My daughter and granddaughter have lived with us for the last almost 3 years and with them came their Jack x Buster..bless his crazy heart. Well, he and my baby Wynn are best friends, Wynn is my Jack. My daughter recently lost her job and this happened after buying a new car...ouch! So an opportunity opened up for her in Charleston SC about 2 1/2 hours from us...so my granddaughter just started Early College in her freshman year of High School and didn't want to move. So we all agreed for my granddaughter to stay here but Buster was going with his mom. Daughter will be coming home every week to be with her daughter and will bring Buster home as well. Now my problem..Wynn went nuts!!! Crazy crying. She thought that Buster was going for a ride in the car without her..so off the wall she went..now that Buster has not returned..I have a very depressed dog on my hands. Even my granddaughter, who isn't a mushy kinda kid said...she looks so sad. Now I know it's only been a few hours since they left but Wynn is so so down. Not herself at all..little nutball..it's breaking my heart...and I am afraid when my daughter brings him back we are going to go through this each time. Anyone have any ideas as to how to deal with her grief? And what to do if she reacts the same way next time..want to make the next time easier. Is there a natural supplement that I can give her to help her deal with this. I am so glad I am home all day with her right now but that might not be the case soon...and she does have separation problems with me. My God, you would not believe the screams that come out of this dog when she is separated from what she knows and loves...it's so scary! I've had a problem with her like this since she was a puppy, she is almost 4 now but with Buster here she was better able to deal with me being gone, like to the store or even going to do laundry, she does not like being left alone at all. So now I am left with a "What now?" Even with Buster here when I go for the mail and come back in the house, you'd think I'd been gone forever. She'd wet herself and scream at my return...that has gotten better and she only acts a bit crazy lately but now I'm afraid she will back to acting like that. Getting another dog is out of the question. We do have cats but they don't like her much..she doesn't hurt them but she loves on them toooooo much. So they keep their distance.
Any ideas on how to deal with this mess would be greatly appreciated!
I'm no expert here, by any sense of the word but...what about a blanket of Busters. Something with his scent and that Wynn knows belongs to Buster. Maybe she could sleep with it. A toy of Buster's. A little comfort package to bring out whenever Buster leaves?
And you might leave a sweatshirt with Wynn when you leave and take it away when you return?
I have also had some success with rescue remedy.
Thanks for the reply Mary. Buster and Wynn played musical beds. Daughter forgot to take one of the beds with her so that is here. So even if she takes it..his scent is on the other. Well, don't really think she forgot but rather intends to buy him a new bed and have his old one here for when he comes. They shared toys..well, Buster isn't a toy kinda dog, what I mean is, he'd take her toys to make her suffer...lol..so his scent is on those too. They shared everything. Nothing was his or her's, it was theirs. In the end..Buster became my dog as well because we were together so much... I really miss him already.
I have heard of Rescue Remedy, now that you mention it but wasn't sure it would help in extreme cases and as you, I am no expert but Wynn sure seems to be extreme...maybe not, I dunno. I will give that stuff a try I think. Can't hurt and can only help. Thanks again
Donna, they also make somethng called a Thunder Shirt which is supposed to help not only with anxiety from storms but also separation anxiety and tension from other life crises. That might be something to consider. I have had customers tell me it helped their dogs.
Thanks Mary, I will check into it. She is depressed but dealing. I've had to go look for her, under beds and in different rooms. Which is totally not my Wynn. Granddaughter just got home from school and that perked her up a bit. She didn't finish her meal today either. Poor Wynnie.
There's no easy fix with this one but there are things you can do. Anxieties of any kind are always difficult to break and they, very easily, become this self perpetuating problem in animals that can, also very easily, spiral out of control.
First, foremost and most important - do not coddle her.
The instant you play into her fears or anxieties you fuel the fire. This is the most common mistake owners make. As soon as they see their pet upset, the most natural next step is to swoop them up in their arms, telling them everything is alright, etc. It's understandable because we want to help soothe our loved one. But with animals, the second you do this you're actually telling them there is something to be afraid or anxious of and it actually makes them worse in the long run. This goes for all anxieties.
So, when she gets all upset and anxious, ignore her. Just go about your business as normal like nothing is wrong and that everything is natural. Always remember, they feed a lot off us too. All of our anxieties and emotions feed through to them. They know us better than we can ever hope to know them. So, if you're anxious or upset (which any mother would be in this situation), she's going to pick up on that as well. So, try to temper your anxieties too. This is hard, don't get me wrong, but if you can do it, it will help.
There are a few natural and chemical medications and neutraceuticals out there that might help with anxieties. And there are products like thunder shirts and things. Not everything will help for all animals, they're all different. So, if one thing doesn't work you can always try another. But, and this is very important, whatever you try and use to temper the anxiety has to be coupled with desensitization training to work in the long run. Otherwise you're just masking the problem rather than fixing it and it'll keep growing.
With Jack, she will mourn for a while but dogs and cats cope remarkably well with loss, she will bounce back. Just give her time and space and make sure you don't focus on her too much. She'll bounce back. Time and patience and acting normal around her. She'll soon get into a routine with him. Once she realizes that he'll be coming back on a regular basis, she'll learn to cope much better than she is currently. Having something related to him or scented like him will help. But time will be more important.
Now, the separation anxiety... this there is something you can do. There's products like rescue remedy and Appease (DAP). I've heard mixed thing regarding rescue remedy in both humans and animals. And just remember that just because it's natural, doesn't mean it's benign. There's never been any research on how products like rescue remedy do to our or animals bodies over time so use with caution. I've hear mention of peppermint oil rubbed between pads of dogs helps with anxiety. Again no real research ever went into this treatment but I do know it has to be food grade peppermint oil and, I believe, it has to be dilute or it can burn the skin of the foot pads. It's also a little messy. Appease or DAP (dog appeasing pheremone) is a product that is based off of the pheremone that mother dogs give off to their young to calm them. I tend to find that canine pheremones have a little more success than feline pheremones but it's a toss up whether it'll help or not. It comes in a diffuser you can plug into the house, a spray or a collar. If you're going to try this product, get the spray or collar first because the diffuser is like $50. If the spray and collar work then the diffuser would be worth it. I won't get into the medications that are out there just yet.
Again, these if they work are just bandaides. Desensitization is the key. You've got some time before you need to leave her for long stretches of times so slow and steady is the way to go. If done well, this will take a long time for her to overcome but it's well worth doing. During the course of the day, start doing your routine that you do when you get ready to leave. Grab your purse, your keys, your coat all the normal stuff you do but don't leave. That way she'll get used to you grabbing your stuff and won't always associate it with the world crumbling because you're leaving. Then you can start by leaving for short periods of time more often. Going outside with out her, things like that. Then let the car idle in the driveway without leaving. Then taking short drives, the longer and so on. You're basically getting her used to you leaving.
When you leave, give her something to distract her - a kong filled with her favorite treat, etc. Try not to get anxious thinking about her getting anxious when you're leaving because that'll fuse her fire. Nonchalantly, get up and give her the chew or kong and then leave like it's just a natural thing. Don't play it up. If she whines, don't play into it. Always remember, it's no big deal and she'll get it slowly but surely. Leave a radio or tv on for background noise. Leave a sweater or blanket that smells like you around. Time and patience too. It's not a quick fix unfortunately.
I hope that helps.
Thanks so much Gina. Now that you mention it I am sure Wynn is feeling some of what I/we are all feeling, fact is the whole house is rich in stress right now. So that all makes a lot of sense. And when Wynn first came into our lives, at 6 months, and she had this separation problem it did make me anxious and stressed me out...I never had a dog ever do that, guess we are feeding off eat other. I did have a dog that whined when I went to work, I guess, and the reason I say that is because I had a parrot that started whining after I got a job.
Right now the cats are in the room with us more and that is making Wynn happier. I thought it was Wynn, loving and kissing on them that caused them to stay out of the room and I am sure it is a part of it but guess it was Buster as well, even though Buster left them alone, he must have been some kind of threat to them. For a small dog he is very powerful and having both dogs in the room, maybe afraid they are a pack, they do act as a team.
Maybe between the cats and things go back to some kind of order around here she'll do better. Cooler weather is coming so will spend more time out of doors with her too. Take her over to my friends to visit her dog when she returns from vacation. But right now having the cats around her seems to be helping her more than anything. She just loves, loves those cats!
Spoke with my daughter and she said Buster is off a bit as well. Kind of moping around but it's a bigger adjustment for him in his living arrangements. He's now in an apartment complex, very dog friendly but he doesn't have the freedom of a fenced back yard right now. So for all of us, things have changed pretty drastically. And it seems we are all creatures of habit around here.
Appease or DAP? Is that like feline Feliway? I was about to suggest that the other day then realized this was a dog. Feliway had worked well for keeping our four happy with each other. Now we are down to two and they get along.
Ex T, it will take time I am sure. But they will get there.
I think so too Nancy...but she didn't eat today. I think Buster being here was her motivation for eating, she didn't want him getting it...LOL She is a picky eater. Hope she'll eat when she is hungry but from past, that isn't always how it worked for her... Seems the longer she goes without eating, the less she is interested.
Wynnie was more herself as the day went on today...and she ended up eating all her food and treats. Playing ball also. No moping around. Good, she has a short memory! LOL. But Buster will be here tomorrow..hope she is OK after he leaves but at least I know she'll get over it, fairly quickly.
I'm glad to hear she's perking up Ex T.
Once she learns the new routine with Buster and his visits, you'll all fall into a nice routine and get used to this.
You would not believe how much our pets read us. Like I said, they so know us better than we know ourselves. Big upsets in our lives translate down to them. It's a nice bond to have and one we often don't even see until something like this happens. Gotta love our cats and dogs, huh? I don't know about you but I'd hate to see myself without my guys. I might transfer some of my emotions to them but they definately temper mine and make living easier.
Good luck with the separation anxiety though. You can get on top of that one too, just will take time and lots and lots and lots of patience.
Let us know how the first visit and it's aftermath goes.
Thanks Gina, I am having problems posting. Grrrrr
Buster is back for awhile at least. He was never crate trained and I am going to have to try and work on that. He would always get so upset my daughter didn't work on it and I warned her and now..well, we need to work on his crate training. He got mad when she left him alone and he acted out. Messing the house and getting into things, so she brought him back to me. This is not good! I and doing an internet search on crate training but if you have some ideas I am open to them. He was a rescue and was abused so my daughter always forgave him bad behavior...we have a bit of a monster on our hands!! I know I am to blame as well....
Well, here is what I know from a dog trainer friend of mine about crate training. Dogs will not sleep in their messes. If you have one of those big metal crates with the plastic tray bottoms, you partition it off into a front and a back part. You keep the dog in the front part during training because if you do not partition, the dog will mess in the front and sleep in the back or the other way around. That's my contribution.
Thanks Mary. Today was not a good day. He's supper confused and taking it out on me! He does not roll with things too well I'm afraid. I put his treats in the crate as well as his meal...he ate them from there, I did not close the door and with Wynn here he inhales his meals and treats. By himself he eats normal but boy not here with Wynn, daughter was shocked how well he did with his food by himself. Going to be a long process I'm afraid. He is about 5 now and has had his way for a very long time.
Hey Ex T, have been thinking about you guys and just wondering how things are going with the star crossed lovers? Hoping you're getting a little bit of normalcy now that things might be falling into a pattern.
Oh Gina...well, like I said before, Buster was acting out ...mostly against me! What the heck..why? I wear hearing aids..he got one...and lots of other things of mine. I dunno..total was a few thousand dollars....darn dog! Daughter was in shock!! Me too!! Didn't bother anyone else's things. Only mine! Guess he loves me more, or just the opposite. Anyways, daughter brought him back to her place for awhile. Wynn is so so much better than she was. I can't believe what a good dog I have!! Buster would never let me pay any special attention to Wynn, maybe she liked it for the few days he was gone last time and now that he has been gone again for a couple of days we are bonding a bit more..well, I don't even know I should say that...it's just different because I can speak to her and there isn't Buster at my face for talking to Wynn and I mean he would get in my face! Literally. I do miss Buster though. Wynn this time doesn't seem to mind, not so much, she is acting fine. Weird. I was so darn worried. It was impossible to walk them both together and could not take one, without the other..but now, I'll ask if she wants to walky and she gets so excited and loves her walk..and Buster isn't here to stop her from playing ball with me...he would get mad and take her ball and destroy it and lay on it. OMG he is a little bully! But he was abused and he has ribs kicked in to prove that. It is impossible to get truly mad at him for his behavior. I mean, yes I am mad about what he destroyed...but not at him. I understand but don't know what to do about it. He will nip the other household members, but has never tried to bite me. He always tries to protect me...the minute my husband comes in the house he runs and stands between us and growls at him..and he loves my husband. Same with anyone else..he will stand between us and if they get to close or hug me, he gets upset and will nip. I honestly don't know what the HELL to do! And I feel really stupid that it's gotten so out of hand! I have own dogs all my life..never before Jack Russells or Russell crosses and I do know they are a bit different but this is nuts!
This post was modified from its original form on 05 Sep, 18:47
Who knew the problem would be Buster. Well, it does make sense kinda...
First of all, I completely missed your first post about this somehow so, I'm so sorry about that!
Back to Buster, He is the one who's dealing with the most change. Yes, Wynn lost her friend but she at least got to keep her stable house and routine. I bet she's loving the extra attention. You'll probably start seeing her own personality shining through.
It all sounds like a dominance/submissive problem more than anything else. As well as, the separation anxiety and protective issues. The way he is with Wynn, always getting in the way, so to speak. He sees himself as dominant and as dominant expects to be treated dominant. When that happens, you always have to treat the dominant dog first. In other words, give him attention before you give Wynn attention. Play with him first. If they do have a fight, deal with him and remove him from the room first then tend to the other dog involved. Feed him first. Etc. It might seem a little like you're feeding into it but it'll make him feel more comfortable in his position and might ease some of the tension.
The nipping and aggression, you guys definately need to nip in the bud. It's fairly harmless now but it can, and probably will, continue to spiral. Jack's are stubborn and they are known for their anxiety and aggression tendencies. But they're not above training. And that's what it all comes down to.
There's a couple of different ways to go about everything. Crating is a good tool because if done properly, it gives the dog a safe haven. Someplace they feel safe and happy away from you or your daughter or anyone else he might be attached to. This will help combat separation anxiety. You can't use the crate as punishment though. It needs to be a safe haven. You guys also need to be super strong because he's going to fight it. Howl and yowl but he will eventually crack. You just have to make sure he cracks before you guys do.
And that's going to be the hardest part of the whole thing. I'm not going to lie. It's hard. And it's going to take a lot of time and patience. Any behavioral changes that you attempt, everyone has to be on the same page and be strong. You have to get out of your heads that he can be allowed to do what he wants because he was abused. Otherwise he's going to win every time. That's the hard part. But you can do it. I know it!
Never feel stupid either!! Every dog is different and they know how to get to us and they know how to play us. You've recognized a problem now and you can get on top of it.
I would very much suggest meeting with and working with a good trainer/behaviorist. They can work with you, watch what you guys are doing and instruct both you and Buster on what to do and not to do. They can be expensive and there's a lot of different schools of thought out there. Talk with a variety of trainers before you commit to one and make sure they're method and themselves, work with you and your family and with Buster. Not all methods will work on all dogs, just like humans. Don't be afraid to shop around for trainers and ask questions. Personally, I like the trainers that work with the owners and the dogs from the very start rather than taking the dog for a certain amount of time, training the dog then working with the dog and owners together. But, like I said, everyone is different.
Why he's targeting you? Again, dominance and attention. He's competeing and acting out. He's all discombobulated. He sees you as head and therefore you're the one to target. Plus, he's attached to you, protecting you. So, you're going to be his object of attention.
I also totally missed Nancy's post about DAP (dog appeasing pheremone) now called Appease. This is a pheremone probduct based off of what the mother gives off to her pups to calm them. It's works better than the feline pheremones but it still won't work all of the time. It comes in a collar, spray or diffuser. Try the spray or collar first as the diffuser is like $50.
With people, him nipping when someone gets near you. Always try to have him leashed when someone new comes into the house. New as in not in the house before. If he lunges and nips, calmly and confidently tell him no and tell him to sit or down or something else. Give the person some treats and have them approach slowly offering treats if he doesn't nip or show signs of fear or aggression. Do not give him a treat if he growls or lunges or nips. Only when he's doing something good. Praise good and wanted behavior, not bad behaviour. Do this with as many people are possible and work up to people coming towards you.
If it's more he nips out of excitement from seeing the other person. So if he gets all excited that a new person is there and talking to him and then they move towards you and because he's so hopped up, he reacts. Then have everyone who comes in and you ignore him until he's calm, then they can go up to him and talk to him. Reward good behavior, not bad.
These are just a few tips. But definately something you need to get on top of. The other thing is that you and your daughter or her husband needs to be in charge, not just you because he's not your dog and you only see him occasionally now. Does that make sense?
Hopefully this isn't just a bundle of nonsense. It's late and thought are kind of jumbling. Hope this helps a little bit. good luck!
Thanks for the advise Gina, it all makes perfect sense...we are going to need all the help we can get. Now with Buster with my daughter again..poor Buster...I am sure he is mad, with all the changes again, and what I was doing with the crate will be forgotten. I just hope she will continue but in an apartment complex...I kinda doubt it...all that barking will not go over too well.
I can only hope that he, like Wynn, will as you put it, come into his own and his behavior get better. Those two dogs together were harder to control and would not listen well at all. Wynn has calmed down so much. When I let them both out the door it was a race who could get out first and flying around the back yard..now I almost have to drag Wynn out there. I took her with me to take my husband to work this morning and she will normally make all kinds of noise in the car if I did take her anywhere...would not sit still and would lunge to get out the car door and I would have to hang on for dear life to her leash. She sat on the center console and made very little noise and waited for me to get out of the car and call her out...wth...not Wynn at all. I am liking this dog! LOL Not just loving her!!
1) Sore shoulder so brief words here. 2 comments. First is why on earth don't people use the Internet for the terrific source that it is. My gosh, there are tons and tons of information on training everywhere. YouTube, the Dog Lady, etc., etc. Look this stuff up ... it's out there. The itty bit I know about crate training is start very slow ... put treats in crate, door open ... next, sit in front of crate, door open ... later, sit in front of crate, door closed for short time 2-5 min. All this before you put dog in and close door. Then, go out for short time 2-5 min. and work up to longer.
2) My super mellow Shiki gets his one aggressive molecule in action when this one lady comes over. He growls at her. She has 4 dogs. Why? No one else.
Luv all of u, xo to Gina & Mary from Shiki
p.s. gonna try Appease!
You are right Kate. Thank you.
I have Buster with me again now, he came back day before yesterday..poor dog is playing musical houses. I am thinking it might be more permanent. I did start putting treats in the crate when he was here last..and letting him go in to find it, did not get to the part of closing the door just yet. I am going to go get one of those Kongs for him, hopefully today. He is very very food oriented. Both Petco and Petsmart are almost an hour away from me but I think I can get there today..I have the car today.. I am so happy they are putting a Petco much closer but it's still a work in progress. Honestly, both dogs behavior is better apart but it is what it is. I think if I can at least get him crate trained everyone including Buster will be happier. If not. So be it...we will just deal and try and out smart the little devil. Not likely!
Things have changed so much for the whole family and everyone is dealing the best way we know how, I wish Buster and Wynn could understand what is going on. I know they feel the stress and don't like the changes. It does hurt my heart to see their confusion.
But again thanks...I appreciate what you said. And agree! Anyways, fingers crossed.
Hugs to you both too
Yes, Kate, there's a lot of good information out there on the internet but there's also a lot of not so good information. And no matter what you read and what you try to do on your own, there's no substitute for talking and working with a professional trained in the problem you're having. I mean, I can read 100 times about how to fix my shower but I know that a plumber can probably do a much better and more permanant job.
With training dogs, there's also some measure of a cheerleader being needed. Someone on the outside showing you what to do, cheering you on when things get frustrating and generally being there with tips and help. There's nothing to beat that. Training can get frustrating. It's nice to have someone there telling you what to do and keeping your spirits up, reassuring you that you're on the right track.
There's also hundreads of methods out there for training. Not all methods work for all dogs. It's about finding the method and the trainer that works with you and your particular pet. Those are the best success stories.
Hang in there Ex T you guys will find your groove no matter how things work out. Hopefully at the end of it, you'll have 2 dogs you like and love.