Wheaten Terrier Separation Anxiety

The soft coated wheaten terrier breed is notorious for suffering from separation anxiety.  Wheatens are lovers.  They love their family to a fault, so much so that any time you spend apart drives them insane.  Separation anxiety manifests itself differently from wheaten to wheaten. When my in-lSoft coated wheaten terrier puppyaws would leave the house, their wheaten Wesley would leave little spite pee and poop droppings strategically throughout the house.  The look on his face when they arrived home always told the story.

So now with Andy, me being the curious and over cautious puppy parent that I am, I bought an IP camera so that my wife and I could watch Andy remotely when we left the house.  This is probably something a lot of pet owners have always wanted to do.  Let me tell you, it is pretty funny, but can be heart wrenching at times.  The first time we left him home alone we used a combination of gates zip tied to his crate in our laundry room to corral him.  In total he had about 75 square feet plus his comfy crate, food, water, toys out the wazoo and a wee wee pad.  The house was set at 68 degrees, lights left on etc.  I hope I’ve succeeded in painting a pretty posh puppy palace for Andy to spend some alone time in.  Well, you would have thought we left him on a bed of nails.  He wailed, he cried, he barked, he howled, he jumped around the gate trying to find a way out. He made number 2 within 10 minutes of our departure (he had just been out and pooped prior to us leaving so this was just a nervous dooty) and proceeded to step in it and track it everywhere.  He stepped in his water bowl, food bowl, water bowl again.  In general he just hated the fact that he was alone and we were gone.

So, how do you fix soft coated wheaten terrier anxiety?  Honestly I have no clue.  But I’ve done quite a bit of research and have learned a few tricks that we will be trying out in the coming weeks.  First tip:  Don’t under any circumstance create a major commotion when you come or go.  Apparently putting on a charade and showering your wheaten with kisses before you leave only increases their separation anxiety over time.  As puppies they are extremely impressionable, so we have started doing this post haste.  Second tip:  When sitting around the house, at night for instance, leave your wheaten gated in the kitchen area while you are watching TV for instance in the adjacent room.  This is supposed to teach your wheaten independence.  Andy will usually cry for a minute now but then relaxes.  It was much worse a few weeks back so this seems to be having a positive effect on his anxiety.  Third tip:  Keep the little one off the bed at night.  We’re bad at this.  He’s fun to snuggle.  After all wheaten puppies look like teddy bears, so why in the world would you not let them adorn your bed?  Well apparently it’s a bad idea.  We’re trying and he seems fine sleeping on his bed next to us, or in his crate.

That’s all for now.  Leave your experiences with your soft coated wheaten terrier separation anxiety below!

6 thoughts on “Wheaten Terrier Separation Anxiety

  1. Thank you for the tips! I have a one year old wheaten and she does great when I put her in her kennel and leave but will panic if I leave without putting her in the kennel. Even if I walk out for a minute to take out the trash. She cries, howls, barks and pees. Also, when driving, she will panic when I turn off the car. She will jump to my seat and sit on top of me. I have tried telling her to get off of me so I can get out first but it just makes things worse. She gets so stressed out that she shakes. I have no clue how to fix this. She loves people especially one of my friends and my mother. If they come over or just hearing their voice on the phone she will cry and look all over the apt for them. When they leave, she howls and cries for about and hour. Again, I have no clue as to what to do to make it better and have not found anything on the internet related to it. Any ideas??

    • Hi Karina – Thanks for the comment! Wheaten’s really struggle with separation anxiety for whatever reason. This is not uncommon and you’re not alone. Andy, while not quite as bad as your little one, hates when we leave him alone. We have been pretty successful just keeping him in a room seperate from us while we are home. For instance we gate him up in the kitchen while we are in the family room watching TV at night. He will usually wimper for a few minutes, then go lie down for a nap. The key here I believe is not giving in to his whimpers and cries. As far as the car, I would recommend bringing a crate along and crating her while driving. Andy has been crated in the car from day one and now just hops in and goes to sleep. Maybe you can give that a shot? Good luck!

  2. Ah .the pooch and vacation! I have had this plrobem for ten years. And now that Nadia is an older dog, it gets worse. The big kennels make me sign my life away before I leave her with them, and honestly, she never did that well in the big kennels anyway. So it’s a last ditch place I go to if all else fails.So what to do My handy little best kept secret is that veterinarians board dogs. Not a lot. Most of their room is for animals recovering from surgery. But .most people don’t know about this little secret, so it’s not hard to get reservations.They have ALL the shots on file, so no need to update anything. Half the time Nadia has her yearly while she is boarding with them.They kept Nadia the five times I had to go to Vermont for ten days July and January, and got to know her better than me, I think! The girls love her and give her extra attention..because there are not a lot of dogs there. There are no extra charges for play times and walks. When did kennels start charging all of that anyway???? And I get great peace of mind knowing she’s with the most capable hands I could leave her with her vet!

  3. I’m so glad to have found this information! My fiancé and I have an eight year old Wheatie named Bailey. He has such intense separation anxiety that he jumps, spins barks, bites and wails when we leave. In the last few months he has begun to pee in the house EVERY time we leave. He used to pee in the house sometimes, when we were gone all day. This didn’t happen often. Now he pees regardless of how long we’ve been gone. It does not matter how often he has gone outside or how much we have exercised him (we live in the country and he goes for daily runs through the woods). Our house is rustic with wide plank wood floors so you can imagine how difficult urine is to clean up… We tried to crate him. We stopped because he peed all over his bed in the crate!!! We could not keep up with washing his bed every time we had to leave. What happened to dogs not peeing where they sleep?! We also switch up the door we use when we are leaving the house and do not make a big commotion when leaving. We don’t even let our keys jingle, because that will set him off. We are going to try the second tip; corralling him in the kitchen when we are watching TV at night. We have tried trainers, the thunder shirt, even adopted a second dog to keep him company (he loves her) but he still pees… help?!

  4. Great read. Thanks for giving me comfort that I’m not the only one dealing with anxiety-ridden pooch.

  5. We have a male Wheaten, Henry, who’s almost two years old and he, like every Wheaten I’ve ever known or heard about, loves his people with such a big heart that separations are just painful. My partner and I both enjoy traveling and unfortunately, we can’t take Henry with us everywhere we go. When we are able to take him with us, we always do. But when we leave him, we always have our much trusted, in-home pet sitter stay over to take care of him in his home environment. We leave several well worn tee shirts that smell like each of us in his crate, which we’ve been told by the dog sitter, he carries around with him or cuddles up with while napping in his crate throughout the time we’re gone. When we first started leaving those shirts for him, he would tear them apart; now, he just hangs out with them and they’re ready-to-wear (after washing, of course) when we return. The first two days are always hell for Henry, but he does settle in after that and gets into his new routine. We get an exuberant welcome upon our return. Hope that helps.

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