It’s a feeling akin to oversleeping on exam day or realizing, halfway through your work day, that you forgot to turn off the oven.  I opened my briefcase to get my passport and…it wasn’t there.  At first you think “No, it can’t be.” as you check and re-check and re-check again, and then desperation sets in and you think “No!  It can’t be!” as though you can set things right, make the passport magically appear, through sheer force of will.  But no.  No passport!  I raced won to level one and jumped in a cab, leaving Akemi – and the three dogs, each in their tiny sherpa bags, Bubba howling in protest.  My stress levels had just gone to 11.

October 18, 2014: The Eagles Has Landed!  Also, A Japanse Girl And Three Dogs!

I felt like that week my fantasy football Snow Monkeys lost on one of the final plays of the one of the final games when Vincent Jackson scored that touchdown.  Why do the fates conspire against me?!!

I made it back to my place and back in a little over twenty minutes.  Then, there was no time to dilly-dally or walkie-walkie.  It was straight through security and on to the gate where our flight boarded early – but left late.  I had bought six seats of the six of us – the dogs got the middle seat while the humans got the aisle.  And, after weeks of worry and an anxiety-filled morning, the dogs were…great!  Bubba was a little noisy at first but quickly settled down for the duration of the flight. Jelly cried, only occasionally.  And Lulu was even quieter than her travel companion, Jeff (and his noisy laptop tapping!).

October 18, 2014: The Eagles Has Landed!  Also, A Japanse Girl And Three Dogs!
Jeff, wheeling and dealing at the baggage claim.

Of course, by the time we hit the baggage claim, Bubba was in full wail and Akemi had to retreat to a quiet section of the arrival area to calm him down.   We got our bags, caught a lift and, finally, got to our new home in Toronto.  Until next week when we move to a nicer place.

In the meantime, an unexpected problem has arisen and I could use your invaluable input.  What do I do about separation anxiety?  No, I’m not talking about me missing Vancouver.  I’m talking about Bubba missing us – the second we leave the place.  He howls up a storm that carries down the hall and, no doubt, through the wall and into the neighboring suite.  Akemi and I went out to dinner tonight with our friends, John and Nancy (who, sadly, are moving OUT of Toronto on Monday) and came back, a couple of hours later, to the sounds of Bubba’s cries.

Anybody dealt with something similar?  Have any advice for dealing with a lonely and vocal dog?  We tried leaving the t.v. on and littering the place with kibble to distract him, but even that didn’t work.  What can I do, short of getting him a job on the Dark Matter production?

36 thoughts on “October 18, 2014: The Eagles Has Landed! Also, a Japanse girl and three dogs!

  1. Such a rough day.

    Well separation anxiety is no fun. I’ve had it with dogs and even Erin.

    This is what I’ve found to be true: be positive and brief when you’re leaving. If you’re not stressed or sad he will feel more at ease.

    Also stuff to keep him happy while you’re gone. Music and such. I often give my digs a treat right before I leave. I give them command “pillow” and they all run to their beds. I give them a treat and calmly, but quickly leave.

    When my dogs are really upset I shoosh them.. Right before they start their second whimper. I don’t know if Bubba does it when someone else is home but if so you can calmly but firmly shoosh him. It has worked for me. Unless there are like ten squirrels on the fence taunting my dogs. (that has happened)

    Good luck! Moving is rough.


  2. It’s rather odd that Bubba has decided NOW is the time to be like this.

    My thoughts, and I’m not a dog trainer. I would make him the office dog for the next couple of weeks. Until you and Akemi and the dogs get settled into your “permanent” digs, with the dogs getting their smell all over the place, and getting used to the new smell. And that’s just going to take some time.

    The flip side to this would be the other two being jealous that Bubba gets to see you when they don’t. And yes, they will smell Bubba on you, where you’ve been and also where Bubba has been, and make that connection. Still doesn’t help on the bit where you need to get out of the house without him.

  3. I do not know what to do with an anxiety dog, but you might want to meet the neighbors and let them know you are working on it. Might help if they understand what is going on. If nothing works, Bubba can play the kid’s dog on Dark Matter. (Nice to have a professional flyer like JeffW along.)

  4. You might want to not leave him alone (both you and Akemi leave at same time) for a while until he settles in to his new home and routine.

  5. I really can’t give advise. My beagle just walked out into the grass then came back up on the porch and pee peed. What do I know… apparently?

  6. A method I’ve used with puppies (and infants going to sleep at night) is to leave for a few minutes then return. Wait for another few minutes, leave again and wait a little bit longer and then return. Repeat leaving and returning at random intervals. The idea is to get Bubba used to you leaving, but give him the expectation you may return at any moment. It took a couple of days with the puppies, but it may take longer with an adult dog.

    Crating can help if Bubba is used to it (it helped with our Husky and housebreaking), but he may not like the crate.

    Good luck with Bubba! Poor guy is just missing familiar surroundings.

    Lulu was great! A couple of times I patted her through case and she licked my hand through the netting in return. She’s a sweet girl!

    And I didn’t know my typing was that loud… 😉

  7. Try a Thundershirt for Bubba when you leave the dogs home alone. You should be able to find the Thundershirt at most pet stores. It should fut snugly but not tightly.

  8. If you left anything that smells of you behind, have it applied immediately. ; )
    Best wishes.

  9. This one’s easy bubba is scared because of the environment is new and scary simply don’t leave him alone till he gets accustomed to the new environment.

  10. I have a sound-sensitive kid who will behave that way in some environments. You’d think he wasn’t sound-sensitive the way he goes out of his way to make noise, but I think it’s about flooding the environment with a sound he’s in control of.

    If his wails are reaching the neighbors, sounds from them are reaching Bubba. They might be really high-pitched sounds like the back of an old-style TV or just a voice that creeps him out. We use sensory strategies like tight hugging. Rooms with hanging coats and carpet can muffle a lot of sound. Tiled floors or that really thin faux hardwood flooring seem to be especially triggering.

  11. i agree with everyone who said don’t leave him alone until he gets used to the new place. i’ve heard that change is harder on pets than humans. after awhile (a week or 2, maybe 3) JeffW’s idea sounds like a good thing to try.

  12. First, I’m glad everyone made it safely. But poor Bubba. Because he’s an elder puppy now, I can imagine that any move is going to be traumatic, especially if he has to move again in a week. I agree with others that having someone around as much as possible might be the best solution, and maybe even getting a dog sitter would be helpful if he continues to be upset.

    After four mechanics in two days, my car “should be ok” to drive up to Vancouver starting tomorrow. The one thing you don’t want to hear from multiple mechanics is “I’ve never heard that noise before”. Evidently it’s boiled down to the alternator is “noisy”, but should be ok to drive 3,000 miles in the next two weeks. Guess I’ll find out.

    Good luck with the show!

  13. Jackson Galaxy (My Cat From Hell) sells herbal drops that you can put on dogs or cats fur that will calm them. There are quite a few different types for various different problems. I haven’t personally tried them, but if you check with your vet and he/she says they’re safe, they might be worth a shot. (I don’t get any kick back for “selling.” lol)

  14. Separation anxiety solution: switch to cats. They, typically, don’t give a damn if you’re home or not… so long as you feed them.

  15. A t-shirt, socks, old shoes or pillow case in his bed that has your sent on it will help. I agree with the idea of letting him get accustom to his new environment before leaving him alone. Place his toys and bedding in a small space for a while so he has the familiar around him. Sorry I missed your birthday but sushi is my choice for a nice. birthday dinner too! Best wishes for getting four legged babies settled. Happy that your trip was smooth. (watch or read the dog whisperer)

  16. @Ponytail … ROFLMAO. I am a good dog trainer, I do rehab on aggression issues, evaluations at shelters. Guess what… I have a basenji who thinks wet ground will melt her. I am happy when she goes on the porch because the other option is hold it in til she gets anal gland ruptures. So we keep her on fiber 3x a week and I consider her peeing and pooping on the porch a win.

    JeffW is spot on with training… and while that is the normal training for younger dogs, it might help a lot to reassure poor Bubba that just because it is a new place you WILL be back. It really can help the anxiety. Just make sure you come back BEFORE he starts wailing or you’ll be training him that is what brings you back.

    As for Jenny Horn’s suggestion about a thundershirt.. sounds stupid don’t they? Yet they absolutely work more often than not. It is the same principle used with cattle in squeeze shoots… I highly recommend trying one on any anxious dog. Check out the story of Temple Grandin for the theory on why (she has autism btw, and found hugging worked for her and cattle).

    And yeah, sleep in a shirt and leave it for him to sleep on. 🙂

  17. I used to have a diffuser filled with cat pheromone liquid for my cat, it seemed to work for her. I believe there’s a similar product for dogs.

  18. Glad you all made it safely to Toronto. Poor Bubba. I hope he gets used to his new surroundings soon.

  19. First, glad to hear everyone is at least somewhat settled, at least for this week.

    Poor Bubba! Pets (and many people) love routine, and any variation from it means to them there is something wrong. Remember from his perspective he just got thrown in a bag, carried halfway across the country to somewhere he’s never been, and then left alone. He’s in a new spot where the sounds, sights and smells are completely different and foreign. His stress levels were probably already really high, so being without the only people who were familiar was too much. I think it’s just going to take some time for him to get used to his surroundings and to settle down.

    I really like JeffW’s idea of leaving for short periods and then coming right back, making it a little longer each time. It might also help to leave some of your dirty clothes lying around (that would be easy for me!) to give him some familiar scents to lie near. Also, as far as when you leave, I would keep doing whatever you were did back at home – if you always made a big deal of it when leaving, continue doing so. If you usually just gave them a quick pat and left, then do that. Again, it’s the routine.

    Best of luck and hopefully today will be a bit smoother! I hope you guys are taking today as a rest day.

  20. My wife has a 9 yo black pug and she still howls up a storm. I can even be home and the little siren goes off. I have to go up to her to let her know I am still in the house. All I can recommend is give the dogs some toys or chews that will keep them preoccupied for a while and leave the radio on (or tv) so it is not so quiet.

  21. Wow, yah that all that would make me crazy. I get a little anxious trying to keep my Quaker quiet at times. Jenny and Ponytail had good advice. I have heard those thunder shirts do work. And if you can bring him to work, why not. There are a lot of benefits to brining your pets to work. Hopefully everyone there will be as cool as everyone was at SG.

  22. There’s only one solution, really. You need a robot version of yourself, Joe. One that you can leave behind with Bubba. How about that advertising robot you and Akemi saw in Japan?

  23. The others had good suggestions for Bubba. I think he’ll settle down once he gets used to the place but It may be a long process. 🙁 You could always get him a little doggy valium for emergencies.

    What about doggie daycare?

    All of us out here in cyberspace send him many {{{{hugs}}}}. I’m glad Lulu is feeling better!

    Yay that you successfully relocated the family!

    Transporter the series has just started airing. Why did that take so long? Seems like it’s been a couple of years since you started that project.

  24. Try Bach’s Rescue Remedy: It works for dogs and cats. Or go to a pet store or vet and get the diffuser you plug in to electrical outlets. I think it’s called DAP. (It’s Feliway for cats. They’ll know what you’re talking about.) Get several and put them all over your home, so better to get the Bach’s in the meantime.

    Scritches for poor, scared Bubba.

  25. Arghh Lost part of my comment. The diffusers *take a few days to work* so better to get the Bach’s in the meantime.

  26. Separation anxiety and anxiety in general for the move can be soothed with some DAP diffusers. I am sad we didn’t get you some for the move anyways. It’s pheromone the mimics a nursing bitch so calms the dogs down. Get some at the vet, accept no pet store imitations. Also the leaving for short periods of time and gradually increasing the time spent away is the best behavioural advice for now….good luck!

  27. What an awful start for your trip! I’m glad everything worked out okay. I always stress about tickets and passports. Once I took out the tickets to check one last time before we left, just to be sure they were in my purse… and proceeded to leave them on the kitchen table, requiring an emergency reprint at the airport.

    I got nothin’ on the Bubba front, but JeffW’s suggestion sounds like a good one. With special attention to making sure you are back before the barking starts. That might be tough.

    I’ve had neighbors with anxious bogs that swear by the Thundershirt, but I’ve never needed one for my Lab.

    And having something with your scent on it is always good.

    Good luck settling in!

  28. What a day! How exhausting for everyone. Glad the dogs did well on the flight. I didn’t read all the suggestions above, but here are some tips:

    How to Treat Excessive Barking

    Getting your dog to bark less will take time, work, practice, and consistency. It won’t happen overnight, but with proper techniques and time, you can see progress.

    Here are a few tips to remember as you start your efforts to control your dog’s barking.

    Shouting stimulates your dog to bark more because he thinks you’re joining in. So the first rule is to speak calmly and firmly, but don’t yell.
    Most dogs don’t know what you want when you’re yelling at them to “shut up.” So train your dog to understand the word “Quiet!”

    Here are two methods:

    When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm, firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a high level treat, such as cheese or chicken bits to make it worth more than the barking.)

    Method 2

  29. I’m confused. Have you and Akemi adopted Jeff, or something? 😉

    (Psst! Jeff!! Make sure you’re in the will! 🙂 )


  30. G’day

    Happy to see you made it safe and sound.
    As for Bubba, seems ;like some good advice from other comments. I have cats, they do not care if I am home or not, as long as they have food, water and clean litter tray.

  31. PS

    You nincompoop for forgetting your passport. Here I was thinking you were an experienced traveler. Tsk…tsk!!
    Well at least you got the dogs – more important.

  32. What’s wrong with bringing him in to work? Too many other production dogs? My friend is starting a “best production dog” competition through her network of film TV production people. I think you should enter your Bubba!

  33. Love that first picture, as a caption I would call it “Let’s go!” lol.

  34. Why do you need your passport if you are not leaving the country? Won’t the Canadian airlines and motels accept your driver’s license and credit card as proof of identity? They do in the USA. Does Canada require two forms of I.D. everywhere?

    Why won’t the comments function allow me to check the “Notify me of new comments via email” block?

    Good luck with all.

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