Separation Anxiety (also Crate Anxiety & Claustrophobia)

Separation Anxiety (also Crate Anxiety & Claustrophobia)

Postby chelynnah » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:22 pm

From: kentruth (Original Message) Sent: 15/04/2005 15:37
This is a hard subject to discuss without people feeling that a finger is being pointed in

someones direction, in no way am I laying blame at anyone's doorstep. The purpose

of my question is more of an inquiry as to a general concensus of what is separation

anxiety and do you feel it a matter of nurture versus nature or possibly an infinite

combination of factors.

Naturally I have formed my own opinion on the matter, personally I feel there is

some genetic basis (related dogs not raised together) with the enviromental factors

(how they are raised) weighing in heavily on the matter.

I describe a dog with SA as being fearful, nervous, insecure, and having a great deal

of difficulty functioning outside of its comfort zone. At the same time I find them to

be highly intelligent, manipulative, and loving to the utmost degree.

So my question is;

How and what is Separation Anxiety in your opinion?


From: WebWILL2 Sent: 15/04/2005 18:23
I've always understood it to refer to a dog that has emotional issues leading to negative behaviors when left alone or left by his owner (with someone other than the owner).

This dog may or may not have some of the other issues of fearfulness, nervousness, etc.


From: WildAbout_Whippets1 Sent: 15/04/2005 19:00
Oooh, very interesting questions! I truly believe I have one (out of four whippets) with SA.

My guess is that SA can be described with tons of scenerios, but it must be a combination of events/behaviors that would classify a dog as having true SA. Scotch (my SA whippet) was brought up the exact same as her half sister, Vegas (just different litters). Same breeder, same training techniques, etc... They are as different as night and day so I'm hesitant to say environment has much involvement in SA cases. Scotch could not be crated by herself. She chewed through crate bars, broke teeth, damanged her face, soiled herself and screamed! If she managed to get out of a crate she would pull up the carpet next to any door, chewed the bottom of the door, chewed an entire window sill and scatter my clothes throughout the room . I even had to leave the shower curtain cracked while I was showering because if Scotch couldn't see me she'd poop and pee right on the bathmat!

Scotch was far more nervous as a pup, but now as an adult she has established comfort zones. She can be left with the other three whippets without much trouble. But if her routine is disturbed, she gets very anxious. I took the trash out the other day at a different time. While I was standing on the curb I could see Scotch pawing and chewing at the window . She was a wreck when I came back into the house; panting, drooling, etc...

I think people jump to the conclusion of SA when a pup doesn't like a crate or defecates/urinates in a crate. There is far more to SA than just crate issues. I believe that SA is not curable, but manageable.

Annie & Scotch

From: WildAbout_Whippets1 Sent: 15/04/2005 19:01
I meant to add that I DO think genetics play a role in SA too as Scotch has some relatives that displayed some sketchy behaviors.


From: Chinabound98 Sent: 16/04/2005 09:08
In the dog training circle, SA is defined as a type of attachment disorder wherein the dog become over-bonded to the key attachment figure and becomes unable to cope with the absence of that person. SA dogs are the ones that flip out when the owner leaves and all destruction is focused on entry/exit points of the attachments figure and/or that person's belongings. In true cases of SA, having (or getting) a second dog doesn't help, b/c the SA dog is suffering from the absence of the attachment figure, not the absence of other dogs.

In many cases of what I see people call SA, the dog is simply insecure and/or has never been taught to be alone. In those cases, a second dog can help, although it's never my first choice.

I'm not sure if I believe SA can be genetic. I do absolutely believe, however, that breeders can heavily contribute the liklihood of the pups developing SA. For example, it is super important that the mother be given the opportunity to leave the whelping box when the puppies are really little. It's how they first learn that the attachment figure can leave, but returns (when they cry, mom comes back to see her babies, etc.) The breeder doesn't need to force the mom to leave, she'll do it in her own time, when nature tells her it's correct. I've seen breeders that set up the whelping area in an X-pen type set up, so the mother can't leave unless the humans let her out. That creates the potential for over-bonding to attachment figures, and can carry over to the new owner, etc.

More often than not, I see the insecure dog that hasn't been taught to be left alone. Dogs are social, pack-oriented animals. Being left alone goes against what they are programmed for -- however, when we bring them into our lives, it's a given that we will have to leave them alone. Teaching them to accept that is, in my opinion, the most important lesson a young puppy learns. It's one of the first things I teach a new puppy (along with house training and that I can be more fun than the environment.)

Just my point-oh-too! :-)


From: kentruth Sent: 16/04/2005 12:59
Thanks to all of you for the food for thought I'm mulling over all of your responses, and I guess what jumps out is that there is not hard and fast definition as to what is SA.

From: WildAbout_Whippets1 Sent: 16/04/2005 13:32
Stephanie -

I'm just curious to know if you would classify Scotch as a SA dog? She no longer chews up exit points of the house (except when I took out the trash the other day) but I also have her on a pretty strict routine.

Although Scotch and Vegas were raised exactly the same, they were from two different litters. I did a bit more research and it looks as though several of Scotch's littermates displayed signs of SA, but not any of Vegas' littermates. Hmmm


From: Joyful-framer Sent: 16/04/2005 14:03
SA to me is a mental illness like any mental illness that can be found in us humans like depression, anxiety dissorders, stress etc. I know the words "mental illness" sound like over kill but that's the way they discribe any dissorder involving behavior and feelings in humans. Some dissorders run in families, some are from enviroment and most pop up out of no where with no explaination. I think there are degrees of SA and it can be displayed in many different ways in different dogs. I don't think any one cure will help all of our "kids" with SA and the owners have to figure out what works best for their "kids". Some non dog people I know think I'm insane and think a dog is a dog and that's it but I know they all have fears, feelings, quirks and each needs be treated like an individual and it's our job as parents to help them out in any way we can.
Joy, Twiggy and Willow

From: zeldamaewhip Sent: 16/04/2005 14:06
I have been reading about pack behavior, and have found that some dogs with separation "issues" are confused as to their role in their pack. They may think that they are the pack leader and need to keep watch over the rest of the pack, and when the pack is broken up it is very stressful for them. Zelda doesn't do well alone, loose or crated, with or without another dog. I don't know where she would get the idea that she leads us, it's not like she's overprotected or babied ! We are working on learning more about dog language, and re-establishing our roles in the pack.

From: Chinabound98 Sent: 17/04/2005 04:42
Hi Annie,

Yes, from what you describe, I'd likely classify Scotch as an SA dog. The chewing of entry/exit points and your clothes, along with the psysiological symptoms (drooling, panting, etc.) very much go along with what I believe is true SA.

It sounds like you have done a wonderful job bringing her along far enough to have developed comfort zones, etc. Good for you! I know it hasn't been easy!

From what you say, it does sound like there may be a genetic component --- to the extent that it can leave a puppy pre-disposed to developing SA. SA is tough and often mis-understood by many. Like you say, many people think that if the puppy cries in the crate or messes in the crate, it has SA - when that's the furthers thing from the truth.


From: Miss-ChievousDad1 Sent: 17/04/2005 18:34
When Miss-Chievous came to live with us, she was a year old. The first day she was with us, and I went to pick up the mail, and left her in the house, she cried and screamed, looking at me out the window.

I started leaving her alone inside the house, with a doggie door to the rear yard. (We have three acres in the country) for 10 to 15 minutes, increasing the time to several hours over the course on a few months.
Within three months, Miss-Chievous could be left alone in the house with access to the rear yard, all day, with no destruction.

I am retired, so I am with her most all of the time, but it is nice to be able to go out and return to a home that is still in one piece.

From: surreyhill Sent: 17/04/2005 23:20
Well, Lesley, you know what I think about this, but for those on this board who do not--

My opinion is that Separation Anxiety is a genetically-based predisposition which can be triggered, exacerbated, or controlled by environmental factors, traumatizing experiences, and training/husbandry.

However, I feel SA is rarer in Whippets than claustrophobia, and that many times what is considered SA is actually based in claustrophobia. If the conditions that trigger the attacks of claustrophobia continue, then Separation Anxiety-type behavior may indeed be the result, but claustrophobia is the root of the problem.

Claustrophobia is also a genetic predisposition which might be manageable through clever training or husbandry, or made worse through the efforts of the owner to be very stringent where crating or confinement is concerned.

Although most Whippets do not have SA or claustrophobia, there are enough who do that this is kind of the dirty little secret of the breed. New owners need to be aware that the potential exists, and coached about how to spot the signs early and tell if a puppy is just testing his limits to see if he can manipulate you, or is truly in psychological distress from crate training.

Having a pretty darn good track record when it comes to raising and training Whippets who crate well, like their crates, and are happy to sleep through the day when everyone is gone, and then encountering a few in my breeding program who had severe claustrophobia and which were never able to accept much crating despite my using all of my very best tricks and training techniques, I now am not at all quick to say that if someone cannot get their Whippet to accept crating it's the fault of the trainer/owner. There are definitely some Whippets who are not going to be happily crateable--EVER. But if they can be in a house where they can have free run of some rooms, they are usually very good.

It's just a matter of matching those dogs to the right homes.

Karen Lee

From: chelynnah Sent: 18/04/2005 16:50

I'm right there with you with the claustrophobia thing. Until I, myself, came across it (claustrophobia) and brought it up on another list I'd never heard it put across as a suggestion. But my experience was that Savannah was always fine in her wire crate - never had a problem, but in situations (like a wire crate on a bench, or when we took the train and she had to sit on our lap between seats) she had full blown panic attacks! I finally realised she had claustrophobia - and if I'd tried to put her in a vari-kennel from the beginning rather than a wire crate I'd have thought she had SA.

I'm glad there's other breeders/whippet people out there recognising that there is definitely a problem of claustrophobia and putting it out there as a possiblity when hearing of possible SA.

I'm just grateful Savvy's is associated with closed places and she's still happy in an open crate where she can see what's going on.


From: MariyaJoM Sent: 18/04/2005 18:09
karen lee,
can you share some of your training tips and tricks when working with an sa or claustophobic whippet? ( i have read all the archives, and have done those suggestions, just looking for a fresh perspective, if it's out there).

right now i have one whippet, lily, who will be two in august. she has never cared for the crate. but with some training, i have been able to get her to go in on her own, and able to lock the door, and she will be fine. it's when i am out of sight, or leave the house, when she gets panicky, and will pant and drool excessively. ironically, she is fine in the car, and when i leave her alone, and out of sight in the car. no drooling or panting, just looking and waiting patiently. (unless i am standing 5 feet away).

i cannot leave her in the house, alone, she will chew the window sills, and chairs (not a pretty sight). i have been successful with leaving her in the mud room if i have to go to the neighbors for a few minutes. i give her a sit stay command, and she will still be seated or laying down when i get back (i am usually only gone for about 10 minutes). so, i have been thinking that maybe she really doesn't have sa, if she does well alone in certain situations. any thought?

also, i am going to try to leave her in the mudroom with her bed, for (slowly) extended periods of time, to see if hubby and i can eventually go to dinner without having to get a sitter. oh, also, i have been doing more "regular" trianing with her, so she sees me as the dominant one in the pack.

any suggestions at this point will be most appreciated


From: chelynnah Sent: 18/04/2005 18:15

What kind of crate do you use at home (wire or varikennel). Can she see all around her? Do you leave the TV on? Can she see out a window (ie even if the crate is on the floor, is there a window to let light in and that she might even be able to see out of?

Just some thoughts as to why things might be different at home and in a car.

Like I said, Savannah is fine in a wire crate - no problems at all, but in a space like a vari-kennel or a benching situation where she feels closed in that's where she panicks.


From: SueHop Sent: 26/07/2005 00:29
I have just recently read a small little book called "I'll be home soon" that gives a lot of helpful tips. I can't remember the Author just off the top of my head though.


From: pjrideout Sent: 26/07/2005 01:58
That whole Vari- Crate thing doesn't fly with our whippets. ( So.. we fly no where!)

DeVo (rescue) just freaks out ; Skoshi broke a tooth in one (but! it is her preferred place to take a treat. She thinks she is well hidden "BUT Don't close the latch.... it's too dark and scary in here" ); Radar, "Well, just don't even think about it, Honey, and while we're having this little chat, please, move the other three crates that you might better be able to put my wire crate on top in front of a window. I l-o-v-e to watch the birds at the feeders!" (Truly, He and I had this discussion.) Bandit, the new kid, has his own crate - abode and "dines his room".

DeVo was very skittish, nervous, timid, etc. for the first year we had him. He had also been abused and badly mis-treated in his first home. When he came to us he behaved horribly and was extremely destructive . However, his dam also chewed through doors, etc. Still, his prefrence is a wire crate Or better yet, he goes with you. Left on his own, five years later, he is no longer destructive and very well behaved Whew....!

I lean towards the claustrophobic theory and always assume a whippet needs a wire crate to fit. Beisdes, it becomes their "place to be" and mine seem content to be there when I need that to be the case.

Ofcourse, the only one I've raised "from scratch" is Skoshi. And, this little girl is about the most laid back, easy going bitch of any breed I've ever seen. Until, that is, she spots something to chase and she becomes a totally different animal. Something akin to a whippet, I think!!

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Re: Separation Anxiety (also Crate Anxiety & Claustrophobia)

Postby chelynnah » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:28 pm

From: K9samm1 (Original Message) Sent: 21/05/2005 23:18
Hi All,
Hoping you can help me with some advice for my whippet boy pup. He's going on 8 mos and has suddenly experience severe separation and crate anxiety to the point of self mutilation. He rubs his nose so raw that he has taken a little patch of skin off. He has also taken to defecating as well as urinating if left longer than 3 hrs. I had him on a schedule as i work during the daytime and have given to taking him with me to work as a relief from further self mutilation. He has done well there for up to 5 hrs. when we get home he cries and carries on inhis crate, also if ihave an errand or go out for dinner, i come home to all the horror of the above, such as today. This has just occurred as of mother's day. I cannot think of any trauma, storm or other circumstance or event that has caused or induced this behavior and can only think of severe separation anxiety. This boy was purchased as a show dog, and he is lovely, but with these factors going on I need help to allieviate this behavior soon for his welfare mainly and my sanity secondly. Any information and advice would be greatly appreciated.
thus far, i have had him on a schedule such as this: out at: 5:30 am, brkfst at 6am, then loose in &out from 6:30 till i leave for Work from 8:15 -2pm, then outside of crate for rest of time until dinner (for about 15 mins) and bedtime (10pm -11pm) which he settles much sooner around 9pm> at which time i've started to leave the crate door opened to help with anxiety as he will go into it onhis own but when door closes, anxiety starts again and cries all night. I do have other bitches intact, so with these being housedogs, you see my dilemma and the future of showing....

I thank you in advance for any advice for my poor guy.



From: Kirislin1 Sent: 21/05/2005 23:25
Could he just be saying he HATES being locked up in a crate so often? I think mine would go bonkers if I locked them up.


From: whippetmom Sent: 21/05/2005 23:38
Hi. I have the same problem with my third Whippet, Nigel. The first two are fine, but Nigel drools in his crate to the point of making himself soaked and he whines and his nose gets sore. We have tried everything including Penn behavioral associates. Nothing they suggested worked. They did, however, suggest the vet give him CLOMICALM which is NOT a sedative but a behavior modifying drug. The trouble with that is that he must take it every day and it's VERY expensive. We've avoided the problem for the most part by taking him everywhere, but you can imagine that it's not always practical. So, in other words, I have no solution for you since I'm in the same situation. Let me know if you come up with something. Trish Scanzello (Whippet Mom)

From: Kirislin1 Sent: 21/05/2005 23:42
Could you make a warm sheltered place in your backyard for him to go when it's chilly & leave him outside when you are out?


From: NorenaEmil Sent: 22/05/2005 01:42
Not all dogs are meant to be crated.......some simply hate it, like my Emil.....we tried it when he was a puppy and it didn't work for us. If you can pin point that he cries when in the crate and that it is the crate that is making him miserable, you need to take him away from the crate immediately or you're going to stress him even further.

Also have you had him checked out by a vet to make sure that there's not any physical problems/pain that are causing the stress? That would be the first thing to do.

It makes sense for a dog to be crated when in a car or a certain situation but a dog is not meant to live its life in a crate......personally, I think crating is horrible in a home environmet......a lot of people might disagree but that is my opinion. Especially for a whippet who loves to be around people or on a soft bed where they can fully stretch out, a crate is not a good option. And keeping them in a crate for hours while you're at work and then hours again during the night is absolutely terrible! I'm not saying this is what you're doing but I know people do this and it shocks me.

Please read dog behaviourist, Turid Rugaas's, article on a dog being miserable in a crate. Also look at her other articles/ questions & answers on seperation anxiety issues.

And on being home alone:

Please let us know how your boy is doing.....what's his name?

Norena & Emil

From: K9samm1 Sent: 22/05/2005 13:20
Thank you all for your information, i appreciate it. "Dash" came to bed with me last night and slept well. He might just be a dog indeed that cannot be crated at all, i'll have to be extra creative when going to shows... I also will read thru the archives and see what help i can find there. In the meantime, he will continue to come to work with me or if a short day, will be left loose with my door open which has a doggy door. He has been checked by my vet and no abnormalities or physical circumstances could be found. I guess he is just one that might not be able to tolerate a crate period but will hve to when travelling.

Dash & I thank you.

From: NorenaEmil Sent: 22/05/2005 15:21
Sharon, I'm sure Dash will be a wonderful dog for you just as long as you listen to him and his needs. And he's telling you that he hates the probably means he's a big softie that would much rather be with mommy all the time. Also maybe he needs to have his confidence built up if he's more submissive and shy than dominant? Especially since he's going to be a show dog. Lots of praise and treats should do the trick.

Emil is a mommy's boy too. He's fine when I'm out though.....he'll just lounge on the sofa or bed. He's always had free access in the house and it works just fine. He sure is happy when I come home though and comes over for kisses and cuddles all the time. He also only wants me to walk him and no one's clear that he's at his happiest when I'm nearby. And to be honest, I'm at MY happiest when I'm near him.

Look forward to hearing how it goes in the show ring.

Norena & Emil

From: dixiearrow33 Sent: 23/05/2005 03:48
My Nastar is not one to be crated - never was. What we have done is to keep both he and Dixie in the back of the house on the first floor. We put a door between the kitchen and the dining room, and then added a gate (from Patience) between the kitchen and the foyer. It has worked wonders!!! No problems with Nastar, since no crates are involved, and Dixie likes sleeping in her cozy cave bed when we're not around.
Some dogs just CANNOT be crated, and you need to adjust to suit their needs.


From: islandwhippets Sent: 26/05/2005 19:48
I have 4 whippets and three of them are fine in the car and crates. But we have one female 9 months old that did not crate well or ride in the car. She went into total panic attacks in either place we tried everything. This was a puppy who used to ride in cars and be in the crate without problems. Though we can always crate her with someone , she would drool on the other dog. They were not very happy about that. We were desperate as I was totally housebound with her. So the vet suggested we put her on Clomipramine and try it out. It is actually an anti-depressant that they use in seperation anxiety. She can now ride in the car without making a drooling mess and has falling asleep riding too. We only put her in the crate if we are leaving the house. Most of the time she does ok, occasionally she will drool a bit but nothing like it used to be. My vet suggested keeping her on the drug for 3-6 months and then trying to ween her off it and see how she does. We are planning on weaning her off it at a year if she settles down. She is a very high strung dog and just seems more nervous than the other whippets.


From: CampWhippet Sent: 26/05/2005 22:14
I made the mistake of crating Duke the first day I had him and went to work. I came home to a bloody dog. I left him loose in the house the next day and everything was GREAT!

I also took in a dog named Linus who is the dog mentioned in the archives..... I didn't crate him either and he did great with 5-6 other whippets a doggie-door access to the backyard while I was gone.

I hope your boy responds well to freedom and it is more of a crate issue than a SA issue. SA can be so stressful to you and your pup.

GOOD LUCK and let us know how it all works out!


From: AerynnScarlett Sent: 26/05/2005 22:25
I don't know how helpful this will be, but . . .Scarlett had a tough time with the crate. Not really true separation anxiety, she would howl, bark, yodel, pee and poop in her crate if left even to go get dinner. At the same time, she wasn't to be trusted loose in the house (see the thread about her TP party . . . and that was while I was home with her, but not paying attention!). Everything I read said to make the crate as small as possible, to minimize the "accidents" she had. No luck. But then on a whim I made the crate HUGE (we got a really big one before we brought her home. I guess we thought we were getting a greyhound puppy! ) and she enjoys it much more. Occasionally she even voluntarily sleeps in there. So, if a small crate doesn't work, try a really big one!


From: lassiemel-pj Sent: 26/05/2005 22:33
True Erin! I had to get a huge crate for Piper when she was little because she decided her's was too small. I think she has claustrophobia issues because she doesn't like the car much either...unless the windows are down or Jack is with her. A bigger crate worked great for a while until she started to get bigger....and then she started getting upset again (even though she still had plenty of room).

We eventually just started leaving her out of the crate when she was 7 months and she did great. She never destroyed anything while we were away. She only destroys when we are at home and not paying attention...and even then she'll make sure to trot in with her chosen 'prize' (toilet paper, shoe, magazine, etc.) and shake it violently in front of us...and then run! (she's two now and still a puppy)


From: K9samm1 Sent: 01/06/2005 12:36
Yeap, got them 500 vari kennels and it was like a little condo for them to each have their own. My girl does fine. Dash does fine if he is crated with Ariel and also does fine loose (but has just found out that the pillows on my sofa, thanks to Ariel, make great toys outside). We have set up akennel enclosure outside so he can go in and out on his own. Thanks for everyone's help and information in this matter. Things are calming down well now~~Thankfully.
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Re: Separation Anxiety (also Crate Anxiety & Claustrophobia)

Postby chelynnah » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:49 pm

Separation Anxiety: A Breed Trait?
From: EllieA86 (Original Message) Sent: 27/09/2007 16:49
I have been interested in whippets for as long as I can remember. I've owned two, both show champion males, both I got as adults. Both had SEVERE separation anxiety problems, and could not be crated without panic/self mutilation. They were from almost completely different lines. I was wondering just how common separation anxiety is in the breed, and what experienced whippet owners do to fix or deal with it?

From: QuiXandWhips Sent: 27/09/2007 17:09
As far as real SA is concerned, I have never had a whippet of my own exhibit that trait. Some have been spoiled, some have been naughty, some have disliked crates, and most have disliked being left alone but nothing I would term separation anxiety.

One whippet that I bred and sold as a pup was returned and has been since placed and she has what I would call SA. She doesn't mutilate herself but she destoys things if left alone and barks non-stop in a crate, refuses to touch even the tastiest treat until her people come home, and has to be manhandled into the crate in the first place. Neither of her parents had SA.

I also had two rescue dogs it fairly severe SA, no idea who bred them or what their pedigrees were but they were from show lines. They both had also had very traumatic lives (one had been shot as a pup and left to die and the other had been repeatedly dumped and was an old dog when I go thim ) so whether they were always anxious or were a product of their evironments, I don't know.

Whippets are dogs, and hounds, so they are programmed genetically to stay close to their pack. I think some of what people are calling SA is just normal stress -- or an expression of displeasure -- at being left alone. Whe it gets to the level of mindless panic, self-mutilation, etc.then it is worrisome but I, personally, have not found that to be common.

From: GreyFind Sent: 27/09/2007 17:16
Its interesting that you mentioned "could not be crated." I adopted a male whippet at 18 months old who had severe crate anxiety, but no separation anxiety whatsoever. When crated he would drool (enough drool to soak himself, bedding and a 1 ft radius of carpet around the crate), whine, pant, cause himself to throw up, bite the crate bars and had chipped teeth from prior crate biting incidents. When left loose in the house he demonstrated no destructive behavior and was perfectly content to wait 8 hours until we got home from work. He showed no signs of being upset when we left the house and was often splayed out on the sofa. Now the one time my husband accidentally shut him in a bedroom he went nuts and dug a hole in the carpet, but as long as he was free to wander the house he was happy as a clam. He seemed to exhibit "confinement anxiety" which I've heard other whippets having a problem with.


From: QuiXandWhips Sent: 27/09/2007 17:41
I have heard of that too...claustrophobia. I could NOT spend hours a day in a plastic only slightly larger than myself . I'd probably be put down for bad temperament anyway -- or at least spayed and placed! In my bitch's case, she preferred not to be in the crate but was okay if she was crated near my cmpter table or at feedig time and was fine cated in a car or at a race meet. She just wants her people with her-- and other dogs mitigate her anxiety a bit, but not completely by any means. She was raised an only dog in a family with EIGHT little kids and was always surrounded by people.

From: JaamaWhpts Sent: 27/09/2007 18:10
Here's my thoughts on separation anxiety, it is mostly caused by over-attentive owners and lack of training as youngsters. Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful when people dote over their Whippets and want to spend every waking hour with them, but when dogs don't learn to entertain themselves, and be self-sufficient when they are young (8-16 weeks of age), is when they become overly dependent on their humans and require their reassurance every minute. When puppies are young, is the most important time to teach them positive crating manners and that they will be just fine if alone for more than an hour or two. I recommend putting them in the crate with their food, a couple of toys, walking away, and then IGNORING them. Separation anxiety in most cases is a man-made problem. JMHO.

Mary @ Jaama

From: QuiXandWhips Sent: 27/09/2007 18:23
I agree with Mary -- I think there is a genetic component to anxiety -- but it is exacerbated by how dogs are raised and trained. I make sure all my dogs spend some time daily in a crate. Not a lot, since I'm home all the time, but enough to learn that it's not a bad place. They get fed in crates, travel in crates, sleep in crates starting in early puppyhood. They all spend time in the dog room and time in the yard, without me. I have one dorky boy who yelps at the fence outside my window if I forget to put him in his crate at night and shut the door. He has some tendencies toward anxiety (he also nurses on the nearest dog bed whe he feels stressed) and could probably have just as easily become crate-phobic or labelled SA.

From: EllieA86 Sent: 27/09/2007 19:11
Really interesting comments, everyone... much appreciated. Another question for you...

What do you do with younger whippets that are "claustrophobic" and cannot be crated, if they show destructive tendencies when left loose, and can escape from x-pens?

From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 27/09/2007 19:20
I have to agree with Mary also. I have two, both rather spoiled by the fact I can work from home. One I spoiled myself from about 10 weeks on, the other arrived at 2 years old and already a tad spoiled. However, spoiled is a far cry from psychologically damaged. They don't exhibit SA, but SD --- separation displeasure. lol The displeasure lasts about a minute (while I might be still in view). I have no issue either crating them or letting them roam freely throughout the house, they have never caused damage either to themselves or to the house.

From: greentree66 Sent: 27/09/2007 19:42
We got Dillon when he was 9 months old. Two weeks after that he was boarded because we had a trip planned to Florida. A week later he went to the vet to be neutered and stayed 2 extra days while we were in PA. Three days later he was boarded once again just for 1 night when we took our visiting granddaughter to NY City. From then on whenever I went out and put him in his crate he would drool excessively getting all the bedding soaked and drool on the floor on all sides of the crate. He also managed to move the crate about a foot into the room and chewed on the wires. I was concerned that he would hurt himself and took him to the vet. She put him on Clomicalm and he was on that for about a month. I slowly weaned him off it and followed some good suggestions made on the board. He's been fine ever since and doesn't even get excited now when I come home from being out.

From: indogolfing Sent: 27/09/2007 20:04
My first whippet had separation anxiety, but none of the many that I've had since then have. I would agree its probably partly due to environment- maybe part of the problem is forgetting they ARE dogs after all, and not people. I don't think I would ever breed a dog that had separation anxiety, it's a very unpleasant condition for both the dog and owner.
I do not think of it as a breed trait for whippets. Until I got on the internet lists I had no idea that there are people who do claim it is a breed trait.

From: gracie_n_taz Sent: 27/09/2007 21:10
Gracie has always been very destructive when crated - shredding blankets daily. I recently bought a greyhound size wire crate that has lots and lots of room for her, a big dog bed, blankets, and toys. She hasn't shredded anything so far. KNOCK ON WOOD! She came to me at two years old after a less than good start in life which is what I attribute her issues to for the most part.

You can also get tops for x-pens that would help to keep them in.


From: FaeryLady Sent: 27/09/2007 22:00
When I got Diana, she also had "crate anxiety". She would chew the inside of the crate and the bars. Chipped a couple of her teeth and wore the rest of them down to little nubs, poor girl. I put her in my room, she dug up the carpet by the door. I then tried putting her in an ex-pen next to an ex-pen full of my little dogs ( I had Min Pins at the time ). She would jump out of the pen and go sleep on my laundry. I put a lid on the pen and that stopped her behavior. She shredded a couple of blankets but eventually settled into the routine.

I am very, very fortunate to own my home and to have the space I do. I have a den in the basement that I turned into a dog room. The IG's stay in an ex-pen and Diana has her own space - very large - with a fouton mattress, paper, water. She hasn't had any issues for years.

From: WhippetsOwnMe Sent: 27/09/2007 23:29
I say it is a breed problem. Not all have it, but even my best ones who were/are fine being left required genuine HARD work to learn not to scream like idiots every time I left. My six month old has to be very tired before I leave not to howl and scream when I go to work for three or four hours. This means I have to drive him to the park, free run him, walk him at least a mile, and let him wrestle with my Golden for a an hour before I can leave and expect him to be quiet. I consider him to not have an SA problem at all, and just be a normal, happy Whippet. My roomie (a nice but non dog person whom I do not let walk my dogs when I am not home unless it's urgent) reports that he is silent in the next room in his crate almost every day- yay!! But the days I oversleep or cannot go to the park with him, he says he howls on and off all morning. I get home at noon.

I would like to point out that the puppy has NO crate anxiety and likes his crate and is happy in it. His issue is PURELY when *I* personally walk out the door, no matter if others are home.

My old dog has HORRIBLE crate anxiety and has never ever been able to be crated except in a van, where he is fine, bc he is going with me. He will harm himself in a crate. Luckily, he doesn't need one and never has. He has never chewed or had accidents, even as a pup.

I still cannot go out for a night after class or work, or do any all day events because I know he'd be screaming his head off if I was gone more than three or four hours. Of course he is still young... and I am sure will improve. He also can be left loose for a couple hours and is quiet and doesn't touch anything and no accidents! GOOD BOY! I don't yet feel safe leaving him loose all day, though. If I had a family emergency or somebody in the hospital, etc, and had to leave for a whole day, I would have to board the puppy for sure. I could leave the ten year old for eight hours, no problem.

On the other hand, the Golden Retrievers could be left for eight hours from practically babyhood with no work or effort. A simple "no, quiet" was all it took for them. If I only let them pee, poop and run about for a few minutes in the morning on a rushed day, then back in the crate I can leave for the day and know for sure they won't make a sound or do anything other than politely wait for my return.

I ADORE Whippets and think in nearly every respect they are easier, nicer, cleaner, smarter, calmer, easier to housetrain dogs to have in a home than nearly any breed including Goldens, but they ARE buttheads about being left and/or crated and they do require early HARD WORK at it. If you live somewhere where dogs cannot cry bc you have close neighbors (such as where I live) it is extra hard work bc I could NOT let mine cry it out. I had to SHH!! them and keep walking out and in over and over until they got it.

From: WhippetsOwnMe Sent: 27/09/2007 23:34
Note that you never see (or I never see) posts about SA issues and crate problems on any other breed forum, but I see them constantly on Whippet ones. I feel to say it is not a problem in the breed is to be in denial.

It isn't impossible, but it is something to consider when adopting a Whippet. Definitely one must be firm early on about crating and alone time. I also feel that true SA or crate anxiety dogs should not be bred. My old dog was neutered largely for this very reason.

From: CincyWhips Sent: 28/09/2007 02:02
i got my first whippet as an adult male (his owners went through a divorce and returned him to the breeder). as a youngster, he had not limits, no boundaries, no training. he was a wonderful boy, though. so happy and playful. when i adopted him, his breeder told me to crate him. i bought a crate. he didn't like it much, so i thought, no big deal. he can just roam the apartment. i'm not gone that long, anyway. after 10 months, he broke his teeth. he cut his legs. he destroyed carpet, doors, windows, cabinets, couches. he jumped out my window and ran away once (several stories up). i did all i could, but living by myself in a 1 bedroom apartment, i eventually gave him up.
i now own his uncle. wager has similar anxiety problems to my first whippet. he's a super-big mama's boy. the difference is that wager had structure in his life from the very beginning. i also gave him structure with a routine, a crate, and training when i adopted him at the age of 3.
i do believe that sa is a breed trait in whippets, but i also believe it can be prevented in most cases. i also work at a dog shelter, and we have had several huskies come in with sa, as well as a few springer spaniels.
if you read the archives, there are several things you can do to help your adult whippet with sa. most are lifestyle changes that require a lot of time and commitment. good luck!

From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 28/09/2007 03:39
"To say it's not a problem in the breed is to ..." say you know good breeders and/or good owners.

From: surreyhill Sent: 28/09/2007 03:45
That's much too harsh.

I take it very seriously, but that's not to say that I've never bred or owned a dog with that tendency. I don't breed FROM those dogs, but if you want a good example of a genetic problem that doesn't go away simply by not breeding affected individuals, try monorchidism.

There is an intersection between genetics and environment, and it seems that the trigger happens at around 8-10 months old which is why so many report that their problems crating or leaving dogs alone happens AFTER they board their Whippets at that age, or after they adopted a Whippet of that age which went through the stress of changing homes. I feel this is the vulnerable time for Whippets. If they can make it to 1 year old without developing either crate claustrophobia or separation anxiety, then you're home free.

We do keep our dogs, for the most part, differently than did people 50-100 years ago. It's not that the dogs who can't adjust are bad, terrible dogs, but their temperament traits are incompatible with most homes and what's required of our dogs today. There is a percentage of Whippets who are prone to claustrophobia/sep.anx--more claustrophobic than S/A IMO, but still, it's definitely a greater concern for this breed as a whole than it is for, say....corgis.


From: Dmichele2 Sent: 28/09/2007 04:50
I vote for breed tendency exacerbated by life experience. Koda had horrible SA until she was about 7 mos. old. I don't know why. Perhaps we spoiled her??

None of the tricks worked. She would pee and poop and scream literally the minute the front door closed. It got so bad, Rob had to take her in the car on sales calls. If he left the car to do anything (even deposit a Fed Ex envelope), she would poop in the car. One day, she finally realized we would always come back for her and the SA stopped. Now she loves her crate and hangs out in it even when we are home.

Our latest problem pup is Levin, our blind 8 or 9 year-old whippet who also has true separation anxiety. He shakes, drools like mad, and chews the cage until his gums are bloody. I believe Levin is predisposed to SA because he is a whippet, but I am also quite sure that his SA is very much the product of bad life experiences (abusive early years and three homes this year alone.)

I have tired all the tricks except DAP, which I have just ordered in spray form. (That has not arrived yet.) Levin is not food motivated, so leaving him a filled kong or putting treats in his crate doesn't work.

We initially had him in a large wire crate, until he bent the wires apart so badly I feared he would get his head stuck in bewteen them. Now he has a 500 vari kennel. That's the one he chews until his gums are bloody. In his prior home, he stayed alone all day with access to a doggie door and was supposedly fine. But there is no way we can give him that where I live. I did try to leave him alone, uncrated, twice, but he sprayed the hell out of my sofa both times because he was so freaked out about my being gone. Not only can I not live with a pee-saturated sofa, but leaving him uncrated is not fair to Koda, who must be crated for her own safety. (Koda manages to find a way to get into trouble in an empty room.) Plus, because he can't see, I am not comfortable leaving him outside the crate, alone, in any event. He pees because he is anxious; it is not a housebreaking issue. (He is totally housebroken.)

So, what do I do? Like I said, I have tried all the tricks mentioned in the other threads, except DAP. (Well, I haven't gotten him meds either; just Pet Calm, an herbal remedy.) Thankfully, he is not crated very long because Rob works from home. But when he is, boy is he miserable. Any advice would be welcomed.



From: kentruth Sent: 28/09/2007 11:47
As someone who lived with a whippet that suffered with severe SA for 10+yrs. I really think alot of what people call SA is not SA at all and more lack of training and appropriate socialization. Routine benefits all, in my experience medication with intense behaviorial modification can help create a dog that can be considered by some cured. Remove the drugs, and a dog with TRUE SA will be back at square one in no time at all. Certainly there seem to be cases that seem to run along familial lines, but I beg to put forth there is always the nuture versus nature factor.

As to SA not discussed or seen in other breeds I beg to differ; one of the health forums I am on (all-breed) recently (and still ongoing) the discussion has been about EXTREME work ethic in GSD's, Malinous, Belg. SD; typically breeds used in police and military work. Several breeders/trainers have discussed dogs who are extremely unhappy (drooling, crate destroying, room destroying, frantic behavior etc. etc.all descriptions used for SA whippets) when they are not working or in fulltraining mode. The general concensus is that these dogs must be worked ALL the time because of their intense work ethic, to make them easier to live with.

Sometimes a rose is a rose is a rose, regardless of its name. JMHO

From: EllaBellaWhippet Sent: 28/09/2007 13:36
My first whippet, Ella, had pretty bad SA when she was a puppy. I feel very confident that it is linked to a 5-day vacation we took when she was about 8 months old. We took her to my in-laws' house, and my mother-in-law works out of the home, so she is home all day. Plus, she loves to dote on her "grandpuppies" (no grandbabies yet, so puppies will have to do). I believe that once Ella got back into an environment where she was home alone again for part of the day (she was an only dog at the time), she couldn't cope.

She would bark, whine, drool, and chew on the crate bars. She had a permanent saliva stain on the white fur around her mouth for several months from all of the drooling. Baby-gating her in the kitchen didn't make a difference -- she destroyed several baby gates and would escape the kitchen daily, then she would chew everything she could find around the house -- books, CDs, etc. We were afraid she'd hurt herself. We tried behavior modification by leaving the house several times a day to decondition her to the stress and anxiety, we tried medication, we tried DAP, we did everything we, the vet, and our breeder could think of, but nothing worked.

Finally, we decided to get a second whippet (that was in the long-term plan from the beginning of dog ownership anyway; we just moved the time frame up a bit), and Ella's SA cleared up IMMEDIATELY. It was night and day. The very first day we left her home with Taddy Porter, she didn't drool or chew on the crate (there used to be puddles of drool in the corners of her crate when I came home) or even whine/bark when we left the house. I thought it was weird because she didn't particularly like Porter when he first came home with us, but she still appreciated his company. She just didn't like being the only dog in the house when we left. Maybe not the textbook form of SA, because it wasn't caused by a tie to one of her people, but rather to the fact that she didn't like being alone.

Anyway, I don't have enough experience to say whether it is a breed-specific condition, but I wanted to share my story of a form of SA. From reading everyone's stories, it seems to take many forms -- from crate anxiety/clausterphobia to a fear of being alone like my Ella to a fear of being separated from a human regardless of how many other dogs are in the house.

Ella and Taddy Porter

From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 28/09/2007 14:18
Karen, I apologize ... and yes, it was a tad harsh. Equally harsh, if not moreso, is stating this is a breed trait. Before we start talking "breed trait", let's define what a breed trait really is. At what point is it an actual trait of a breed? Let's also define real SA, as opposed to displeasure, unhappiness and discomfort. I've seen Weimaraners, Labradors, numerous Toy breeds, etc. all listed as excellent SA candidates.

From: surreyhill Sent: 28/09/2007 14:39
I absolutely agree that it should not be called a breed trait. The breed traits of Whippets include high prey drive, chase instinct, competitiveness, and an affinity for slugging around on your furniture all day.

However, there is NO DOUBT in my mind that a higher percentage of Whippets than mixed breeds or MOST (not all) other breeds are predisposed to have this problem. That is not to say our breed is UNIQUELY predisposed to it, but we are among the breeds where it has to be considered a potential issue. And fwiw, I DO think it runs in lines.

That predisposed percentage may be as low as 3-5%, but it is still something that I would consider to be a problem in the breed so long as it affects more dogs of our breed than of most others. And I think it's also quite harsh to blame the owners all the time. While some may have allowed things to get to a point that is hard to train back from, many many instances of this problem occur to people who have years and years of experience with Whippets and sighthounds and did not one thing different with the Whippet that grew up to have some combination of S/A and crate claustrophobia. This issue is a primary cause of adult and young adult dogs being given over to rescue. If you are a breeder in this breed and do not seriously consider the possibility of a genetic component to some of these cases, then you have your head in the sand, IMO.

I think that crate claustrophobia is far more common than true S/A in Whippets, but that the two often get confused because the owner can't tell if the dog is stressing because it's being crated or because it's not with the family members.

The test, to me, is if the dog is miserable and drooling in a crate when you're in the same room or obviously home with him. If so, it's claustrophobia, if not, it's S/A. Claustrophobia in the absence of S/A isn't a huge issue for most--you just have to leave them loose.


p.s. I have only had a few instances of this through the years, but I went through the whole crate claustrophobia problem with one dog and I assure you, I know how to crate train and I was not gone long hours every day. That dog was wired for it, genetically.

From: Bheki Sent: 28/09/2007 14:59
Karen i agree and you put it more clearer. I tell anyone that asks "whats a whippet like?" . I tell people they love to be with thier owners. If thats not for you, then a whippet is not for you. Some are more needy than others. Its usually easy to see the difference in a litter. Bheki

From: JaamaWhpts Sent: 28/09/2007 15:16
I honestly believe that the reason we tend to see more of this in Whippets than other breeds is because Whippets are highly perceptive of the emotions of their humans, and they are a somewhat more sensitive breed than many. Think about it, how often does it take a harsh correction to get a Whippet to behave? Not very often. They are soft tempered by most standards, thus they are more perceptive and "needy" when it comes to their dependency on their people. That is why I said it's important to teach them self-sufficiency and independence when they are young. People that give too much of themselves to their Whippets cause a co-dependency problem in their dog, and the dog finds they can not function without their "pack leader", so to speak. It's not that the breed has a problem with separation anxiety, but rather people just need to learn the best way to raise a Whippet so as not to "cause" SA. I stand by my statement that SA is a man-made problem. JMHO.

Mary @ Jaama

From: Karasar1 Sent: 28/09/2007 15:41
I have been reading this thread with interest the past couple of days.

I do agree with Mary (above) for the most part. BUT I do know for a fact that this does to seem to run in certain lines of Whippets. I happen to know a well know "Show" kennel who absolutely does not and CANNOT keep their dogs in crates at all because of this problem. I would NEVER breed into these lines because of this reason alone.....! All of our "Show/Performance" Whippets should be ideal pets first and foremost and if we cannot keep that in our perspective then we should NOT be breeding Whippets.

A number of years back I did an outcross breeding for obtain certain traits that I wanted in my Whippets. I did get what I was looking for but I also got some behavior issues that I NEVER experienced before. I raise all my dogs the same and never had these issues before I used this particular dog in my line. I have been able to selectively breed away from these issues, but it was not something that I was looking to deal with.......and learned from this experience.

MOST of the time it is a man made problem. A few years ago I had a so called "Seperation Anxiety" Whippet returned to me. The dog had literally destroyed itself to the point that the Whippet could NOT be shown at all. After some retraining the dog is just fine and crates and kennels perfectly. The previous owner destroyed any chance at a show career though, due to their stupidity or lets just say inexperience with dogs.

I think most dogs are happier living with another dog though, not just Whippets. Afterall, dogs are pack animals and we are a poor subsitute for a "Pack" and really should not be viewed as another animal in their eyes in any case.

Thats my 40 plus years experience with the breed perspective!!

Kerrie Kuper

Karasar Whippets since 1967

From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 28/09/2007 15:47
Karen, I'm glad you said that --- referencing your 3-5% with the predisposition. "Animal behaviorists estimate that that 10 to 15 percent of dogs exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety ..."
Also, Eli Lilly research "'shows that 10.7 million, or up to 17 percent of U.S. dogs(1) suffer from separation anxiety,' said Steve Connell, D.V.M., manager of technical, academic and consumer services for companion animal health at Lilly."

"In one of the most recent examinations of separation anxiety, Dr. Victoria L. Voith and Dr. Peter L. Borchelt say that separation anxiety accounts for up to 40 percent of cases in behavior clinics or practices throughout the United States and Europe." In other words, this is a common problem throughout the canine world.

Dan Rice states: "Technically known as Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD), separation anxiety is a serious problem and is seen in an estimated 14 percent of all companion dogs ..."

Furthermore, "Takeuchi et al. (2001) analysed several variables in dog behavioural cases (78 cases of separation anxiety). They discovered that only 36.6% had been obedience trained. They also found that a high percentage of the purebred dogs with separation anxiety were sporting breeds. Flannigan and Dodman (2001) also looked at factors predictive of separation anxiety in a case-based study of 200 dogs with separation anxiety. They found that of the 131 purebreds with separation anxiety, the majority were German Shepherds, followed by a significant numbers of Labradors, Golden Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, and English Cocker Spaniels. Hence, if it is likely that you are going to be frequently leaving your dog alone for long periods of time, these breeds may not be the best choice. Furthermore, obedience training may decrease the incidence of separation anxiety (Takeuchi et al., 2001).

Flannigan and Dodman (2001) also discovered that dogs "found" or "adopted from a shelter" more commonly developed separation anxiety more commonly than dogs that were sourced from a breeder, friend or pet store. Causes of separation anxiety involve early negative experiences (including shelters/abandonment), over-attachment, traumatic experiences that occurred when alone, a change in family or environment, as well as a genetic predisposition (dogs are bred to be socially dependent, devoted and infantile)."

Sorry to be quoting from other sources so much, but they all contradict any claim that it's a breed trait in Whippets or that Whippets are identified as one of the breeds where SA is most common. As I stated in a prior post, I've seen references to severe SA issues with Weimaraners, Labs, Wire Fox Terriers, etc. etc. It's a myth to suggest that MOST of the other breeds aren't just as predisposed to SA as Whippets --- but that's the problem when one uses a few ANECDOTES to try and prove a point.

From: surreyhill Sent: 28/09/2007 16:00
My 3-5% was pulled out of thin air, which is why it is unattributed to a source.

Our breed has a much lower shelter profile than those other breeds you named, much higher breeder involvement, and a much different average owner profile than, for example, German Shepherds. We have fewer puppy milled, pet shop, and byb-bred Whippets.

I do not anywhere say that Whippets are among the WORST.

But it is definitely present in our breed in great enough numbers to make it show up frequently in discussions, and therefore, you cannot say it's not present in the breed. Your study shows that some breeds have higher instances of it than other breeds.

I don't know where we rank, but rank in there somewhere if surveys were taken which would be likely to get hits on Whippets.

From: surreyhill Sent: 28/09/2007 16:05
FWIW, the Whippet Health Foundation surveys have collected some owner-reported incidence data on this.

I'm not sure the percentages, but maybe someone here has them.

From: cofeature Sent: 28/09/2007 16:05
I think SA is very similar to ADD in children. Its been proven there is a genetic link and changes in brain activity with children who truly have ADD and it is an actual disorder, but its been so easy to pass off bad behavior, overstimulation and poor rearing of children as "ADD" for the last however many years.

I think there are whippets who truly suffer from SA, and it manifests itself in a variety of ways, but I think it seems so prevelent becuase its so easy to pass off poor puppy rearing techniques and our inclination to give into those big black puppy dogs sad eyes on "Oh, its a breed trait - he has SA".

I've had a dog that had SA and believe me, its VERY different than a puppy or adolescent dog thats just unhappy or stubborn. Its a full-time job keeping that dog from hurting itself or your home if the SA gets triggered.

As far as the crating issues, I've seen more and more breeders not put puppies into individual crates or keep them separate from their littermates until right before they are due to go to their new homes, if at all. IMO, nipping the crating issues begins EARLY and with the breeder. Puppies should be confident by themselves in a crate and without the comfort of littermates before they are placed into pet homes where they are likely to be an only dog or one of two.


From: QuiXandWhips Sent: 28/09/2007 16:13
It sounds to me like it is a DOG trait, or perhaps even a trait of all social animals. Dogs aren't meant to be alone, confined in small spaces, for extended periods of time, neither are monkeys or horses or birds or humans.

Working breeds and herding breeds and sporting breeds and hounds have been bred specifically to DO something, usually with a partner or a pack. They are descended from wolves who are very social and have large teritorries and challenging lives. Sitting on the couch or in an ex-pen or a crate alone is not what they are meant to do. That's what we need our pets to do in many cases so they have to be trained for that. Not all dogs, or all trainers, are successful.

I've always been on the nature side of the nature/nurture argument but the reality is that they work in concert. Genetics play a huge role in what could be and environment and experience shape what will be.

From: surreyhill Sent: 28/09/2007 16:16
^That's exactly what I think.

As a breeder, if I do a get a pup or pups with this problem, I feel I HAVE to consider the possibility that there is a genetic basis for it. But training, early puppy rearing, household dynamics, presence or absence of other dogs in the house, etc. all play a part.

It's just too easy to "blame the owner". Sometimes, they deserve the blame but I think a lot of the time they don't.

I do think claustrophobia is a lot more common than true S/A in Whippets.

But because Whippets also like to chew up stuff when they are young, that can be a huge problem for an owner.

From: GreyFind Sent: 28/09/2007 16:26
I think a lot of it may have to do with the dogs experiences during critical periods in their development. Behaviorists believe as puppies mature there are certain times where fearful/traumatic events have a much greater impact. Even disregarding that theory, we all know dogs learn and form associations quickly - ie. sit=cookie, counter=yummy food, it stands to reason that negative ones would be formed just as easily.

In Nemo's case its pretty easy to guess where his crate anxiety came from. We adopted him at 18 months old and we were his 5th or 6th home (not counting his breeder), as far as we can tell from his vet records. We got bits and pieces of his story, he lived with a young family and the wife left, took all the furniture and the husband came home to and empty house, Nemo in his crate and a Dear John letter on top of the crate. One family was evicted. He had a new name at each house, Bud, Data, Kelsey, Red, Elam... The home he was in before ours really tried to make it work, but they were Deerhound breeders who had an older bitch who wanted to kill him. When they first got him they were so concerned about Nemo's eyes they had taken him to the vet, turns out the eyes were fine, he was simply terrified causing his eyes to bulge from his head.

I don't think a dog of any breed could be expected to come through an experience like that with no issues. I think the fact that all we had to deal with was crate anxiety and some aloofness is a testament to the breed's resilience and ability to deal with change. I'm actually surprised after he'd been abandoned by 5 families that he didn't have true SA, but he never has.


From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 28/09/2007 18:14
Karen, I'm not disagreeing with you. I took the 3-5% as a general observation based on your many years in the breed --- and not as an anecdote. I just want to argue against the characterization that it's a breed trait or that Whippets are any more predisposed to SA than a majority of other breeds. Of course some Whippets suffer from real SA.

As Kerrie stated, there are lines which are more predisposed to this issue than others and/or there are some "inexperienced" owners --- but that doesn't necessarily qualify as a breed trait.


From: WhippetsOwnMe Sent: 28/09/2007 22:55
I do think the owner can create a monster, but it is unfair to always say that is so. If one out of ten dogs raised the same exact way has insane SA, I think we can safely say that the dog has a genetic predisposition for it.

That said, I believe I could make my normal Whippets have SA pretty easily if I wanted to by spoiling them in the wrong ways (LOL don't worry I don't!). On the other hand, it would be genuinely hard to make one of my Goldens into a brat that cried in her crate. They are just plain NOT like that.

I suppose *trait* is the wrong word. I'm not sure what is :)

From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 28/09/2007 23:24
Well not according to Flannigan and Dodman 2001 study. "They found that of the 131 purebreds with separation anxiety, the majority were German Shepherds, followed by a significant numbers of Labradors, Golden Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, and English Cocker Spaniels." I'm sure you could find a way to make a Golden real bratty. lol

From: peapod25 Sent: 28/09/2007 23:33

Um.....under the category of "statistics can lie" my question would be, since the term used is "majority" of the 131 purebreds studied and we all know those breeds that are listed have high popularity in terms of numbers of ownership and therefore are in and of themselves probably a large majority of the dogs in the study....

Wouldn't it be likely that they in fact comprised a majority of the dogs with SA?

I haven't read the study you reference, so don't know exactly how the data was presented. But seems to me the question is how high a percentage is reported within a specific breed, rather than expressed as the majority of the dogs included in a specific study.


From: WhippetsOwnMe Sent: 29/09/2007 00:18
Oh there are bratty Goldens, but in ten years of deep involvement in Golden rescue I have never had one that was any difficulty at ALL to train to be quiet and sleep in a crate... now leash pulling, chewing, jumping... haha well... those are different stories!!! And why I love Whippets so much! All breeds have their GOOD points, and Whippets have LOTS!

From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 29/09/2007 00:32
You're absolutely right Gin. I'm just responding to the point made that one would have to try genuinely hard to make a Golden bratty. Plus please note the "lol" afterwards ... sorry, but I had my tongue in cheek.

From: peapod25 Sent: 29/09/2007 01:42
Sorry, Charles. The hazard of the written word. It can, of course, be interpreted quite literally (and incorrectly compared to the intent ). My apologies for not interpreting your intent correctly.

And for the record, I am somewhat "predisposed" to think there is a real issue with SA in whippets. Whether it be nature or nurture or...a combination of both, I withhold judgment. My dogs don't have SA. But... I had too many experienced sight hound people and veterinarians warn me they had seen a disproportionate share of whippets with horrible (truly scary) SA to take it lightly. the Lilly pharmaceutical studies that support their SA drug, they DO have a vested interest in highlighting the most popular breeds, as THOSE breed owners are the largest pool of potential purchasers of the product.


From: YorktownWhippets2 Sent: 29/09/2007 13:17
With regards to what I call SA ---by doing rescue I have had a whole lot of experiences with SA dogs---& have made some observations & learned some ways to correct the problem.
I'm gonna call it SA--but just like ADD----I think it is some part genetics & some part socialization or training & it's very hard to tell the difference between true SA (if there is such a thing) & crate training/fear/clostaphobia.
In other words---when a dog screams in it's crate if you let him out while he's screaming it will tend to make him scream MORE ---after all it WORKED. If your dog does not preceive the crate as a isolation from his family---but more of a quiet safe place to sleep (mostly done with training & being conscience of gradually expanding the dogs tollerance of being alone in a crate---they ARE pack animals--this is not natural & so can be "grown" with small steps) then it's not much of a problem.
I have deduced that it is mostly caused by insecurity----a more insecure dog NEEDS to be with his pack----so we see it a lot in rescue dogs cause the rug has been pulled out from under their world---they are MORE insecure at that particular time in their mind. This is also why we see it more in some lines than in other lines----some lines are more brave & outgoing than others.
I would say that our Whippets are very very affectionate---really like to cuddle & really like to stand in the bathroom while we do our thing----my Border Collie & my GSD do not need to keep their eye on me 100% of the time----but my Whippets like to & I'm sort of flattered by their attention----but it is a double edged sword---it's the same inclination that we can easily see as SA---
As an obedience instructor (all brreeds) & a boarding kennel owner & an all breed/mixed breed rescue person--I have had lots of opportunities to work with many different levels of SA-----I have never NOT been able to "cure" the dogs yet----some are a lot more work then others & I definitely think it is part of our breed----& closely related to their sweet affectionate nature---so I wouldn't trade it for the world.
One of the things I suggest to people who have this problem is to socialize their dog----a socialized dog will grow it's mind & be able to handle more situations & take them in stride--I strongly suggest agility training---it builds confidence & so does GOING with the owner out into the world---AND a tired dog is a good dog works some too---but it's a complicated problem for sure & one that I warn all my rescue adopters & puppy buyers about so they can be proactive with it & know what to look for & what to do to avoid it.

From: bluedog37 Sent: 29/09/2007 14:16
Like many others have already stated, I belive SA is an over-used buzz word. "Separation Isses" might be a much more accurate description of what many dogs go through. I strongly believe environment, genetics or a compination of the two can cause "sa".

For people looking for help with a dog that has separation issues/SA, this is a really great book:
I'll be home soon
It is short and written in a very practical, step-by-step style.

We do ask a lot from our dogs and they are social animals. Generally, I think they do better with anohter dog around. I also think there is no "magic pill" that will cure these problems. I will qualify that to say that in more extreme cases, medication might help put them in the right mindset to be receptive to training. We live in a society where we want to see results right away and when a dog has issues like this, it won't be a quick-fix.


From: Pantheon-Whippets Sent: 29/09/2007 15:19
Ginny, I can't disagree that Lilly would have a stake in skewing numbers a tad. I don't take any of the studies cited at face value except to suggest that all breeds are susceptible to having separation issues. Most of the studies I looked at included in their definition of SA some behavior which I would consider "marginal", more "issue-like" or just downright displeasure. That too will inflate numbers. Whether Whippets are more prone than other breeds to SA is difficult to establish. My somewhat limited experience tells me they aren't, then again it's obvious that in the experience of some here they are.

It would be great if we could create a poll here on WW where every member lists the number of whippets they have or have had and the number of them which exhibited "issues" and the number that exhibited actual TRUE "anxiety" when being left alone. Maybe it wouldn't be TOO scientific, but based on the number of dogs usually studied it would certainly be more substantial.

From: Spelldog1 Sent: 29/09/2007 16:59
It seems to me that seperation anxiety , is just another term for bad temprament .
Probably why your 2 show CH.s got placed as pets , because the breeder chose(wisely) not to go on with those dogs in thier breeding program .
I have had some very shy dogs , but none that were ever fearful of crates , or destructive in the house past puppy antics .
A whippet with a bad temprament can look wonderful , but is seldom able to do its job . Fearful dogs interfere on the race track , so do aggressive dogs . They are unable to run sucessfully . That is thier function . They dont make good show dogs either . A fearful dog does not make a pretty picture of its self , they move like shrinking violets . They pull away from judges ..... You can have the fastest most correct whippet , but with a bad temprament , you have nothing .
My main reason for choosing the last 2 pups I have , has been because they all have super high functioning parents , who do it all like they are bullet proof .
It has been a breeze to train them , my shy dogs have all run and earned titles ,and become very good dogs , but it took alot more effort on my part .
I also think that whippets need to run and exercise religously . A dog that doesnt get exercise will except it , but they wont thrive , and you sure wont get the best out of them .
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