Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chicagoing: On Bike Dates and Separation Anxiety

Many days I feel like we're the Activities Director on our dogs' eternal cruise ship life. We are awoken each morning to this:
as our dogs follow us around and can't wait to see what fun-filled activity we have planned for the day. While most of our adventures do involve the dogs, unbelievably, E and I do go out by ourselves. Lately we've been realizing that since we pay a premium to live in the city, we might as well take advantage of everything the city has to offer. We've decided that instead of going to our usual standby restaurants, we would only go to new restaurants we haven't tried before. Since we didn't have the dogs in tow, we were able to travel via bike opening us up to restaurants outside our immediate neighborhood.
Of course, we're met with these glares as we're leaving:
We have been able to visit a lot of amazing new restaurants. Some of our favorites were:
-Cumin--An amazing Nepalese/ Indian restaurant that just opened in Bucktown. Everything was just as authentic as the Indian restaurants over on Devon, but much closer.
-Ruxbin--This tiny restaurant does live up to the hype; everything was consistently amazing. The waits can be up to 3 hours, but since we went on a Sunday, right at 5:30, we were able to slip right in. We loved the K-Town Empanadas. Plus, it's BYOB!
-Arami--E is actually friends with the chef at this new Japanese and sushi restaurant. Their fish is amazingly fresh, plus they have a lemon-ginger sorbet made exclusively for them by Black Dog Gelato.
-The Purple Pig--Everyone has been raging about this one all summer. We thought it would be more of a tourist thing, but everything was incredible. We loved the White Bait "French Fries of the Sea" with lemon aioli and the Bone Marrow Smear.
We are actually quite lucky that our dogs don't have separation anxiety and we are able to comfortably leave them alone. We felt like prisoners when we first got Mr. B and he would bark and whine when we left. Luckily with the help of crate training and Kongs, the dogs can go for a time without their activities directors. Though separation anxiety is a huge ordeal where the dog actually feels like its suffocating or drowning when their people leave. Has anyone else dealt with separation anxiety?


Maggie said...

I love the forlorn looks as you guys peddle away. Great picture!

When I first adopted Emmett, we were living in a condo in DC. The first time we left him alone, we came back to find a note from our downstairs neighbor that said, "Emmett howled for four hours." We had been gone for four hours. Yikes. We discovered that as soon as he heard us get on the elevator, he squished his nose under the door stop and cried and cried until he heard us come back on the elevator, whether it was 10 minutes or a full day. We implemented a whole routine, practiced leaving for short periods of time, used Kongs, and so on. Our neighbors were great, keeping us posted as to how long he cried and when. One even took to stopping in front of our door to say, "It's ok, Emmett! They'll be home soon!" :) It took about a year to get him comfortable with being alone, and now - four years later - we still use the same routine every time we leave the house!

Anonymous said... fun! Do you ever bring Miss M and Mr B back some treats from your travels? separation anxiety around here. Brudder Ranger gets a teensy bit anxious when they leave. But nothing too bad. And me - well, they were all sorts of worried that I would be nervous abouts them leaving but I'm all, "K-bye! See ya when you gets back!" Now, I'm always real happy when they DO get back but I'm not worried about them being gone.

Wiggles & Wags,

Anonymous said...

Miss M and Mr. B sure do look pathetic as you leave them! Thankfully, we've not had to deal with separation anxiety. Both pups will watch us leave, then immediately curl up and sleep until we get home. Occasionally, they'll get into mischief and eat a library book or two, but that thankfully doesn't happen too often!

Corbin said...

Oh, I just LOVE Miss. M's face in that early morning picture! So cute! I don't think I really have the separation axiety thing, I just get bored when mom and dad are gone... so sometimes they come home and see that I decided the couch would be my chew toy. And I get really mad when they come home from work and leave again - that's usually when I get into stuff! But I love my crate, so I don't mind that after my last feast on the couch I've been in my crate while they're at work! They try to take me with them as much as they can, so I get jealous when they go without me! Plus, I have to be in my crate when I have a foster sister. Crates and Kongs are such great things!

jet said...

Bender won't eat when we're gone, it's like he saves his food in case we don't get home. The dogs don't make howling noises though. Our neighbours have a Rottie who howls sometimes when they leave him at night but not all the time. Not sure what it is that sets him off!

jen said...

Great pictures! Ilove your pink helmet:)

Sherman used to have a small amount of separation anxiety, he would pace around the house, and pee on things.
When we started leaving him downstairs and not letting him have the run of the house while we were gone it stopped.
Go figure.

Laura and Hans said...

We knew Wilbur was screaming when we left him so I resorted to a shock collar. I know that sounds mean but we didn't want him to hurt his throat by screaming all day. We put it on him, left the apartment, and listened. He squawked just a couple of times and that was it. As far as we know he's quiet now when we're gone and we usually catch him sleeping when we come back! But I still feel guilty leaving him for even a little bit!

Martine said...

Great correlation to activity directors!!!

The kiddlets have each other and so no separation anxiety on that front. BUT I have been taking Caps in my purse on what we call "big puppy dog adventures" lately when I'm able to get out of the house alone (w/o baby) and Candy is very upset about it. I guess she whines and paces in front of the door. Poor girl, but I've started to think they need to spend a little time apart, what if something happened to one of them?? They need to know it's going to be ok w/o the other.

I'm dieing to try those restaurants!!! They sound delicious!

brooke said...

Miss M and Mr B look so upset you're leaving them!
We're lucky we never had any big issues with seperation anxiety with Darwin. When she was really young we tried to go out one night and she whined when we left her (she was probably only 2 months old at the time) so Jason ended up staying home with her. After that though she has been fine with being home alone. I'd imagaine it'd be really tough to deal with a dog with seperation anxiety...

Kate said...

Thank goodness we've never had to deal with separation anxiety either. I know it can be tough on the dogs and the humans! Still though, that doesn't stop the dogs from judging us if we go out without them ...

bitt said...

Sienna had lots of separation anxiety at first. Now I get separation anxiety when I am apart from my dogs and cats. I miss them so much.

A Confessed Pit Bull Addict said...

Thanks for the restaurant recommendations!

Toni had terrible separation anxiety when we first brought her home. Our upstairs neighbor was quick to call the front desk every. single. time (within moments), while our next door neighbor shrugged and said he thought the whining was a loose part in his washing machine when I asked him if she was a bother.

At any rate, we definitely didn't want her to be miserable every time we left, and we didn't want to be guilt ridden. So we did a lot of practicing on short term absences (closing the bathroom door when we brushed our teeth to break eye contact, running downstairs to sit on the curb for personal phone calls, both heading across the street to pick up the take-away dinners,etc.) We also began to leave on classical music for her (though she's graduated more diverse musical options now that she doesn't need soothing), invested in (several) extreme Kongs (turns our our girl's a chewer) and cut back on meal portions so we could jam the Kongs with every bit of tasty "we love you" treats as they would hold.

She will still lay at the door whenever one of us leaves - but now just for a moment or two. Sometimes, she doesn't even hear us coming home anymore until we're in the door! I'd never have believed we could make that much progress.

Nubbin' Tails said...

Mom and Dad love trying restaurants! Looks like all kinds of yums! We are lucky we don't mind at all we hope up on the couch and out like lights we go. "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" :-D BOL. Cousin Ruger had a tiny bit the first week or so and would bark for a bit when he was left but he figured out pretty quick someone would show up and so he stopped.


Mr. Nubbin'

Bobby said...


Janet Dillon Robinson said...

Thank goodness Kingston sleeps happily in his crate while we're gone :) Those restaurants look delicious!

Kari in Alaska said...

I never mastered riding a bike in a dress. I actually haven't touched my bike since being hit by the car, time to buck up and do it!


The Daily Pip said...

Pip always looks sad when we leave, but I wouldn't call it separation anxiety. He used to freak out when we would he take him out of the house - serious anxiety attacks, but fortunately that has passed.

Oh, the days of going out to eat ...once you have little ones it is much more difficult to go to restaurants! Enjoy!

houndstooth said...

What great places!

I've been lucky, none of our dogs thus far have had SA, but I've had a few fosters who had it. We were lucky to nip it pretty early, but two of them were serious cases that we spent a lot of time on the phone and in e-mails talking about ways to handle it.

Meeka said...

I'd rather be left home alone than board me in a pet hotel with strangers.

kissa-bull said...

the only one that sometimes we have a tough time with is brinksey winksey just because we take him on car rides so much he expects to go on one EVERY time we walk out the door. but the rest are too fat and lazy to want to go outside in the heat lol

Those Elgin Pugs said...

Oh yes!! Anakin is the worst (but don't tell him I said so)

he's a little Momma's boy :)

He cries and whines and gives me the saddest eyes.. I feel horrible when I have to leave him..

Before we got Josie.. Izzy and Anakin had free roam (HA) (not anymore)
and Anakin would watch me in the window pulling down the driveway and I would have that lasting look of heartbreak in his eyes all day.. in made me so sad :(
but I got stronger... yeah.. polly not too much... (I like to think I have)
The girl still cry too.. but not as loud as Anakin whines..
he does this whimper..
mah mah mah... maybe he is trying to say Mom? Hee hee..

Anyway.. I love your old school bike!! Rob and I have a bike trail here and picked up some bikes a couple years ago.. love the vintage look!!

And that pink helmet is the one from the blogger photo :) cute!!

Pug Mama

A Confessed Pit Bull Addict said...

PS - I forgot to mention Black Wing Farms: While we are partial to their Drama Trauma formula, they also make a separation anxiety specific formula that is probably worth checking out for those looking for homeopathic help.

Mary said...

I think I have worse separation anxiety than Levi. Both Jason and I are such losers and when we go out without him, we talk about him and then rush home to be with him. We took a photo album of him on our trip to Belize and looked at it every night. I probably cried too. How do you treat separation anxiety in humans?

Anonymous said...

Yay for bike dates! :) I'm so envious of the restaurant density you guys have in Chicago. While we have a lot of great restaurants in Atlanta, they are really spread out, and many of them aren't very accessible by bike, so we tend to go to the same places quite often.

Thankfully, we've never had a dog with major separation anxiety. Sometimes I wonder if our current dog isn't actually glad to have the house to herself - haha! We did foster one greyhound with mild anxiety, but the most damage she did was chew on a few things.

SusanA said...

I had to laugh at the Activities Director reference. I feel exactly the same way most days. Stella doesn't have any anxiety but there's a dog behind us that goes outside when it's owners leave that it never stops barking until they come home. I get delirious from it sometimes. I did not know a dog could bark for 3-4 hours straight and still be ABLE to bark. Saw your pups in the BadRap calender contest (true?) Hope they win :)

Kirby, CGC said...

Kirby's mom here (aka Kirby's Activity Director)- yes Kirby has separation anxiety. I got him about 3 mos ago and I got him through it in about 2 weeks or so, just basically getting him into a routine, it seemed to have work. He also had a treat ball to keep him busy and three windows to look out. But just in the past 2 wks or so it has started again, and I'm not sure why. He was doing really good and I started coming home to chewed up door frames, I live in a condo and my neighbor had told me she couldn't hear him barking until just recently. So, our trainer told me to keep up with the same routine, but throw some cheerios across the floor in the kitchen so he can go "hunt them down!" It seems to have helped, although I had to leave him twice on Saturday and apparently my neighbor said he barked alot Saturday night. I'm glad my neighbor is so understanding! Yes, it is an ordeal on Kirby and me!

Kirby's mom

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