Dog won't mind husband while I am gone

Posted by melissa-shields-bispo
Sep 25, 2013
We have four dogs, two are fosters(for about 3 months). Three of them have some separation anxiety, the two fosters are fixated on me. When I leave them alone with husband, who is very nice, yet firm, good with dogs, one of them worries so much where I went, she won't listen to him at all. She doesn't play when I am gone either. She loves him, and enjoys his affection and listens to him when I am around. How can I get her to relax with him alone?
Posted by Preethi KOP
Sep 26, 2013
Hi Melissa,

Thank you for writing in to us. Great job on the fostering, keep up the good work.

As you probably already know, separation anxiety is quite common with foster dogs. So, don't worry too much about it. They may just need a few more weeks to settle down at your place.

There are a few things that you can do to speed the settling-in process. Here are a list of them:

- Get your husband to get more 'hands on' with them. Ask him to feed, groom, walk them etc. The former is most important.
- You could try desensitizing them to your departure. Don't say bye to them, don't show them any routine of your leaving, do it subtly. Don't show them any pity if they ask for it, attention of any sort will just encourage the behaviour.
- On your return home, don't show them any attention for a few minutes. Say hello to them on your terms, not theirs.
- You could try playing relatively loud music or have the radio on when you're gone. This helps ease a lot of troubled pooches.
- If you are really troubled by it, then you could consider buying a DAP (dog appeasement pheromone) diffuser, which is a keeps them calm. Also, you could consider consulting to your vet as a last resort.

Good luck with sorting out your problem! Please keep us posted on your progress.

Kind regards,
Posted by melissa-shields-bispo
Nov 14, 2013

The little dogs have been doing a lot better with separation anxiety. I have been leaving them home with my husband more, with a playpen so he does not have to constantly watch them.
He feeds them dinner once a week, and does some basic training with treats, and has a nightly play session with the most energetic of the two. So I feel good about that and we will keep working on it. We would like to make them permanent family members! But there is another problem, they will sometimes break into a fight only in the middle of the night, when we are dead asleep! That makes it hard to deal with calmly and strategically. They don't fight during the day, though they obviously have not decided who is dominant, when they play there is usually some posturing involved, but they really are best buddies. I think at night one might make a noise, like a little groan and the other reacts. One does reacts to the other anytime she yelps in pain, and will become aggressive. They sleep close to each other, and me, as i also worry that our huge cat will jump on them in the night. They can't sleep in a crate, there is no room, we have a loft bedroom, and they cry all night and they have very short fur and get cold easily, so they sleep on our bed. I was going to make a platform for the dogs at the foot of the bed where the other two sleep, with a heating pad, but I don't want the other dogs disturbed by their fights and get into it. I thought of slowly breaking the more aggressive little one into sleeping in a soft crate, and then slowly moving them both to the foot of the bed. Other than this, all four dogs get along wonderfully and enjoy each others companionship! Thanks in advance for your advice.
Posted by Preethi KOP
Nov 16, 2013
Hi again Melissa,

Firstly, I am very glad to hear that they are getting better with the separation anxiety issue Congratulations on sorting it out!

Now as for the issue with them in the night, I think it would be best to put two woolly rugs on the floor/platform and get them used to sleeping separately. I suggest this because I feel that there is some danger involved in your situation. You don't want to end up getting bitten when one of the pups is half asleep and reacting to the other purely on it's natural instincts. It will be probably be even worse if the cat got involved!

Good luck with sorting out your problem.

Kind regards,