Please help with separation anxiety in adopted dog!

5 replies [Last post]
Anonymous

Hi there. As I write this I'm feeling a bit frazzled, and I'm really hoping someone can help me. We have a vet's appointment scheduled for the end of this week but I'm nearing my wit's end and really need some advice.
 
About a month ago, my husband and I adopted a 1.7 year old Lab mix (think he's a Lab/Husky), who was surrendered to a shelter by a hoarder who lost his house. This person had too many animals and had most of the animals caged for some time, so our dog is adverse to kenneling and crating - except at night, he sleeps in a bed inside a crate and seems fine with it. He was not fixed until he was surrendered, either, so that's another fact to mention.
 
When we first brought him home he was not very obedient OR very sociable with others, but he has made tremendous strides in a short time, and now knows commands like sit, down, stay, paw, etc. He's very bright and happy with guests in our home now, and we love the hell out of him!
 
Until we leave. Then all hell breaks loose.
 
I have read every article I can find about what to do and what not do do and as far as I can tell, we're doing everything the way we're supposed to: we keep to a schedule during the workweek, we leave calmly and quietly and arrive calmly and ignore the dog, etc. We don't overplay with him when we are there, we try not to let him up on the couch or bed with us so that he has some boundaries. We walk him multiple times a day and in good weather, he goes to the park for an hour or more.
 
Every morning he wakes up, goes on a walk with my husband and does his business, comes inside and I give him his breakfast as I get ready to leave myself (and ignore him while I do so), then I pee him and then give him a stuffed Kong which occupies his attention as I go, but only for a few minutes. We've watched through the windows to see what he does and he runs to the window, looks for us outside, and then runs through the house getting up on kitchen counters and/or finding something in the open rooms to chew. It doesn't seem to matter what we put away, he will find something to chew. We've closed all unnecessary doors (we have cats, so they have a cat door to their spot in the basement). We've moved everything we can think of out of his reach. I'm worried about his anxiety and it seems like it's just getting worse, even though we've tried things like, telling him to stay outside a room while we are inside with a closed door.
 
I'd love to be able to slowly ease him into longer durations alone but we both have jobs! We have to leave. What should I do? I feel so helpless and I hate seeing him this way. :(

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