Like I wrote in my previous post over a month ago, When You Adopt, You Never Know What’s In Store for You, we had no idea what would find when we brought Titan home. Of course, we knew a back story of having two homes and such but not much more than that. The Adoption Coordinator did lead onto the fact that Titan was not good around children. Or should I say, was happy that someone without children was adopting him. I would find out later that children were not his only issue.
A refresher on Separation Anxiety
What Do You Do When You Find Your New Pup Has Behavior Issues?
It wasn’t long before our new-found baby boy was driving us absolutely bonkers! I took off the first few days with him but then had to return to work. Mind you, I’m only gone for about 8 hours a day, but that was enough for our new furson.
We would come home to items being relocated around the house, an ottoman being chewed, couch pillows being thrown on the floor and peed on, and marking of the couch. It drove us nuts trying to figure out why he was doing these things. Was it boredom? Was he angry he was left alone? What was it?
I reached out to the shelter I adopted him from. They told me they were aware of any issues but the previous owner (of 3 months) said she would be happy to speak with his new adopters. After telling the shelter about some of his behaviors, they also gave me the phone numbers of two “reputable” behavioral therapists.
Just Because You are a Licensed Professional Doesn’t Mean You Know it All!
I opted to contact the therapists first. Boy, was that a major blow!
The first told me that I should find him a home where the people were home all the time.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Just Because You are a Licensed Professional Doesn’t Mean You Know it All! #behavior #dogs” quote=”Just Because You are a Licensed Professional Doesn’t Mean You Know it All! #behavior #dogs”]
The second told me that he sounded like he had major issues and wanted to charge $150 for a home visit for evaluation.
No thank you!
At first, I felt sad. I was helpless. I didn’t know how to deal with some of the issues we were experiencing. This was our first bully and did not know how to deal with him.
So, I reached out to his previous owner of 3-months.
This is when I found out about his “crating” issue. She had left him in a crate for more than 12 hours a day! The poor guy! That explains why he busted up his face trying to get out of the crate after being in it for 10 minutes! He was petrified to be left in a crate!
We quickly ruled out crating, which for me, was great because I was against it anyway. However, we still had an issue.
She then proceeded to tell me he was good with dogs and her cats would beat up on him. Other than that, no real behavior issues.
In thinking about it, how could she have known with what little time she spent with him?
Basically, We Were on Our Own
I discussed the issues with my vet. She had some suggestions but not what I was looking for. I took to the internet in search of answers. I even signed him up for obedience lessons.
Note: If your trainer is freaky about your dog, it’s best NOT to waste your money.
We decided to video tape when we left. Low and behold, we found our answer!
Our beloved baby was suffering from Separation Anxiety. For the first 30 minutes, after we left, Titan went on a rampage! He tore things up and peed/marked on what he could. Poor guy was so distraught and drove himself in a tizzy. I researched online how to handle it with and without medication. My vet gave us some prescription meds which I think I gave him only two days. I opted against that. We tried calming pills to no avail. Finally, I heard about using “trigger words” when coming and going.
His fear of us never returning overcame him. I couldn’t stand to see him afraid!
Working With Titan
We worked so diligently with him to reassure him we would return. We began using the words “Be Back” when we left him alone. I would give him a “Be Back” treat and place another on the bed where he slept. Of course, the mother in me would always kiss him, a few pets, and “I love you” before I stepped foot out of the house. This is a routine we follow ’til this day!
[clickToTweet tweet=”Using ‘Trigger words’ to help with #SeparationAnxiety has been a major help in reassuring. #behavior” quote=”Using ‘Trigger words’ to help with #SeparationAnxiety has been a major help in reassuring. #behavior”]
Within no time, we conquered the Separation Anxiety. Now some 6-years later, we continue to use “trigger words” for many things. Routine and specific words have done wonders for Titan and we would later find out they would work with Zue.
Separation Anxiety was only one of his issues. The other was lack of socialization and insecurity around people. This would prove to be harder than the anxiety itself, but I’ll save that for another day.
Over to You
If you found any behavior issues with a rescue or rescues, what were they are how did you handle them? Were you able to resolve the issue? Is it still an issue today? We’d love to hear from you.