Another Plan!

We are in a difficult situation with Ray at the present. He has severe separation anxiety, and most of you know the history of us dealing with that!

He won’t go for a walk unless Carol comes along, and she is very limited in the distance she can currently walk. The end result is that we have just under 80lbs of German Shepherd/Rotti X who is not getting much exercise.

Given our recent heat wave of mid 30’s (C), with humidity making it feel like high 30’s, does not even provide much enthusiasm for going outside and into the back garden to play! Would you want to run around and play games wearing a fur coat in those temperatures? Clearly we cannot do too much in this heat however, we are expecting more typical temperatures of mid /high 20’s very soon and when they arrive… we have a plan!

It occurred to me that I can currently get Ray outside without Carol and have occasionally made it part way down our driveway, after which he stops and obviously wants to go back home. All I need to do is take him out on a daily basis and coax him as far as I can. My thinking is that when he realizes that Carol is still there whenever he gets back, he may be happier about being out for longer periods i.e. He may be receptive to longer walks!

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“Ray excitedly waiting for his harness and leash!”

Also (forever the optimist), if he can accept a long walk without Carol, he just might be more receptive to letting her go places without him… although I am not convinced about the logic around that thought!

So there’s the plan. I coax him out for progressively longer walks which will not only give him more exercise, but which will hopefully indirectly help with his separation anxiety training. Will it work? Stay tuned! We have to wait and see how that Shepherd/Rotti mind of his handles the new plan!

 

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43 thoughts on “Another Plan!

  1. Hey, Ray. I see how excited you are about getting your harness on, BOL! I kinda’ understand your separation stress. Since I have been sick, I don’t want to let Mom out of my sight. It sure is a good thing we work at the same place!

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  2. Good luck with the plan. Would you have access to a mobility scooter so that Carol doesn’t have to walk and you could all go out together? or is there be a possible solution that she could be waiting for Ray at the end of your walk?
    Poor Ray, he doesn’t want to be too far from his Mum bless him.

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    • A mobility scooter would impact Carol’s recovery as she needs to retrain her walking etc. muscles to function as desired. The fact that she can walk is also a good morale booster, so Carol’s needs take precedence of Ray’s! We could give her a head start, but then he would be pulling like mad to catch up with her which is a habit (pulling) that we don’t wish to encourage. He is generally very good on the leash. There does not seem to be an easy solution, but we humans are making much more of this than Ray appears to be doing!!!

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  3. You talk about his closeness to Carol. If the reverse was true and you were the one more limited, would he act the same way? I like the pool idea too. Hope you can find something local. We have an “upscale” rescue that has a dog pool in the middle of the lobby. It’s amazing.

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    • He is very attached to both of us, although a little more so to Carol. If our situations were reversed, I am really not sure what he would do, although I would hope that he would go with Carol and be happy leaving me at home. That “space” makes separation anxiety training much less complicated for me!

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  4. Is Ray food or ball driven? Could you place food / toys (or something very valuable to Ray) at the end of the driveway for him to find, then tomorrow at the end of the sidewalk, then the next day a bit farther, etc.? This way Ray is finding something rewarding at the end of his walk. If he just won’t walk, you could try some indoor games / training. Mental stimulation is also tiring. I feel for you and Ray! It’s no fun having anxiety.

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    • Ray is highly food motivated, and highly manipulative, so we have to be careful with treats. If he gets used to them under certain circumstances, he is quite likely to demand them later! Typically we reward him for doing something which can be repeated at intervals. We also allow him lots of “sniffing time” which is apparently quite demanding on a dog, given his scenting abilities and, in fairness to Ray, he has shown no indicators of being frustrated due to a reduction in his exercise routines.

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    • Indoor games are rather limited as we live in a small cottage which is well furnished. An 80lbs excited dog charging around on hardwood flooring is a recipe for a disaster. We have played “hide and seek” (sort of) with treats, but he tends to lose interest unless we keep “upping the anti”. He knows the range of treats available and is totally fine with attempting to negotiate better treats!

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  5. Hydrotherapy! Take him to a pool / pond where Carol can sit and cheer him on while he is swimming. Very good exercise and this may also solve the heat problem. Before we moved to the coast, we used to take Genis to a nearby horse training / therapy centre where he happily swam in the pool.

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    • Good thought! Ray’s swimming ability is highly (stress highly) suspect however, he may well have fun in a hydrotherapy pool. I read a similar suggestion a few weeks ago and meant to make some inquiries. I must do that today before I forget again! 🙂

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