I adopted a Labrador retriever/Siberian Husky mix from the Humane Society almost two months ago, called Roxy. Roxy's a pretty good dog - housebroken, great with kids, reasonably smart. But she has separation anxiety, and I have been working with the Humane Society trainers on that; in addition, I've had her on anti-anxiety medication (Clomipramine/Clamiprazole). But the past week hasn't been good, and this is an e-mail I sent earlier today to the HSBV trainer:
It's been a while since we spoke about my HSBV adoptee, Roxy. Mainly because work has been hectic, so I have to some extent put off the problem of separation anxiety with doggy day care five days/week. I have got Roxy up to about 5-6 minutes of separation, though I haven't tested longer durations. A couple of times she displayed some anxiety even during those five minutes - she was standing up in her crate as I walked out the door, and whined throughout. On a later try, though, she was initially anxious, but then settled down. I suppose the Clamiprazole (spelling?) should be kicking in about now, which should help.
I was writing mainly to give you a heads-up and ask for any advice you have. This week, Roxy has not been visibly happy to see me - I use her tailwagging as a marker, but one can tell even otherwise. She seems happy to meet random strangers on the road during her walks, or when she enters the Dog Spot and greets Shannon or Ann. But when I go to pick her up, she's less enthused; earlier she used to try and jump on me, but these days it's more a "meh!" attitude. When I try to pet her at home, she's very reluctant to come over, and just turns over and lets me rub her belly or whatever - what I interpret as "let's get this over with." At the same time, if I get up and move around, she keeps an eye on me, which tells me she isn't over her separation anxiety.
I keep thinking of reasons - I am the fun Nazi who doesn't allow her to chase cats/squirrels/hares, takes her away from doggy daycare where she plays; or she's just tired/burnt out from day care that when she gets home, she just wants to curl up and sleep. The only time I see a slow wag is if I have a treat or am taking her out for a walk.
Obviously, I am not too thrilled with the situation, and it's not a good time, given that if I want to have her at doggy day care next week, I'll have to pony up more $$$ (and at $480 for a month...). So I will work with her more over the weekend, and next week it will be sink-or-swim time for Roxy and me. I plan on leaving her at home while I go to work, and if she's OK staying alone, fine. Otherwise - if she's happier with other people, we don't seem to be bonding, and she just "needs" me but doesn't "want" me, I don't see why I should keep pouring my time and money into her. It's like a bad marriage...
Any advice/tips would be appreciated. I'd be happy to come in and talk, if that would help - I really want this to work. She's a great dog otherwise - housebroken, a reasonably good learner, good with my friends' kids.
Sink or swim. [Though as a friend pointed out, since I am already looking at HSBV cats, I might have made up my mind. OTOH, I have also been looking at HSBV dogs for a companion to Roxy if required, so I don't know... She also says that maybe I am just not a dog person, and Roxy senses that. Who knows?!]