Thinking about returning my (new) dog because of seperation anxiety

So around 10 days ago me and my gf adopted a female Podenco from an organisation. The first couple of days everything was fine, but after around day 4-5 she developed seperation anxiety – I cant even leave the room for 5 mins with my gf without her barking like absolutely insane. I asked the organisation/animal welfare before if its possible to leave her alone for 30-60 mins (like for a quick shopping tour) and they told us yes. But now it turns out it is almost impossible to leave her alone for 5 mins. I contacted them and they told me to just let her bark, she just wants some attention. But we are living in a rental appartment. Letting her bark for hours is not an option. We also have an issue with getting her energy out because

A: She is afraid of dogs – so a dog park or heavy visited park is not an option really.

B: She was sick for a couple of days and on anti biotics and the vet told us to let her rest a lot.

The lack of sleep is driving me insane and I always thought I would not be the one sending an already adopted dog back. But I am at a point where I cant anymore. Also besides her being 4 years old, she almost behaves like a puppy she ocassionally pees on the carpet.

Yes I got plenty of home office but not enough to work on so many issues. I wish they would have told us about this.

Now I am confliced because I am feeling connected to her, but also feel resentment, shame and embarrassment. The lack of sleep is probably not helping… But I literally develope anxiety when I think about home and the dog.

If it’s causing you not to sleep and you don’t think it’s something you can do. Then returning the dog may be best. But please do keep in mind that all dogs will have a big adjustment period that will take time and effort to combat.

How a dog acts in one environment can be very different for another, so it might not be that the rescue lied but actually didn’t know. Like you’ve said she’s peeing in the house, that can be because she doesn’t know where to actually go rather than not being house trained. Don’t just let her bark, it doesn’t help with the anxiety. My main bits of advice are:

-go back to basics with the toilet training and taking her out regularly then praising when she’s going in the right place. Don’t tell her off for doing it wrong, just clean it up with some enzyme spray

-Have a look into the flitting game, this can help dogs learn they can be on their own

This is probably an unpopular opinion but I think you should bring the dog back. Having a young energetic dog in an apartment takes a lot of effort under the best conditions. Add in the separation anxiety and fear of other dogs and you’re really going to be in for a rough time. Yes you can work on these problems but it takes a lot of time and effort, and even with that effort you may find you can manage the issues but never fully get past them. It sounds like this is your first dog, right? I really think this is not a good fit.

Yes all dogs need training and will have an adjustment period but you should be starting with a dog who will fit your lifestyle. If that means a house-trained, lower energy, dog-friendly, more independent dog you can find that, you might just have to look for a while to find the right match.

You can spend 3 months waiting for her to “settle” but it’s going to be harder on you, your partner, and the dog if you have to return her once you’ve all bonded. And if you don’t return her and she doesn’t naturally settle, you may be facing a very long road of expensive behavioral experts, lifestyle limitations, and ongoing “work” with minimal reward.

A lot of practical advice here for training which is great! I just wanted to say that I felt the same for the first few weeks with our rescue pup – I didn’t think we could do it, I was having panic attacks and crying because of the lack of sleep and I didn’t even feel a connection with the little guy. I’m so glad I stuck it out though – it’s such a big adjustment period for you and them. You’ve only had her 10 days so be patient with the separation anxiety – you’re the only comfort she has in this scary new world right now. Building her confidence is the biggest thing right now, there are a lot of resources online to help with this. If you can help her become a confident dog – a lot of the bad behaviours naturally slip away

You may end up having to return her if it’s really not working out but I would advise you to stick with it for at least a couple of months so you know you’ve given it the best go you could.


By tranthe

We never say no to any dog – mixed breeds, banned breeds, disabled dogs and seniors. We try to rescue them all. Unfortunately, we cannot do that without the public’s continued support.

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