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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

A number of things I’ve been reading lately on this forum and elsewhere have me wondering about separation anxiety vs. Velcro poodles.

Are they the same? If not, what’s the difference? Where’s the line between the two? Is a Velcro dog more likely to experience seperation anxiety? Etc. etc.

This is mostly out of interest and wanting to learn, but also because our new spoo is incredibly Velcro-y and if there’s anything I should be doing to prevent it morphing into separation anxiety I would like to get on that ASAP!

Thank you!
 

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I'd say Peggy's a velcro dog, albeit not a one-person velcro dog. She takes turns following each of us from room to room, which includes close monitoring of all bathroom activity. And she prefers to be touching one of us at all times except during her morning nap, when she's content to snooze alone on the couch with the TV tuned to an old movie.

So far (knock on wood!) she doesn't show signs of separation anxiety. Just normal dog stuff: She'll watch us through the window if we're outside without her, but she doesn't pace or bark; she may whine excitedly when we pull into a parking lot, but then stays quiet until we return; she happily goes into her crate and settles when asked, regardless of whether we're puttering about the house or gone for a few hours; and she does the same thing at night when it's time for bed. (Her crate is in our main living space, not the bedroom.)

The key to diagnosing separation anxiety, I think, is the anxiety part. For example, does Ben panic when the door closes? I'd call that separation anxiety. Or does he just lay down and jam his nose under the door, hoping to catch a whiff of his beloved humans on the other side? Normal Velcro Dog.
 

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Velcro just has to do with a dog's desire to follow you around all the time. A velcro dog may be more likely to be anxious. But it doesn't have to be. Just normal crate training and regular absence should be sufficient for teaching them to be happy alone.
 

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Thank you!

That’s provided an incredible amount of relief, thank you thank you @PeggyTheParti I was feeling really confident about everything we’ve been doing with him until we had friends over for supper the other day, and an offhanded comment got under my skin and made me doubt myself.

Ben was sitting with my husband on the couch, I left the room to use the washroom and like he always does Ben followed in a heartbeat. Friend commented “wow, separation anxiety much”.

Previous to that comment, I would have classified him as a Velcro dog. Follows me around, prefers to be with me but not panicked if he’s not, is ok with any other member of the family but would pick me first.

And objectively it’s completely understandable. I do 90% of everything related to him. Walking, feeding, training. My husband does 9% so is an acceptable substitute if I’m not home, sometimes if I am. Our teens do 1% so will do if they are his only option, but aren’t the preferred humans. If I’m home and my husband wants to take him for a solo walk, he will go but it takes some cajoling to get him out the door. The kids can walk him easily if I’m out, but if I’m home he usually says no thanks I would rather stay with mom.

When I leave him alone in the house he’s asleep on the stairs when I get home, no destruction or inappropriate pottying etc. He will try to come with me when I leave, but just watches me go once I’m out the door.

If I leave him alone in the backyard, he trots around for a minute or two but eventually settles by the gate and watches for me to return (not realizing I’m spying on him from above).

I can leave him in the house to go outside and he just watches and doesn’t appear to freak out. I was talking to a neighbor in the front yard today while he was inside - he just stared with a look on his face that said “excuse me, you have forgotten something ... me!”

In the house, he’s happy to leave me on his terms to go work on a chew in the yard or lay on his bed in a different room if he feels like it. But if I go somewhere he typically follows.

He definitely has potential for fear/anxiety though. Thunderstorms are terrible for him. Any unexpected loud noise makes him jump and startle. He gets all freaky if someone carries a big stick, golf club, or anything. And his feelings get very hurt and he gets very worried if he is scolded. This evening he stole a piece of garbage from one of the kids rooms, all I said “nope” in an upbeat but firm tone and he tucked his tail and avoided me for half an hour.

So while he may not have separation anxiety, I feel like it might be something to be aware of.
 

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He sounds like he definitely doesn't have separation anxiety though he probably is a sensitive dog. I think it's important to remember that for our dogs, we are the only things they have in life. It seems natural for them to be so attached. Misha for sure follows me around. If he isn't next to me he is still usually in the same room.
 

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Thanks @Raindrops he is definitely incredibly sensitive. I’m a very sensitive person myself and I sometimes feel like he’s my twin. We are both sensitive and have curly hair haha!

I’m going to make sure that on a daily basis he’s left alone for a bit to make sure that he continues to be comfortable being alone.
 

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That's so funny your friend would say that. People used to ooh and ahh over how Gracie followed me around. Not a single one planted that seed of doubt in me. They just wished they had a Gracie of their own! And I think you sound very lucky to have a Ben.

I'm glad you've got Poodle Forum to ease your fears a little. :)
 

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Another thing... dog breeds differ a great deal. To me it is normal for dogs to follow their humans around. People used to more aloof and independent breeds may simply not be used to it. Additionally, people don't always know how serious separation anxiety can really be. So the comment may not have been made with the knowledge that it could really bother you.
 

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We had a Cocker Spaniel who would lie in the hall outside the bathroom door when I bathed; I always assumed that he was there to rescue me if given the chance.
 

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Thanks everyone, so thankful for everyone’s wisdom.

I think it was just the perfect storm of an offhand comment (that I know was not meant with any ill intent), me reading threads about separation anxiety and a rough week at work (when is 2020 going to end :cautious:).
 

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My Sammy follows me everywhere. From the minute I wake up, until we go to bed, he watches me for cues, as to what we will do next.

He is a velcro dog ( very much so), but he does not, at this time, display any signs of seperation anxiety. I am worried that due to covid, he may in the future.

I am his favorite person. When I am not available, my son is his favorite person. My Sammy loves all family members.

It has been awhile since he was left alone. He did really well before covid. I am hoping he will do as well once this is behind us.
 

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Counteracting the covid effect is important, but it doesn't need to be hard. I think short outings, a few days a week, work best because they are low stress. Throw in an occasional longer outing and your poodle should be fine. Just keep it low key: No elaborate "going out" routine. No dramatic goodbyes or hellos.

What's important is that they know what to do with themselves when you're gone. A good chew habit helps a lot, but draining the brain (and, to some extent, the body) is the most helpful for Peggy. Then she just sleeps. We make this even easier for her by covering her crate and leaving the TV on a mellow channel.

I so hope she continues being okay with being left. True separation anxiety is hard on everyone.
 
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