The first few times we had to leave her (we are leaving her in the crate while we are gone because if we didn't, we'd come home to something destroyed I'm sure), it seemed she only cried/barked for 4 to 5 minutes and then slept the rest of the time. I have been videotaping her when we're gone. Then I read that some people give Kongs to their dogs while they leave and that helps the separation anxiety. Well, it only keeps her quiet for 10 to 20 minutes, depending. Then after that she cries and whines for a while.
The first time we gave her the Kong she didn't cry at all after she was finished with the Kong and it was GREAT. But now she's gone full fledged tear stuff up when the owners are away. She tore up a sheet in her crate. Then yesterday we had to go to church and then we had to grocery shopping after (we were gone for maybe 2 and a half hours) she tore up the pillow in her crate. On the video, she was busy with her Kong for about 17 minutes, then after that decided to stop working on it (even though the Kong wasn't fully finished), start whining and barking for a while instead. Then she'd get quiet except for some whining. The whining is totally fine - that will not bug the neighbors, but the barking and howling definitely will, I'm sure. Then she'd lie down and rest for 5 or 10 minutes, get back up and start whining and barking again, then lie down again, and then bark and whine again, etc. It went on like that for a while. Then at some point she got sick of it all and decided to tear up her pillow.
I've been reading articles about separation anxiety and we already do most of what it suggests. We haven't done the lavender oil for calming though. Has anyone done that? Not sure how much that would really help honestly. We bought some lavender oil spray just to try for next time anyway...
Having the tv on while we were gone only seemed to make things a lot worse. We haven't done the soft/relaxing music yet, but we could try it, though I'm afraid it would just have the same outcome as having the tv on.
We exercise her before we go anywhere. We even take her to the dog park almost daily for an hour and she runs with the other dogs, we take her for three or four 20-minute walks a day, and we've even been doing the treadmill with her, which she is really good at and actually seems to enjoy it (when we first got her on the treadmill she was not scared of it at all, even when we turned it on and it started moving. It was as if she had been on a treadmill before, though we know she hasn't been). We've been having her do half a mile twice daily on the treadmill usually at 3 mph or less. We are going to work up to a faster speed and longer times eventually.
We have been training her and she catches on very quickly. She knows sit and paw and stay, though she isn't 100% on stay yet. We have been trying to use that and Cesar's way (the Dog Whisperer) to keep her from following us incessantly from room to room. We've been using most all of Cesar's way to train her which works great, just takes time.
Don't really know what to do with the separation anxiety issue. Hopefully she'll just grow out of it, but I've read that some dogs never do? With the way she is now, we have no idea when we'll be able to keep her out of the crate while we're gone. I don't want to come home to our couch shredded, etc.
I know that vets can prescribe anxiety medicine or anti-depressants that are supposed to help, but I've heard from a lot of people that they did nothing for their dog's separation anxiety?
We can't totally stop our lives just for her. We have to go out and get groceries and go to the doctors and whatever else. And we can't bring her in the car everywhere we go, even if she does love car rides (we do take her on plenty of car rides as is, actually).
Anyone have any suggestions for separation anxiety and what you did and what helped? Did your dog have it and grow out of it or did something really, really work for your dog to get over their separation anxiety? Did or does your dog follow you from room to room?