Separation Anxiety

Jujube has bad separation anxiety. She gets anxious, whines incessantly, paces, and paws at the door. For the past few days, I tried to do some slow desensitization with her, but I know it's not enough for her. I had to go back to work today. What can I do? I have to go to work, but yet feel so guilty about it.

Two days ago, I practiced going out and returning calmly. Ignoring her both when I left and returned, trying to make the whole ordeal as much of a non issue as I could. I would leave for like 5 seconds. I worked it up to however long it takes me to get the mail. I did this like 20 times. I'm not really sure she got any better.

The good thing is Loki got better. He would used to bark at her for whining and being so unstable. But through my repetitive in and out, Loki started to ignore Juju's whining.

Yesterday, I left to grab a bite at McDonalds; it couldn't have been more than 10 minutes. I put her in the exercise pen. By the time I returned, she had contorted the pen into some odd shape that left her with hardly any room at all and she spilled her water bowl.

After that, I tried an even lesser demanding desensitization exercise. I put her in the bedroom and closed the door, just so that she would be physically separated from me in the house. Wow... that still made her just as anxious as before. Whining, pacing, pawing. I even spoke to her, so she knew I was there. I repeatedly said, "Calm down," in my most soothing voice. And opened the door only when she finally gave up the whining and slumped down next to the door. We did that 10 times over. I think that's the level that a proper desensitization program for her would have to start at. Even going in and out of the house is too much for her.

I know she needs a slower rate of desensitization than I can give her. But what can I do? I have to go to work. Yun agreed to stop by during his lunch hour. That's the best we can do now.


Darcey said...

What you're doing is really the best you -can- do. The only additional things I can suggest are giving her some "x-pen only" toys and treats, so that she knows at least she's going to get totally yummy food / the best toy EVAR when she's in the x-pen.

My fox-demon child was left "home alone" at an early age, and so we've never had this issue, but you're going about it exactly as you should; it just may be that Jujube hasn't been alone for such a long time, she's afraid you'll never come back. Hopefully Loki's "come on, it's cool. they'll be home." sort of attitude can rub off on her.

Xarien said...

Actually, Loki's more of a "Good, now I'm the king of the castle; don't ever come back" type. ;)

Maro said...

I had same problem with my shiba right after he was adapted when he was a year old. He would scream really loud, I could hear him a few blocks away. In my experience, there was no overnight solution - I talked to my neighbors and let them know I'm working on the probelm, before they start complaining. No eye contact and talk when I leave or come home, also tried to do differnt things every time I leave so he would not suspect I'm about leaving, etc. After a month or so, he finally stopped. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Gift Hampers said...

This is such an inspirational story to share...

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