Separation Anxiety Treatment Log Wk3

Again is another log of Vito SA treatment. We are now in week 3! I try to do a mini summary below each day for those who don't want to read procedure.

Day 15:
I worked for 25min with a bully stick and rawhide chip. A "N" after time means Vito didn't eat the bone but continued to lay down on the dog bed. Started out with bullystick for 20sec, 10-N, 10, 15-N, 5. I exchanged bully stick for a rawhide chip and did 15sec, 30, 45, 20, 60, offered him the bully again 30-N, 15-N. Chip again for 90sec, pigs ear for 40sec where Vito took a water break. Chip again for 130sec, 30, 180sec. On this last 3min trial the video shows Vito eat the chip for 1min, and then go the door where he stared at and occasionally went to look out over the baby gate. He remained quiet, and didn't pant, but still stood by the door until I came back. I did a 30sec-N, and 10-N before taking a little break. I let him out to see if he had to pee, he did not, and then did a 10sec, 20-N trial with the bully stick he chose.

Overall I'm ok with this session. He still didn't continously chew a bone, but did fine until the end. On the 3min trial I'm worried that he did stand by the door after only 1 minute of chewing, but at least he remained relatively calm.

Day 15, session 2: Worked for only 14min with a new basted beef bone and bully stick. We did 30sec, 20, 60, 2x10, 120, and 40sec all with the beef bone. I then offered him a choice and he chose a bully stick where we did 20sec-N, 20sec (yes!), 75 (where he took a break to get water, and then resumed eating). I then gave him back the beef bone and did 180sec, 40.

Amazing session!!!! Not only was I able to do a 1min trial on the 3rd departure, but I also got up to 3 min again rather quickly too without a hitch. I am extremely happy that the one time he stopped chewing his bone, he got up to drink water and then immediately went back to chew on his bone without even looking at the door. I think I might stick to sessions under 20min, especially if I am able to quickly get back up to longer departures with less babysteps.

Day 16: Worked for 17min with the basted beef bone and the bully stick used yesterday. We did 20 sec, 45, 30, 90, 10, 180 with the bully stick. Then given the choice bx the 2 we did 30sec, 90, 20, with the beef bone. Another choice and back to the bully stick for 30sec. Chose the beef stick and we did 210sec & 15.

Another amazing session! We did a 3.5min trial today with no problem and Vito happily chewed on whatever he "chose." I forgot to videotape, but as far as I know he didn't get up from the dog bed once. I feel extremely happy right now :)

Day 16, session 2: I tried to do a 2nd session today. It was just over an hour and a half after the last one, but since I knew I wouldn't have time later I thought I would try one anyway. My goal was to originally only do trials less then one minute but as you can see we had some problems.
I started with a bully stick at 10-N, 20-N, 10-N, switched to a rawhide chip and did 30, 30-N (at door). Switched to a beef bone and did 20, 60-N (door), 10. Back to a chip for 20-N. Added PB to a pigs ear and did 10, 30, 10, 40-N (door), 5-N, 10-N.

So this session sucked but it was somewhat to be expected.

Day 17: Worked for 20min with a bully stick and rawhide chip. Started with a rawhide chip for 30sec-N (went to the door at 5sec, I decided to wait a bit to see what he would do. When I came back in he wasn't at the door, but was standing looking at the bed). Then did 5sec, 15, 5, 30, 20. He chose the bully stick and did 30, 60, 45. He chose the chip and did 40, 120, 10. Chose the bully stick and did 45, 180. He decided to stick with the bully and did 30, 210.

Also good session, got up to 3.5min. Started out slow, but got back into it fairly quickly.

Day 18: Worked for about 20min with a bully stick and rawhide stick. Started with the rawhide stick for 15sec, 30, 15, 90. Vito then chose the bully stick and did 40sec, 195, 10, 30, 240 (on the 240 Vito had just finished the bully and was going to drink water when I came in. Immediately after drinking he went back to his bed and started chewing the rawhide stick I had put there before the trial). Using the stick we did 30sec, 240sec-N (on the 240 Vito was by the door. I have no clue how long he had been there). Then used beef bone for 15sec.

I think this went well. I did two 4min trials today, although the 2nd one Vito was by the door.

Day 19, Session1: Worked for 18min with mainly a rawhide chip. Started with a rawhide stick for 15-N, 30-N (and at the door), 10-N. Switched to pigs ear for 30-N, 15. Switched to a rawhide chip for the rest and did 60, 15, 180 (got up, but went back to bed and resumed eating), 60, 4.5min (got up, but went back and resumed chewing), 10, 30, 120.

I thought this went ok. It did take awhile for Vito to want to eat anything, but we also did a 4.5min trial!

Day 19, Session2: Worked for 20min with mainly a rawhide chip. Started with a bully stick for 30sec, 60sec-?. I realized I forgot to put the baby gate up since when I came back on the 60sec trial Vito was in the bedroom lying on my bed. He wasn't panting or looking anxious, it just looked like he was sulking. I ignored him and did 15, 40, 90 and Vito wasn't moving from the bed. I went in to see him and Vito didn't move until I touched him, whereapon he did his nervous but excited dance. It's hard to describe, but I think Vito was doing is whole hiding/sulking thing he does when I get frustrated with him. So while I was excited that he wasn't in any anxious panic, it wasn't a comfortable lying down on my bed. After I "made up" with Vito (just a few pats, I didn't make a big deal out of it) he followed me into the kitchen and went straight for the bully stick there. I did 20sec-N (door), 10-N, 60-N. Switched to a rawhide chip and did 30, 120, 20, 40, 240 (video shows 1min of chewing, h2o break, door for 1mn, back to bed for 30sec, door for the rest of the time). Did 5sec, 20-N, 2x10, 30-N (door at 20sec), 10, 5.

I have no idea what to think of this session. Vito really wasn't into it and I don't know what to make of the whole bedroom thing. I didn't put the babygate up even when he came back to the kitchen, but he didn't go back to the bedroom at all. So not great, but maybe not horrible?

Day 20: Worked for a total of 30min. Started with a bully stick for 10sec-N, 10-N. Switched to a rawhide chip for 20-N, 10, 5, 40, 15, 90-N (door), 20, 60-N (door), 10, 20, 10-N, 50-N (at door at 20sec, I waited to see what he would do, he whined at 40sec, I waited 10more before coming in). Then I unfortunately come in upset, don't say anything, but Vito senses it and runs to his dog bed in his cowering mode. This in turn makes me more frustrated and I realize I need to leave the area before making things worse. So I am gone for 2 min in the living room, he's still babygated in the kitchen and is laying down on the dog bed in sulking mode. I then come back in a better mood, sit on the kitchen floor, he won't approach, so I wait and then gently encourage him. Vito sits on my lap and I stroke him for another 2 min. I then decide to try to resume, so I put a beef bone down, and do 6xO/I-N, 6xO/I, 3x5ec, 2xO/I, 10, O/I, 5, 15, 2x5, 20, 10, 40, 5, 15, 10, 60-N, 3xO/I-N, 5-N, 6xO/I-N. During this entire string I didn't pick up the bone at all when I came back. Since he hadn't been chewing on it again for awhile I pick up the beef bone and then put it back down again. This gets him started chewing again so I do 3xO/I, 5, 2xO/I, 2x5, O/I, 5, 10.

So this session sucked. He wasn't into it at all and then once he stopped chewing he wouldn't resume. I made things worse by showing my frustration and Vito shut down completely. He is a very sensitive dog and unfortunately it can become a viscious cycle with Vito not really into something, I get frustrated, Vito shuts down, this makes me more frustrated, etc. Right now I feel like we've made zero progress. This is almost the end of week 3 and I still can't consistently leave for even 10sec.

Day 21: Worked for 22min with a gigantic bully stick :) Started with 10sec, 5, 40. But then the caretaker was mowing the yard. Vito has never heard our lawn being mowed before (yeah I know that it's almost June, our caretaker sucks) and I was unsure of how he would do. I sat with him for a little bit, but he kept eying the gigantic bully stick so I decided to keep going, just slow. So I did 10, 5, 40, 5, 15, 10, 60, 2x10, 60, 20, 90, 5, 30, 60, 135, 2x10, 180.

I think that this would have been a great session if I hadn't been worried about the mower. Even still, I did a 3 min trial with no problem. Vito really liked the bone and didn't focus on anything else.

Week 3 Summary: Well this week started out great, but ended somewhat iffy. Longest trial was a 4.5min and consistently did 3 min trials most days. I still feel though that I'm not making that fast of progress. I think a lot of it is due to only being able to fit one session in most days so he's not getting that much practice. Another big issue is finding a bone that Vito really wants. It seems like his tastes keep changing and he gets bored quickly. So far his favorite bones are bully sticks, but he won't even touch a pigs ear at all anymore. This was just a frustrating week, mainly clouded by yesterday, day 20.

Any tips are greatly appreciated!

ClassyChassy  – ( May 27, 2009 at 9:00 PM )  

Have you ever tried any herbal remedies for anxiety in Vito?

Esther  – ( May 27, 2009 at 9:06 PM )  

I hope your future sessions work out well! It already seems like progress is being made :)

P.S. You've been tagged! Check out my blog to see what's up :)

Laura  – ( May 28, 2009 at 8:16 PM )  

I haven't tried any herbal remedies. I am considering buying a DAP diffuser though.

Nadja  – ( September 9, 2010 at 5:49 PM )  

How did the DAP work out? I tried the spray, but without much effect.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( September 9, 2010 at 8:37 PM )  

I don't know if it had any effect. A lot of people say that it does, and pretty credible research has been done on it. The diffuser is supposed to be better then the spray as well. I just didn't notice any real difference with Vito. It wasn't too expensive if you buy it online (insanely expensive in petstores though) so I would say go for it. It can't hurt.

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