Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Riley's Separation Anxiety

We went out for dinner last night and left Riley loose in the apartment for a couple of hours. You can see the result. This is our front window - he seems to have been so desperate for us to come home that he tore at the mini blinds in the process.
He had been SO good this past week that we hadn't worried too much about him. He was fine loose in my parent's house with Chloe when no one was home. We left him in his crate in the car when we went out to breakfast with friends for a while (it wasn't hot outside or anything) and came back to him sleeping peacefully. I even left him loose at home to bring Josh to class that morning and didn't have any problems.
It looks like we have our work cut out for us after all! I read our doggy book and found this passage:
"(Destructiveness) is the classic problem with the dog you adopt as an adult. He's had his heart broken once and his hopes rekindled, by you. And then you leave him and he copes with his anxiety - will you ever return? - by going nuts."
Our poor little guy! We are doing our best to communicate that we love him and will always come back for him.
The tips the book gave us for dealing with the issue are ones we're going to try...
1. feed him before you leave so hopefully he'll sleep while you're gone
2. give him something special to chew on just as you leave (i think his kong ball with peanut butter will be reserved for when we go)
3. leave the radio on
4. practice no-fuss comings and goings (meaning act super casual about both leaving him and coming back, so he learns that it is no big deal)
5. get him into a routine and start training him (we'll sign up for obedience classes soon, and we won't be traveling for awhile so he'll get used to us more and more)
And most importantly:
6. keep him in his crate to minimize the damage potential (and he honestly seems more secure there anyway... maybe he is used to it from the shelter)
On a fun note, we had a really great time at dinner last night - we met up with the Kelley Partner's Club (the organization for people like me) and got to meet some students and families. Everyone seemed super friendly and genuine. Tonight I'm going to take Riley on a walk along a trail in town with some of the people we met last night. A lot of them have dogs, too, and it will be good for him to socialize some more. I also talked with one girl about setting up a play date sometime with Blue, her dog, at a no-leash area in town. Should be fun!

1 comment:

buurstra+buurstra said...

Poor Riley!! I'm sure he'll get over that quickly! Hey...I just saw an ad for the Rockford Celtic Festival this weekend...you guys wanna come up for it?? :) Just kidding of course...it was so horrible! But it made me giggle when I saw it. Hope all is well, we miss you guys!