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Evelyns_Other_Zebra's avatar

Why is my dog suddenly hiding when i leave the house?

Asked by Evelyns_Other_Zebra (349points) November 21st, 2009

I have a Jack Russell Terrier that is nearly 5 yrs old. She recently started hiding and cowering when my SO and I leave the house. She had never done this before. She came from a previous home where she was mistreated, but she has had nothing but love showered on her at my home. We have had her about three and a half years. She used to jump against the door when we left, but now she hides in the bedroom instead. Does anyone have any ideas as to why she might be behaving this way?

She has recently retired from her pet therapy position, and she has been through obedience classes, and passed with flying colors.

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25 Answers

mcbealer's avatar

Was there a significant thunder storm recently in your area? Or maybe an alarm that was going off while you were gone that might have scared her?

kheredia's avatar

Separation anxiety??? Some dogs react differently. Or maybe she saw or heard something that frightened her and now she’s afraid to be alone.

DrBill's avatar

Dogs are pack animals, it is rare to find a dog that truly enjoys alone time. The most likely cause is that something happen when she was alone that scared her, and she is afraid it will happen again while alone. She connects you leaving to the event.

augustlan's avatar

Poor doggy. :(

Evelyns_Other_Zebra's avatar

@DrBill What can i do to help her feel safe while i am gone? She is alone for about 3 hours a day during the week.

DrBill's avatar

You cannot remove the bad memory, but you can replace it with a good one, you need to get her mind on something else.

One method I have used successfully in the past is…

Get a rather large bone from the butcher (twice the length of her tongue), a beef shank or other hollow bone, or one with marrow, fill the void with peanut butter and freeze. When you leave give it to her. She can chew and enjoy for hours on end to keep her mind off scary things. When you get back refill the peanut butter and refreeze.

Only let her have it while you’re gone. After a few times she will connect your leaving with the treat (a good thing) and it will, over time replace the scary memories.

Narl's avatar

My dog does the same thing. I think that he knows we are about to leave and gets depressed. I do what @DrBill said and give him a treat before we leave. He still hides and acts sad as we are getting ready to go.

Evelyns_Other_Zebra's avatar

@DrBill Being a Jack Russell, she is a power chewer, should i be concerned about her splitting the bone. She has choked on some bones in the past, so i have not been given them to her.

rooeytoo's avatar

My akita is terrified of doors blowing in the wind. Before I leave home I must be sure that all doors are either closed and latched or secured open. I didn’t discover this fear until I came home on a windy day to discover that he was so afraid he had jumped the fence and ran to our office.

Could there be something happening in your house, a radiator banging or hissing, or some other new experience that could be scaring her?

Regarding the bones, even the little terrier mix, raw bones every day, they chew them right up, they are beef neck bones. When I am going away I give the young one a cow leg bone, the huge one that looks like a dinosaur bone. She loves to lick the marrow out and it keeps her busy and out of trouble for hours.

Last and this is the last resort in my mind, is Natures Remedy, a sort of a natural tranquilizer. I know a lot of people who use them for dogs who are afraid of thunder.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Do you crate her? She might feel safer if she has access to her crate; it has a den like effect. Ours sleeps in her crate with the door open most nights.

gailcalled's avatar

Perhaps, if I understand correctly, she misses the socialization and stimulation she had during her pet therapy position. Some people get very depressed when they retire.

rooeytoo's avatar

I agree with @gailcalled, border collies go crazy without a job, so she could be feeling the same way.

Why did you retire her? I have a friend who takes her dog to the library so the kids can read to him, maybe you could try that with her?

DrBill's avatar

The beef shank is a very hard bone, it can be chewed, but it takes a while. Max has been working on one for six months now.

There are other ways if you don’t want to use a bone, like calling your answering machine and talking to the dog. It resets her “how long have they been gone” clock so the absents seems shorter.

You can use a timed feeder to deliver treats every hour or so. but she may start staring at it for hours on end.

The idea is to provide a positive event during your absents.

janbb's avatar

How many zebras are allowed on this site at one time?

DrBill's avatar


Just like Noah’s ark, we have room for everyone.

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

@janbb EOZ is my wife, so that makes it two so far, but you never know, there might be more, stripes are very slimming, you know. =)

janbb's avatar

@Psychedelic_Zebra Ah, that explains it; Ithought it was you in another iteration! Hey, the more zebras the better and if stripes ar slimming, I’ll paint them on my suit!

rooeytoo's avatar

Wow, I though @Evelyns_Other_Zebra was @Psychedelic_Zebra in yet another persona.

Sorry @Evelyns_Other_Zebra – You are really much better looking!

Evelyns_Other_Zebra's avatar

She has access to her kennel,but she has never liked it. As i mentioned above before i got her she had been mistreated, i think the kennel was used as a punishment. @rooeytoo I retired her because she was getting stressed and showing signs of aggression.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Do you leave the television or radio on for her?

bunnygrl's avatar

wee lamb!! I always leave the tv on when I’m not home (although not too loud, their ears are very sensitive) but so they have voices in the house, please hug your furbaby for me,
hugs xx

rooeytoo's avatar

@Evelyns_Other_Zebra – almost makes me wonder if there is something physical going on that would cause it. I hate to spend a ton of money on “tests” at the vet but if she keeps it up, you might have to bite the bullet and take her in for blood work and a complete check.

I have found a sort of old school type vet who doesn’t immediately want a whole battery of tests, he uses that as a last resort. Do you have a good vet to talk to?

snowberry's avatar

I agree with @DrBill. But you can also put lavender oil on a cotton ball and leave it in little dishes around the house. Lavender is known to soothe animals and people. My vet uses it in her office while she examines her charges.

MeganA's avatar

This is an old thread, but in case someone else reads… My dog is doing same. He uses to “go to bed” to wait for his kong treat before I left the house. Now he hides under the bed and the kong is untouched until I return :( He greets me excitedly then devours the kong. I am going to take the kong away when I return, and I’m going to try to get him more exercise. I think anxiety raises for most beings when they’re sedentary for hours on end :/

snowberry's avatar

Try a Thunder Shirt for your dog. It works wonderfully on anxiety.

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