Alternative Medicine for Pets/Separation Anxiety
Hi! I will try to be brief but also give info. I have a now 11-month old Keeshond puppy that I got at 9 weeks old from a very good breeder. He started crate training at I believe 8 weeks old. I crate trained him from the day I brought him home, and did not baby him or go to him if he cried. He has two crates - one in the bedroom and one in the living room. From the start, he barked in his crate when he could not see me, and also urinated.
At night, he is in the crate in the bedroom. He has never slept an entire night, he whimpers and barks. If I ignore him for too long, he will most certainly pee in his crate, even tho I take water away two hours prior to bedtime, and he goes outside right before bed time.
During the day, he is in the living room crate with two other dogs, cats, and the TV on. I go home lunch time to let him out. I am told he does not bark all day while I am gone. But if I am home, and I need to leave the room to do laundry, take a shower, etc, I crate him and he goes ballistic. He barks nonstop and will do it for 2+ hours straight. He practically hyperventilates.
I have tried giving him super treats while in his crate - a sterile bone stuffed with frozen yogurt, food, peanut butter, etc. He ignores it. He loves these things if I am in the room. He will willingly go into his crate if I am in the room. He just seems to freak out if he cannot see me.
Smushy eats Taste of the Wild roasted foul dry food. He is a sweet, smart dog that passed puppy class with ease. He is definitely a people dog, and has been since he opened his eyes. Even at such a tiny age, he preferred to be with the breeder than playing with his littermates.
Are there any natural supplements I can try to help him calm down?
The first thing I would do is slightly alter your crating methods. I would suggest that you only crate him when you are gone. When you are home, put him on a leash and hook him to a chair, table, or what ever you are sitting on or in the room that you are in at the time. This has several benefits; it leash trains him, house breaks him because he won't like to go where he has to lie in it or near it plus you will notice when he gets restless and take him out, and teaches him that when he is in the house, he is just to lie around and watch TV, etc. Take him outside to potty (you can even pick a specific "potty spot" if you want to) then bring him in when he does but take him back outside to play off leash if you have a fenced in back yard. At night, if you don't want him in bed with you ( and I see nothing wrong with him sleeping with you if you want), hook the leash on the leg of the bed or night stand right next to where you are sleeping. Put his bed or blanket there if you have one. Don't give him any food or water after 6 PM and take him out as late as possible before going to bed.
Listen very closely to your vocal intonations when speaking to him. Be sure and always speak to him in a very normal speaking tone. Must people have a tendency to raise the pitch of their voice to a higher tone when they talk to a puppy (or a baby). A higher pitch to a puppy is either excitement or anxiety depending on the tenure in the voice. For instance, you may be actually telling him to be upset about you leaving him just by saying good bye and that you'll be back because you instinctively go into "mommy mode" and inadvertently speak in a higher pitch with a tone that is somewhat whiny even though you are saying loving, calming things to him. People are generally totally unaware that they do this, so don't feel badly if you find that you do it. Even men do it. I see this all the time in my grooming business and watch people create separation anxiety in their dogs all the time until I get a chance to work with them. They are not even aware that they are doing it. I have also watched anxiety and over excitement issues disappear in dogs just by their owners become conscious of their vocal intonations. If there is someone else in the household, pay attention to each others' intonation and it will help you all become conscious faster.
By the way, if you smile even slightly when you call him to come to you, it will raise the pitch of your voice just high enough for him to want to come every time.
There is much more that I could tell you, especially some great anecdotes from years of experience, but this will do for now. If you want to speak to me directly, I am generally around in the evenings and can chat. My number is 727-327-8769.
Hope this helps. Give it a try.