Total panic at being left. He flew at the lady and bit her.
He’s never been happy being left, but now something has caused young Huxley to flip when the lady gets ready to leave him.
Why now? Probably this has something to do with him being an adolescent, and could also have something to do with a second fear period
They have unwittingly made it worse by giving him his own ‘cabin’ down the garden – somewhere they had hoped his barking would not upset the neighbour.
It has a sofa and a carpet.
But Huxley isn’t interested in home furnishings. Being a lockdown puppy, he is only interested in having company.
At the first hint that they are going to leave him behind he shakes. Over the past few days it’s turned into panic.
This got so bad that when the lady had to leave him for the school run she was having to force him into his garden cabin.
A few days ago, so badly did he panic that he broke out of the harness. The lady chased and tried to catch him.
Huxley lost it. He flew at her, leaping up and biting her.
This episode seems to have ignited a couple more problems. It’s like the build-up of stress has unleashed something in the seven-month-old Bassett Hound.
On a couple of walks now he has flown at the lady, leaping up and biting her.
Then lady’s father who often looks after Huxley when she is working, worn down by Huxley’s demand barking, shouted at him.
The barking was triggered as soon as the man did something else – like being on his phone or laptop.
Now Huxley is very likely scared of the man who previously he loved and played with.
The barking has turned to aggression and defiance and once Huxley starts it’s constant.
If it doesn’t stop, the parents don’t want to look after him anymore.
Teenage defiance and fear
Huxley is about to lose his daycare now.
I suggest no more exciting play with the father but calming occupations with plenty to chew. and to do. The dad can also deliberately use his phone or laptop, throwing bits of kibble about as he does so.
This way he can show the now disturbed Huxley the behaviour he does want instead of shouting (poor man – we all know how exhausting constant barking can be!).
Left alone in the van
Interestingly, the male owner sometimes takes Huxley to work which means leaving him his van. Huxley is fine being left there. He doesn’t panic each time the man leaves him which will be several times during the day.
There is a lesson to be learnt here – the man has been doing this right from the start.
Had they prepared Huxley from the start to being walked out on at home, he would probably be okay now.
A ‘happy place’.
The first thing to consider must be WHERE to leave him. It surely has to be a place where he is already happy. He won’t be happy ‘banished’ down the end of the garden.
Then they will take it slowly. Huxley needs to be happy and willing to go into the place they choose. Good things will happen in there. Lots of repetitions.
Slowly they will build a sequence, leading to going out of the front door and coming back in again. Every time Huxley is left behind the gate in the chosen ‘happy place’, even for a moment, they will give him food.
At no stage should he be allowed to panic.
The challenge with separation cases is those times when you just have to leave the dog and you can find no alternative. They will find things even harder if their ‘dad daycare’ ends.
Huxley’s panic, I’m sure, is due to fear of abandonment. When the man leaves him in his van, he knows he won’t be abandoned. The man always comes back. He has been proved it over and over.
Now they need to prove over and over that when they leave him in their chosen ‘happy place’, that they always come back.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help