to have is contact with their person constantly so you have a dog that has to have something that you are not providing. This is probably something you cannot teach him to tolerate well.  You also mentioned teething issues but didn't elaborate what is the teething issue??

Welcome to the forum and Rex sounds like a good dog you just need to get this one thing figured out now.

sparty419's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-11

 

Hahahaha…that was a typo!! I meant to say “living room” and not just “living”. Ooops!!

Coming back to the discussion, like I had mentioned, I am a pretty patient guy and I wouldn’t really mind sitting around tolerating his bark until he might stop, but the thing is, since I live in a neighborhood where you can hear his barking even if you walk a few distance away from my house, I am only worried that someone might complain if the barking reaches someone’s threshold. Hence, the reason why I sometimes have to suck it up and let him in or let him free if is on a leash. I just don’t know how else to quieten him down once he starts whining even though we all are barely a few feet away.

 

To answer to your questions:

 

1) Is there some reason your dog cannot be in the house with you at night??

Well, the only reason we decided it would be a good idea for him not to be in the house was because we have a decently sized garage and we were hoping to make that his home, where he could roam about freely, play, sleep, do all his things etc. We have made is completely safe for him and “puppy-proofed” it as much as possible. We thought this will be a good set-up, where he is able to interact with everyone plus have his own space where he can roam freely without any danger as well.  My question is then, is there anything wrong with the above set-up?

 

2) You also mentioned teething issues but didn't elaborate what is the teething issue??

Rex is extremely chill and well-behaved the whole day and never causes any problems. But as soon as 5.30pm arrives, he starts becoming a bit aggressive and starts getting too excited. I guess this is his way of saying its play-time because I then take him out on his walk/run and sometimes also go to the dog-park where he has lots of friends. He always looks forward to this hour. But I am just worried about the way he starts behaving and gets a bit mouthy. I don’t know what gets into him suddenly. Is this something that’s normal for Dobes?

 

I am not sure which way to go forward. I watch a lot of training videos and he has started learning them very well. Its just this separation anxiety thing is what concerns me.

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

Hi,

the only problem with the setup in the garage is that what we as people see as the perfect solution is not what our particular dog needs or wants; and this setup is great no doubt sounds wonderful but it is not what dobermans are about, therefore that makes it an "incorrect" arrangement for this breed; now another breed like a lab, german shepherd, saint bernard, mixed breed this might work great but for a doberman whose breed trait is to be with their people all the time, as I read here recently someone mentioned dobermans are not pack animals in the fact they don't want to be with other dogs they only want to be with their people - I think you will find that the garage setup just isn't going to be ideal for anyone involved.

As for the mouthy part from everything I have read here on the forum, you are correct in figuring out, that this behavior is normal for dobermans, there are ways to correct it and deal with it so get ready for alot of great advice on the mouthy-ness......

Can't wait to hear how you finally decide to handle this one.....

sparty419's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-11

Hi again Talisin,

Just a  quick question. When you say Dobermans need to be with their owner all the time, I hope that doesn't mean in the literal sense right? I mean, what if I am taking a shower when nobody is around, or what if there are guests over and they are scared of dogs. There could be umpteen reasons why dogs may not be around their owners for genuine reasons temporarily.

The point I am trying to make and hoping to figure out is how I could make Rex feel he is around someone, even though that person is not glued to his body. So, even if he is around the living room, I wouldn't want him to just come start barking because he is tied up while there are people around.

Thanks once again for your inputs! :)

Do you have dog crates available?  A large crate (big enough for his adult size) to sleep in might be a good idea.  This is where he gets the best bones and treats. There is no reason that he has to sleep near you at night if you don't want him to, but I would use a crate and make it a great place to hang out and sleep.  You may want to start using it slowly & at times he normally sleeps or is apart from you. 

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

HI,

well I know my dogs are all hanging out in the bathroom while I shower as are the cats - I am used to it...hahahahah;

but no you don't have to tolerate the dog with you every minute of every day, but they do love to be with their people and when you have people over of course "people dogs" will want to be in the room at least, so they can feel a part of everything, but if you have people afraid of dogs then by all means use a crate and as Fitzmar explained make the crate a happy special place to be, somewhere he will want to go on his own when he has had enough of the humans in his world. I totally believe in crates and having my dog relax in an area appropriate for me and easy on the dog. Whereas my husband insists the rottie get on the sofa all the time, however, I must give kudos to Ben the rottie for deciding he prefers his own bed to the sofa, making life a bit less crowded....... so it is possible - just understand that when you have something going on that he might think is interesting he will want to be involved. And he will eventually want his own stuff as opposed to your stuff, just give him time to get bored with it......hahahahaa

sparty419's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-11

Hey guys and gals! Thanks as usual for your inputs. Sorry I couldn't reply back earlier, I've been kinda caught up with fencing up my house..hahaha...I am creating partition in the living room and the dining room hoping I can make him understand where he can move around and where he cannot!

I've also been watching lots of Dog Whisperer episodes and trying to put them into practice whenever I get the time. It seems to be working whenever he is down with me in the garage during work hours. I've even managed to train him not to step into my office room and he now sleeps right outside. I am very happy about that now!!

To answer some of the questions, I don't unfortunately own a crate, but since I am working on building some partitioins in the house, I am hoping to now use that to train him and keeping my fingers crossed on him not feeling too separated now that he will be allowed to sleep in the corner of my living room, close to the stairs. I am going to dump all this toys and items in that one corner so that he knows thats his spot. 

I have a very very quick question. I know most articles and shows mention that dogs need to excercise. I think I help rex get his workout, but how much exactly is the perfect workout? How do you actually tire the dog put? To the point he cannot or doesn't want to move? Or maybe about 45 mins brisk walks is good enough? (which is what I do in the mornngs and evenings, apart from him going to the dog park once in a few days)

Thanks!!

sparty419's picture
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Joined: 2012-04-11

Small add-on: The reason I ask the above question is because rex seems to sleep whenever he's not doing anything, which is almost 5-6 hours during the day time I would say besides sleeping in the night. Is this normal? or he sleeps because he's bored and likes to disturb me whenever I want to take it easy? haha..

Anubis23's picture
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Joined: 2012-08-28

Sparty, I can sypathize with all your problems because I am having them too. My dobie is almost 6 months old but, the one mistake I can see you have made here is that when he whines and barks in his crate you let him out. That just tells him that if he whines long enough he gets out. So, here's what I did. 

From a very young age I sat in front of Anubis's crate and would wait for him to be quiet, when he relaxed I opened the door and gave him a treat before closing it again. I would do this over and over but, I'll admit even though I have been lazy about he IS getting better from 8 weeks to 6 months he still barks occasionally but has gotten a lot better, I can go in my garage now and wait over a half hour before he starts the alarm now and usually when I check on him now and he's barking-- he's had an accident and wants away from the soil. I will admit sometimes I'm so tired after work and have been a bit lazy about it but I still NEVER let him out when he's barking or whining. Because even there is a difference that leads to other signals. He has a very demanding bark that is the worst! giving into this bark tells him that he can command me leading to dominance issues. The whining is a form of begging. So even the type of bark your dog is giving you can tell you why they are doing it. 

 

I am not a dog trainer by any means but, I have found a lot of helpful videos on youtube so that is somewhere you could look even just typing in dog barking I have found countless helpful videos that are helping me tame my little monster on my own and the solutions seem so simple but, this really is a very time consuming dog breed but once trained are well worth every moment and I fully believe that you will never find a better friend.