Thursday, February 9, 2017

Staycation in Motion, A+10: Separation Anxiety

Once the baby gates are uncovered and if everyone is still happy, the next step is to bring the dogs closer together. There's a few ways I do this is our house. For example, I'll crate Abe or a couple of the other dogs in the same room, and then we'll all hang out and watch a moving. Another exercise we do is bringing everyone up to the baby gate and then passing out treats. This point in the Staycation is also where I will often move the foster dog's crate into the main bedroom.

Abe's crate is staying in the second bedroom.

Genetics being equal, dogs who have been bounced around or experienced early trauma are more prone to developing separation anxiety. This risk increases if you do something like let your foster dog bond with you. These dogs have had people they've bonded with disappear on them before, so I think they get worried people will leave them again. Or in Abe's case, he's never had a healthy human relationship, and he's not sure about this whole current-love-of-my-life leaving thing. Abe also has another risk factor - he's probably always lived with other dogs. He's never had to learn how to be alone. Alone is often a difficult idea for dogs.

Abe does not have separation anxiety. He makes angry bulldog noises for a few minutes after you leave him in the crate or if he hears people that sound like they're having more fun than him, but that's pretty normal behavior. On the other hand, I know for Abe's history and his risk factors. I weighed the benefits of bonding versus the risk of separation anxiety and felt it was worth it. And I can't change the rest. However, I want to prevent real separation anxiety from developing, so I'm going to continue giving Abe the opportunity to practice being alone in his crate at night and while we're away from home. I need to be particularly mindful of creating time for Abe to be alone as we relax the Staycation and start spending more time together.

It's hard to manage introductions and a camera at the same time,
so here's a picture of Abe tasting a cat instead. 

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