Howler

So our new apartment is fantastic. It has everything we want… lots more space… great location… amazing view. Fergus on the other hand is having a problem – He doesn’t like it when we leave.

We’ve never had this problem before… maybe this place is too big or the ceilings are too high… but he barks when we leave. Classic separation anxiety.

At our last 3 places we’ve lived at with Fergus our living room window looked out onto the street and he could watch us walk away. Over the years I’ve video taped him to see what he does when we leave… he would whine a little or bark at the occasional passer-by but never for very long. Mostly he just watched out the window or slept.

He’s not a player of toys while we’re not home. Even if we leave him a Kong with treats inside… he’ll just wait till we get home and then attack it.

So when we first moved in we had a note tacked to our door telling us that Fergus had barked for most of the day while we were at work. YIKES! So we’ve been taking him to doggie daycare ever since. He loves it there… gets to hang out with other dogs and is so wiped out from playing that when we get home we don’t have to run him very hard before we settle in for the night. But the downside is that it’s very expensive and they’re not open weekends (when I sometimes have to work)…

I ended up having to work this Sat, so we decided to try him at home alone. I set up the video camera by the door and left. I sat down in the lobby for 30 minutes listening to see if he’d bark and he didn’t. We figured that he’s settled into the new house now… he’ll be cool.

I left a note on my door saying we were trying Fergus at home today and if he barked to please let us know (and I taped a pen to the paper).

We came home to silence (YAY) and a new note on the door (OH NO). It was from our very kind neighbor’s (who also have a dog and a great sense of humour). The note was from their dog (hee hee) who told us Fergus barked intermittently during the day. They also left us a doggie cookie (cute).

We came home and watched the video and it wasn’t good. Our neighbor’s must have not been home all day because Fergus barked… a lot… There was barking, whining, pawing at the door (insert awwww sound here) and worst of all. Howling. Yes. I said howling. We’ve NEVER heard him howl EVER but at least 3 times during the day he tipped his head back, pursed his lips and howled up at the moon (in this case a lighting fixture).

I almost started crying. I feel soooooo bad. Poor little buddy.

So I guess it’s back to doggie daycare on the days I have to work at the shop… but here’s the thing. We don’t want Fergus to not be ok with being alone. I think it’s important for a dog to be ok with being alone sometimes… What if we want to go to a movie? Ya dig?

So if any of you have any tips for doggie separation anxiety I would love to hear them.

Here’s a bad quality video of him howling… as sad as it made me… it’s also really cute when dogs howl. 🙂

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