Hungarian Vizsla Forums banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This is a follow up question to my post on being scared in the crate. After a week of anxiety/panic attacks when left alone in the crate at night and talking to the vet, we believe Penny is developing some new, pretty bad separation anxiety. More than the normal velcro, want to be with you, can't be trusted type we're used to. Crying quickly turns into panting, sometimes shaking. She is almost 2 (and spayed) and has been crate trained and used to sleeping in a different room from us since she was a few weeks old, so this is not a normal learning how to be in a crate training issue.

The only change in our life or routine recently is that my wife is now 8 months pregnant. We have a daughter, but she is older than Penny so this the first time she has experienced an owner's pregnancy. The vet thinks this is a definite possibility for the cause. Looking back at my other posts here the past several weeks reveals that we've been going through a difficult phase with her on several behavioral fronts that are probably related. Has anyone else experienced something like this?

Our dilemma is what to do in the short-term. First, we hope it is a temporary issue instead of a permanent one. At night she will only calm down if she is physically with my wife or me. So we seem to have two options: (1) leave her in her kennel and hope she learns to cope as long as she doesn't get violent and hurt herself or (2) let her out and sleep with her on a couch or extra bed, while comforting is adding the risk of rewarding behavior and setting precedence we'll later regret. Unfortunately have the dog in our bedroom, crate or no, is not an option for several reasons, including old, territorial cats. And we even haven't had to consider day-time leaving her at home yet. The vet talked about drugs as an options but I am not really interested, especially if we don't know the true problem yet.

So, has anyone had any similar experiences of an older puppy or adult dog developing increased separation anxiety? Or having to make similar sleeping decisions? Sorry if this was rambling, I haven't had much sleep this week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
809 Posts
jp, very sorry to hear of your V's issue with being left alone.
I hope it works out for her.... oh and congrats on the soon to be baby.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,279 Posts
JP

You've definitely got something going on there. I won't say it's strange because I've never experienced it. They are very sensitive dogs and it may be that she feels the need to protect/comfort your wife. Who can really say though? they're dogs.

Item 2, in your third paragraph strikes me.
If she were left out at nite, with a pillow/pad as her spot, closer to your bedroom door, I wonder if she might calm down a bit. I think it's worth a try as long as she isn't destructive. The times I've been able to have my dogs free 24/7 is a big plus.
The girls are too young right now. Tika could do it alone, but no way with Gunnr, and both together would be chaos at 3am, but if I could just leave the crate door open, or set out a pad like I did with my last Vizsla it would be great. someday soon.
Just a thought to consider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
I posted a little while ago about a problem I was having with my V chasing things (he is getting much better by the way with extra attention on recall training and rewarding for ignoring exciting things) and it struck me that the two "bumps" we've had with behavioural problems have happened at the same time as changes in our household routine. The first was just after I started a new job - only 30 minutes a day longer away from the house but I was a whole lot more stressed out and we had a complaint from a neighbour about excessive barking. We sorted that issue out and a few months later my husband was away for work for 3 months and the chasing issue started about a month after he left....I'd like to think the recent improvement in Mercutio is due to my training and not the fact his "dad" is home again but I couldn't really say for sure.
So it wouldn't surprise me at all if Penny is reacting to your wife being pregnant. I'm sure at 8 months things have changed in the house and even with all your best intentions the dog probably doesn't understand.
Gunnr talked about "backing up" the dog to something they know in a previous post. I've also been told that when something changes you have to go back a couple of steps with dog training. Maybe revisiting training her for being alone at night, like you did when she was a puppy, might help. Did giving her a pillow or something that smelt of you help?

Good luck – I’m sure the extra worry is exactly what you (don’t) need right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. We have decided to try letting Penny sleep with our three-year-old daughter and it has been a tentative success so far. She still is strongly favoring my wife of all of us, but this compromise seems to satisfy her for now. In fact I doubt we will be able to get her to sleep downstairs anymore. We'll see how it goes as there are cats upstairs and our daughter so far has been for it, but things could change. We tried giving a super-special toy and treat in the crate when we have to go out but it has ended up causing more grief than benefit. We working on having her lie down and stay on her pillow at more times that are potentially anxious. I still don't want to resort to drugs, however I worry (that's what I do) that this situation will be unmanageable when the baby comes. Has anyone used the dog xanax for other anxieties?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
An update on our situation in case anyone else has to deal with something similar:

The experiment of letting Penny sleep with our three-year-old didn't last long. We forgot that facts that little kids sleep with their favorite stuffed and animals and vizslas like to tear apart stuffed animals.

After talking to our vet, the breeder, and a sister-in-law who is a vet and weim owner we have decided to try medication. Everyone agrees Penny is going through some really bad separation anxiety from my wife being pregnant. It could be combination of responding to hormones or routine changes or sensing our emotions. The medication is an antidepressant that is for long-term, regular use. We are planning on using it for this last month leading up to the birth and probably a month after, then weaning her off. It hasn't been quite a week so we haven't seen any effects yet. They say it could take a month to work, but that will get us to the baby coming and hopefully not allow for an unmanageable situation. I don't know how I would feel about doing medication even longer, but it is simply expensive so that won't be an option.

In the meantime we are sleeping with Penny in a spare bedroom. Unfortunately she cannot sleep in our regular bed because it is "owned" by older, territorial cats.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top