Separation Anxiety Treatment Log Wk2

This is my report of Week 2 in my SA treatment with Vito. Again, I reccomend that you don't read the log below unless you are really interested in a bunch of times, or at least skip to the summary at the end.

Day 8:
Worked for 25mn with a bully stick. 5sec, 2x10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 60, 20, 60, 10, 75, 2x30, 10, 90, 20, 30, 90, 30, 10, 120, 30, 60.

No problems. If anything he really didn't want to give up the bullystick to me at the end. I'm wondering if I should be rewarding the drop it now. Longest time was 2min.

Day 9: This was a weird session. I originally put down a new pigs ear, but Vito didn't seem to want it at all. He had a tiny bit left of an old pigs ear so I put that down and Vito started chewing on that right away. I did 5x5, 10, 5, 10, 20, 25, 5, 45, 35 60, 75, 2x30 with no problem, but after that last one I picked up the 2 pigs ears and Vito walked out onto the porch looking out. I didn't say anything, and after 5sec he came back in and layed down on the doggy bed. This was about 12min into the session. I then resumed and did 15, 90, 30, 120 but on the 120sec Vito was standing when I walked in. He was still on the dog bed, just standing there; this was about 20min into the session. I did 2x15sec, 45sec but again he was standing on the 45sec. So I did 3x0/I, 10, 20, and Vito was standing on the 20sec. I did 2xO/I, 5, 10, and Vito wasn't eating his bone, but lying down still on the last one. So I did 4xO/I, 2x5 and Vito was again lying down but not eating on the 2nd 5sec trial. I didn't know what to do so I puttered around the kitchen for a couple minutes but Vito still didn't go back to eating his bone, although remained lying down on the dog bed. I opened up the kitchen gate and Vito left to get some water and came back to nibble on the old pigs ear for about a minute. I remained inside the kitchen, but after a short time of chewing Vito stopped again and wouldn't go back to eating. He didn't seem anxious, but had zero interest in chewing a bone.

I'm not sure what this session tells me. It was done 11:00am which is earlier than normal and Vito did seem tired at the beginning. He clearly knew that I was going to do a session after letting him outside since he went straight to the dog bed and waited patiently. But because he wasn't into the new ear at all, I started slow. I guess he was just bored since it was very odd how he went on the porch only 12min in. Maybe he was really wanting the bully stick from last session and was diasapointed that I varied the reward.

I just remembered now that Vito did throw up last night at 3am. I'm assuming it was because of the new meds he is on trying to combat giardhia and maybe he still doesn't feel well.

Day 9, session2: Worked for 25mn with a basted rib bone (Vito's never had that bone before). We did 10sec 5, 15, 30, 15, 45, 20, 60, 30, 90, 2x15, 45, 90, 45, 20, 120, 2x15, 30, 120, 45, 30, 60.

This was a very good session. Vito absolutley loved the rib bone and I was able to do two 2min long departures and four other trials a minute or longer.

Day 9, session3: Worked for 20mn with the basted rib. Originally wanted to use a pigs ear, but he wouldn't touch it when I puttered around the kitchen. So did 2x10sec, 30, 20, 60, 30, 60, 2x15, 120, 20, 45, 15, 120, 30, 20, 60.

Also a good session if you don't count the fact that he didn't want the pigs ear. Again I did two 2min trials.

Day 10: It was a busy day, I didn't have any time for an SA session :(

Day 11: Worked for 30mn with a bully stick. Did 10sec, 30, 20, 60, 10, 30, 90, 45, 20, 120 but was standing on the 120. Did 10, 5, 2x10, 20, 10, 30, 20, and then he kind've stopped eating. Didn't get up, but wasn't too interested for the next trials, just nibbled: 10, 20 30, 5, 10, 5, 2x10, 30, 5, 10, 5, 2x10, 30, 20 and stood up on the 20. 2xO/I, 2x5, 10, O/I, 5, 10, 10 and was up, 2xO/I, 2x5, 10.

This was crappy. He started out so well, but then Vito completely lost interest in the bone. He did have bad diarrhea again afterwards, so who knows.
Afterwards I let the ferrets out and then put Vito back in the kitchen with a pigs ear. He wouldn't touch it. However Vito was quiet for quite a while then got antsy, I took him outside, and resumed and Vito wouldn't go back to it. I tried putting pb on the ear but it only occupied him for another 2min. He did some whining, but overall tried hard to be patient.

Day 12: Worked for 28min with a basted beef bone (the one used previously) and then a bully stick. Started with 7sec and Vito was up by the door, 3x5, 10-wan't eating, 3x5-standing on last one, 2xO/I, 3x5, O/I, 10, 3x5, 10-wasn't eating, 3xO/I- still not eating, 2x5, 10. Vito showed very little interest in the beef bone so far, so I decided to exchange it out for a bully stick.

Did 2x5, 10, 5, 10, 2x5, 2x10, 5, 15, 2x5, 15, 10, 5, 20, added pb, 10, 20, 30, 5, 20, 2x10, 45, 15, 30, 15, 60 2x10, 30, 60.

After I exchanged out the bone Vito started doing great. I took it really slowly to be on the safe side, but I probably would have been able to be longer than 1min if Vito had done great from the start.

Day 13: Worked for 25mn with a bully stick. Did 2x5sec, 10, 5, 10, 20, 5, 30, 15, 45, 5, 60 (on camera shows that he chewed for a bit, got up and went to the door, but then came back and resumed eating!), 10, 60, 30, 2x5 (with a rawhide, didn't eat but layed down), 20 (back to bully), 90, 30, 90, 5, 10 & 5 with rawhide, 120, 30, 20, 150 (bully gone when came back), 5, 10.

This was great! I kind've did a "it's yer choice" game with what bone he wanted. He always took the bully stick, except for one trial where I put pb on a rawide stick and he of course took that one. But then the next trial opted for the bully over the rawhide with just a little bit of pb left. On the couple trials where I said I used a rawhide, that was a choice between the rawhide and pigs ear. He never ate the rawhide when I was gone, but at least remained lying down and was calm. I am most happy about the first 60 sec trial, since even though Vito got up and went the door, he actually went back to his bed and resumed eating his bone!! On the 2.5min trial I did Vito finished his bully stick about 1min in, then went to drink some water, went the door, went back to bed to chew on a beef bone for about 10 sec, and then went back to the door till I came in about 20sec later. So I am very happy that he actually remained calm and good!

Day 14: Worked for 28min with mainly a rawhide chip, occasionally offered Vito a pigs ear and beef bone. "No" after the bone used indicates that he didn't chew on it.
We did: 2x5sec, 10, 20, 10, 30, 15, 30 (beef bone), 60, 2x10, 60, 20 & 10 (pigs ear-no), 45, 90, 30 (Beef bone-no), 15 (pigs ear-No), 90, 40 (stopped to drink water, I came back when still drinking), 40, 15, 120, 30, 10 (pigs ear, no), 180.

Also a good session. When noted I offered Vito a choice between 2 bones, if he chose any bone other than the rawhide chip this session he didn't eat it at all, but remained lying down on the dog bed till I came back in.

Week 2 Summary:
Only was able to do 8 sessions this week. Overall this was a good week but I am disappointed in a couple things. One is that at the start of the week I was able to do a 2min trial but wasn't really able to add any time. Today, day 14, I was able to do one 3min trial but other than that I've hovered around 1-2 minutes. I think part of the reason is that I've been hesitant to increase time when Vito's not eating his bone. He's becoming more picky on what bone he will eat when I'm gone. After discussing protocal on a message board I've decided that I'm still going to use Vito's willingness to eat a bone when I'm gone as a measurement of calmness, but I'm not going to get hung up on it as long as he isn't exhibiting any signs of anxiety. Unfortunatly there isn't any other way to tell quickly when I'm come back if he was calm or not. I'm going to start videotaping my sessions, but unless I review the tape between each small trial it won't help me until I'm done with a session.

I was very happy with the last two sessions in that even though Vito became picky and wouldn't eat any bone but a specific one that he wanted, he didn't move from his doggybed when I left! I am also happy in that a couple times he got off the dog bed to get a drink, or go to the door, but resumed eating his bone.

Week2 Data: Highest time reached was a 3min trial on day 14. Several 2min sessions were reached throughout the week. I'm still starting out with 10 sec trials and building, but feel confident now that we could start out with even 30sec.

daniel  – ( May 22, 2009 at 6:52 AM )  

Thank you so much for posting this. I am researching this topic and this is very helpful and informative.

Laura  – ( May 22, 2009 at 11:04 AM )  

You're welcome. but I really have no idea what I'm doing! I'm just trying to follow Patricia McConnell's "I'll be home soon" booklet.

afk  – ( October 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM )  

It is so nice to find someone with a real SA problem (yes sorry that I make it sound positive..) our puppy seems to be in the same situation and it is certainly very stressing. I have tried the tough love approach which failed miserably... It's hard to find different alternatives, so thank you for sharing!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( October 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM )  

afk- I wish you lots of luck with your puppy! It's been a few years now and I've learned a lot about SA. For most dogs, the protocol I followed is very standard and if you are religious about it and never leave the dog alone for real past that the amount of time built up to, you can completely fix SA in about 2-4 months of hard work. It sucks doing it, but it's well worth the work.

In Vito's case, he is not a normal dog and that became extra evident as he has aged. The protocol helped a ton but when he hit 2yrs of age his SA got much worse and he developed new anxieties. Going to a veterinary behaviorist and adding drugs to our behavior modification work has made all the difference in the world.

I wish you luck! And if you haven't already read Patricia McConnell's "I'll be Home Soon," I highly recommend it.

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