The first thing Fern  (previously Nelly ) did when she arrived at her new home was wrestle and 'kill' her bed. In fact her entire first week (which I had taken off work ) was full of fun and games. I spent a bit of time training her to accept her kennel and run in preparation for leaving her to go to work and it seemed to go well. The only request I had on my application form was for a dog who would be happy to be left alone during the day.

Two days into my next working week I had a call from my neighbor - did I realise my dog was crying all day? The following day the call was from animal control. The next month was hell! I set up my gopro and every night was spent viewing Fern howling fit to bust, and googling separation anxiety. I spent a fortune on various treatments, played her music, gave her bones, my clothing......you name it I tried it. The separation anxiety got worse, as well as howling Fern started destroying anything that she thought was getting between her and me. After a second warning from animal control I resorted to anti-anxiety drugs from the vet and spent four solid days hiding behind the fence and yelling at her when she howled - yep, negative reinforcement, exactly what the experts said not to do but hell,  I was desperate as the remaining solution was to give her up. Obviously by this time I had fallen in love with her! Finally success, a howl free day. She's not perfect and still gets anxious when left but without the threat of a call from dog control I have time to help her through it. I imagine I'm not the only one going through this.

If you are experiencing separation anxiety and need support please feel free to get in touch - wsullivan@xtra.co.nz.

Wendy

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