How to Handle Dog with Separation Anxiety?
About 2 years ago, a family member who was terminally ill asked whether we would take her Tibetan Terrier. I agreed on the rationale that we’d either keep him ourselves or find a good home for him. The TT turned out to be everything she said he was: perfect medium size, beyond-adorable with his moppy black and white hair, loyal, good with kids, friendly to other dogs, smart, sweet and devoted. However, he also turned out to have an extreme case of separation anxiety to the point that he is destructive when left alone, even for a short time. We have tried everything from hiring a specialized trainer, putting him in a thundershirt, giving him anti-anxiety medication before we leave, using pheromones to calm him, etc. Nothing has done much good and we have found ourselves slowly changing our lives to accommodate him—essentially not going anywhere that we can’t take him. We are really at a crossroads: we love him and want the best for him, but are becoming increasingly more resentful at not being able to do any of the things we should be able to do at this stage in our lives, things as simple as going to dinner and the movies. We crate him when we leave in order to keep him and the house safe, but the long process of getting him into the crate, and his clear distress while we are gone, is making even that untenable. I’m horribly conflicted about what to do. I would love to find a good home for him, but that would likely entail someone homebound or who doesn’t go out much, or someone with the skills and patience to devote to a long term behavioral transformation program. Is it even possible to find someone like that? We love our little guy, and he adores us, but we also feel so burdened by him. Help!