What can I do to help my new dog with separation anxiety?

I got a dog recently from a local shelter. She is very small-medium size dog. They told me at the shelter that she does suffer from anxiety problems. I am having trouble leaving here in her crate at my apartment complex. If I, or my girlfriend leaves the room she cries/howls until we return. I have left a recorder on while we are gone- the most she is alone in a day is 2.5 hours and she cries the whole time. I don’t want my neighbors to complain nor do I want to get rid of her. I have used rescue remedy, treats in the cage, leaving her in while I am in the room for short periods, giving her busy-bones and more. Does anyone have any advice about separation anxiety with dogs? I have combed through Google and feel like I tried most things already. I have also used a pheromone collar as well. I heard that I should try a bark collar but she isn’t barking, just a whining/howl.Clearly she doesn’t like the crate, but even if I leave her alone in a room for a few minutes she scratches at the door, whines and howls, so leaving her out of the crate won’t work. I am really at a loss here- any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Whoops I forgot to mention, she is 2 years old

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4 Responses to “What can I do to help my new dog with separation anxiety?”

  1. Vicky G says:

    OK, I think that what you have been doing is that you have been reinforcing her behaviour at varying intervals which is quite reinforcing in itself (works like a fruit machine with random wins which is quite addictive). Try this: when you have a few days time off work, put her in her crate and leave the room. The minute she whines go into the room and get her out of the crate (this works like a "vending machine", she gets reinforcement every time she puts a coin in (i.e. she whines). When you have done this for a few days (one week for example) put her in her crate get out of the room and no matter whether she whines or not, don’t go into the room again (for as long as it takes her to stay quiet). Then all you have to do is to repeat this every day. This way you change the reinforcement pattern from a "fruit machine" to a "broken vending machine". The dog will soon realise that there is no point in insisting as there is no more reinforcement.

  2. MzPaulinee says:

    I heard feeding them carrots can help anxiety… you should try it!

  3. omfgzzitsjessica says:

    Take her to the vet and ask the vet if puppy Prozac would be good for her. Prozac is an antidepressant and puppy Prozac is the same thing, just for dogs. It may reduce her anxiety.

  4. greygarious says:

    Take her to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist or if one is accessible to you, have your vet consult with one. There is Prozac and other anti-anxiety meds which can help, in combination with de-sensitizing exercises. Properly following the regimen suggested for your dog will very likely enable you to wean her off the medication eventually.