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Two words I hate to even type here.  But Cash has it very badly.  He freaks out now when left behind.  We didn't use the crate enough for the summer since someone is always around with school out.  That worked perfect for Dublin who loved to sleep while I was at work.  Cash on the other hand has made my life a prison.  I tried to leave him out of the crate for one hour last week to have dinner out with our family.  He peed on our bed.  I know he paced the whole time because I saw his pee trail through the hallway from the bed to the windows.  I guess he must go back to the crate but that seems to upset him way more since he can't pace and he seems very very nervous.  We got a kong with frozen peanut butter but he will not eat it while in the crate thus far.  I am going to have to start over again with short coming and goings and leaving the TV on.  I think after his exercise in this hot weather he drinks tons of water and with his nerves so frazzled he has to go potty and no one was here to let him go!  So maybe waiting till he has emptied more would be safer as well.  I just wish things were different.  That he was calmer about this since he only has to be left a couple hours a couple days a week!  Hardly suffering you know.  Any stories about how you dealt with this would be so appreciated since it has me upset.  Leaving a dog you know is in full blown panic mode isn't easy.  For reference he is about to turn 9 months.  He shows no other signs of problems as far as fearfullness.  He is very social, loves people and other animals.  He just wants to come along everywhere with the family.

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Good reading on the subject- thanks Fran. I spent a lot of time chatting at work to day with the dog trainer at my petsmart because we know each other from the dog park and he has a serious problem with his pit bull. Now that dog has been left eight hours a day in a crate which is not the situation here at all. But that poor dog had to finally be put on Reconcile, the dog prozac medication. Even with behavior modifications etc. He is that bad. He even got a Lab puppy to hunt and hoped it would help his Pitty but it did not. So he asked me today if Cash is destructive while I am gone. Well he has not been thus far but again he has only been left an hour out of the crate once and peed on our bed so I wasn't going to do that again. Instead I have to crate him. Then while at work my son calls me to say Cash tore up his dog bed. I expected shredded due to his frantic phone call. He basically must have humped it a bit or dragged it around because he broke the zipper and the foam stuff did get a bit of chewing but the bed is in tact just the zipper is ruined now. So it didn't look to be anxiety but rather play time that got out of hand. Nick was sleeping and didn't hear him acting up. When he woke Cash was sound asleep in a different room, all innocent! Cash refused his lunch and now his dinner. Totally not like him and I hope he didn't eat some foam and is now ill. He did eat plenty of treats at the dog park and played fine. So I will see how it goes overnight. He never misses a meal. I was home quite a bit in June and July but now my work load is in full swing and I am gone four hours 5-6 days a week. And hopefully he will get used to this new routine. School starts in a couple weeks and he will have to be crated again three days a week for about 2-3 hours. That should be doable, at least in my human mind! Fran can thyroid cause the coat to be dull and dry? I keep thinking it is because I neutered him. He has wooly coat I keep thinking. He does have flaky dry hair and skin along the back spine only. The sides are nice with a lovely sheen. I can't figure out why it is only along the spine but that is where he has thick wavy puppy hair and it all fell out in the past month and maybe it is just new coat???? Or is he having problems? Not sure. Would a blood test be in order you think?
wow... I really hope Cash overcomes his separation anxiety soon!
Pitanga had separation anxiety as a young girl, but it all ended when she gave birth and we kept romã, so I did not have to deal with the actual problem. Getting another dog and cover your problem is obiously not a good solution, you minght even end up with twice the issues.
My intermediate solution was letting her spend short periods of time in a very safe and dog proof kennel with a dog friend that as used to it and very calm, as she became calmer and calmer about being left there, we increased the amount of time - we went up to 6 hrs of joy and fun in the kennel. Then we began it all over again, in the same kennel, but with her alone. Being left alone we got to 3 hrs. Then she got pregnant and gave birth and i never had to deal with it again... She is fine in the kennel, at home or in the yard with or without other dogs, so I guess i was incredibly lucky...
Romã show signs of separation anxiety if i leave her with other people, but if left alone or with her mum she does fine so i guess that does not count!

I'd go with crating all over again, trying to fing a way to make the crate a safe place and slowly increasing rhe time alone! Maybe start crating for a while after he has come home from exercise and settled down?
And whow about trying to make his independeance a game? Like waitning for you in a separate room or playing hide and seek? it might make him more confortable if he realises you are not eaving him, it's just a game that sometimes goes for long times...

Anyway you decide to deal with this, please let us know how Cash is doing!
Hi Sue

My experience is more with Cocker Spaniels than with Irish Setters, but what really worked for my dogs were kongs and other chew toys stuffed with food.

I started out by giving almost all of their food in chew toys - and giving the toys to them as I was leaving for work.

I would use mainly kongs, lined with peanut butter or liver spread to make it sticky and then stuff it with kibble. I would put yummy treats in between the kibble, with the best treat right at the bottom. I would make it more and more difficult as the dog gets better at retrieving the food from the toys.

Sometimes, for example, I would put a kong inside another small cardboard box that the dog would have to tear open before getting to the food.

I think the reason why the toys worked so well is two-fold:
Firstly, it teaches the dog to associate you leaving with something positive - yummy treats!
Secondly, it gives the dog something to do while you are away. It creates mental stimulation and the chewing motion has a calming effect on the dog.

Perhaps start off by giving Cash a stuffed toy while you are there, just to get him going. I would also stuff the first few kongs when you are gone with something that he reeeeaaally likes.

Good luck, and let us know how he is doing




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