Dog Seperation Anxiety on the Leash

Whiteshepherd wrote to me about dog separation anxiety:

I had a really embarrassing moment this afternoon. I and my 8 months old GSD live with my cousin. My cousin usually takes him out potty in the morning and feed him when I’m not home. My dog is house trained and stays in his crate during the day. he doesn’t bark when we’re not home.

This afternoon we took him out for a walk since it’s the first sunny afternoon after 2 raining days. I started teaching my cousin some basic concepts and handling skills I’d learned from Adam’s secret book. Things went pretty well with loose leash heeling, sit and down commands since my dog had previous exercises with these commands. Then here came the embarrassing moment. we soon found out that I could not walk away from my cousin and the dog. I could take my dog from him and went for a walk with no problem, but when my cousin took over the leash, and I walked a way, then the dog started barking and whining. I had prong collar on him and asked my cousin to correct him and to make him stop this unwanted behavior. the dog gave vocal response to the corrections, but didn’t stop whining. I asked my cousin to put him to a down position, the dog did follow the command but kept whining loudly. People in the park were looking at us and few guys came up and check if we were abusing the dog. and few people made those typical comments on how we should never use the prong collar on a dog, and blah blah… we decided not to draw too much attention and took the dog home.

So here I am, looking for the solutions. I saw my cousin giving him couple of pretty good correction and heard the vocal response from the dog as well. should we give him even harder correction or not? Really need to solve this problem ASAP.

whiteshepard adds:

I really need a solution for this. and this happened again. today my friends and their dog came over, and my dog went nutz cos I tried to take him away from my friends and their dog. no matter how hard I correct, he just kept barking, whining and pulling on leash (with a prong collar on). he sounded like i was trying to kill him.

Adam replies:

Hi, WhiteShepherd:

For this type of behavior (and especially for this breed) — I think you’re really going to get the best results by using the e-collar. I recommend this one:
(The 280 NCP)

What you’re going to want to do is: Work the dog with the e-collar, but without distractions, the first few times. Re-teach basic commands (I.E. acclimate to the e-collar) by synchronizing your leash correction with the e-stim). Demand perfect attention.

I’m not exactly sure why the e-collar works so well, for this type of behavior– but it does. Just make sure your commands are clear and the dog understands what you want.

Don’t just say, “No!” for the whining — make the dog (with the e-collar) hold a down-stay or a sit-stay. And focus on you.

When you start working around other dogs, start with the “attention getter” with the e-collar. Then progress to commands. Give a tap on the e-collar, every time the dog’s attention is not on you, and walk the opposite direction.

This will work, pretty much guaranteed. Just make sure the e-collar is fitted properly and the contact points are making contact.

You’re welcome to post a video on Youtube, once you get the collar, if you need more instruction, and I’ll watch it and critique. But I think you’ll be amazed at how well the e-collar works, as long as you’re 100% certain the dog understands what the e-stim is for.

Until you get the collar, don’t let her around other dogs, as you currently don’t have a way to give a meaningful correction.

– Adam.

Adam adds:

I should add: Once you’ve got the dog understanding the exercises with the e-collar, then transition to your cousin. He’ll initially have to work the dog at a slightly higher stim level, to get the dog’s attention, but after the first initial 5-10 minutes, he’ll be able to adjust it down.

– Adam.

Train Your Dog to Avoid Accidents In Crate

Yorma writes to me:

Our 11 year old puppy obviously hasn’t read the dog crating rules and doesn’t know NOT to poop/pee in his crate. He does use wee wee pads when outside the crate and we give plenty of time to relieve himself before placing him in the crate. But after we leave him alone for 30 minutes to an hour…we return to a crate full of poop. We’ve made the area quite small within the crate, where he can barely turn around but it keeps happening. (little if any bedding). Something is in his head and we can’t figure it out. We also clean and disenfect very, very well after any accidents… ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED…but please do not simply send me to a site about crate training. READ THEM ALL and almost none assume the dog will poop repeadedly in. HELP PLEASE!!! Thanks.

Adam replies:

Hi, Yorma:

Is your dog 11 months old, or 11 years old? Please let me know. If he’s 11 years old, I’m curious why you’re crate training now, and if he’s displayed separation anxiety in any other contexts?

It’s very likely your dog is suffering from separation anxiety… which isn’t really a true housebreaking issue in light of what you’ve described.

This is what our local veterinarian recommends. The last time we were there, she told me that she’s had a lot of success, with a lot of different dogs using the DAP Diffuser:

Please report back (good results or not) and we can go from there.

Or, if you’d like to try two remedies at the same time: Ask your vet about a med called “Clomicalm” (or something similar that she might suggest?) It’s basically an anti-anxiety type med. It’s not forever, it’s just to get him over his issues.

Keep me posted. — Adam.