In August, my boyfriend and I adopted a beautiful, sweet dog named Wallaby. The humane society said he was a chihuahua/australian cattle dog mix but honestly I think he is more of a mini pinscher than a cattle dog! Pretty quickly we realized that Wallaby suffered from separation anxiety. Having a dog with social anxiety and separation anxiety can be tough. Knowing that you have to leave your dog alone when going to work, school, etc can be rough when you know they have these problems. For me, not only do I feel guilty leaving him alone when I know he is upset, I also get upset thinking about what he might have gone through before we adopted him. We know a little about his past before us and when we adopted him, Wallaby had just recovered from a broken jaw. Whoever abandoned him had most likely broken his poor jaw. Literally writing that just made me start tearing up. He is the sweetest boy in the world who loves his humans more than anything and to think he suffered like that, crushes my heart.
Over the last 6 months, we have observed several triggers that will scare him. Some are obvious; loud sounds, crashing sounds, fireworks. Others are a little more random, like if I even touch a broom or mop, he instantly cowards and hides. Also if a strange man comes close to him, he will start to shake, cry, and bark. Luckily, the more time we take him out to meet people and other dogs, the more confident he is getting and the fears that he had are slowly disappearing.
During the first visit with his vet after the adoption, we explained to the vet all the behaviors that Wallaby had whenever he realized we were leaving. As soon as he sees us get our keys or even put socks on, he will start to shake pretty severely, then comes the jumping. He will jump on us hoping we will stay or at least take him with us. He will start nibbling at our hands and clothing as well. At this point, we usually notice that he is aroused, which is apparently common for dogs with separation anxiety. The worst thing that happened because of his anxiety was severe damage to our bedroom door. He had started scratching underneath the door in order to try and reach us so every time we would get home, wood and paint chips would be everywhere!
The vet made us feel better about this situation, she suggested several techniques and ideas to help with his anxiety. The main one was CBD. I had heard that it could help humans with anxiety but I had no idea it would work for dogs as well! She also suggested reading a book called Decoding Your Dog: Explaining Common Dog Behaviors and How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones by American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. I am so glad she suggested that book because it gave some many tricks and ideas to help a dog with this condition. We bought him so CBD oil and give it to him in the mornings and an hour before we leave him alone. It was been a miracle worker. We also started working on some techniques that were mentioned in the book suggested by the vet.
We will have had Wallaby for 7 months come January 6th. Wallaby still suffers from separation anxiety but it’s nowhere as severe as it was when he first got him. He has stopped damaging the bedroom door and the shaking has calmed down. He still jumps on us when he knows we are leaving but as soon as we get him to sit and say settle to him, he calms down. Since we have been taking out to interact with people and other dogs to places like PetSmart and dog parks, he has come out of his shell and enjoys getting attention from strangers and meeting dogs.
Wallaby’s anxiety will probably always be a problem but at this point with the CBD oil and techniques we have implemented, his anxiety is manageable. If your dog has anxiety, social or separation, I highly recommend talking to your vet about CBD and reading the book, Decoding Your Dog. Knowing he is getting better has been such a relief for us and him too.
CBD oil we use: https://hempbombs.com/product/pet-cbd-oil-125mg/