Dog Appeasing Pheromone collars and Separation Anxiety ?

Hi folks, do you have any experience or anecdotes concerning these collars? I’ve done some research on the web, but I want to hear what you guys have to say. What’s the straight dope on DAP collars?

Did they work for you/your hound?
Did you or the dog experience any side effects?
Overall summary good / bad?
Any other suggestions to help Duncan?

The story: My cute little hound, Duncan, had some separation anxiety issues through his 9-14 month period (he’s 2 years old now). Most of his response was chewing and salivation. We tried many remedies w/ decent success (not keeping him in the crate was the winner), and now he’s content to stay at **his **home (my fiance’s place) alone. However, he doesn’t like being left alone over at my place. Together, the pack (fiance, me, and Duncan) has spent a good amount of time there, but we usually default to staying at my fiance’s place to avoid putting him through the anxiety.

But sometimes it just works-out best to stay at my place. I plan accordingly and try to make any of our Duncan-free forays from my house as brief as possible, but he does scratch / claw the windows and doors. It’s not incredibly extensive, so I assume he calms down with a little time, but he’s done some damage (thankfully, none to himself). I have a fenced-in backyard at my house, but I don’t trust leaving him there for fear he will climb/dig out and then only god knows where he’d be when I get home. My brother told me about these collars, but he admitted that he has no personal experience with them. So, just looking for experiences and stories you folks may have concerning these DAP collars. Thanks in advance.

I wouldn’t spend my money on collars, personally. What he needs is time and more interaction from you. And you’re right about not leaving him outside. It’s not safe for anyone.

The problem is that Duncan doesn’t think your house is “his” space. Get him a crate - some place that he could call his own. Fill it with blankets and things he remembers from your fiancee’s place so it smells like home. Then let him use the place as a bed so he can get used to it.

Don’t expect him to just spend all day in the crate at first. Work with him to get used to it a few hours at a time. Does Duncan ever stay with you at your house while your fiancee goes home alone? He should have some trips where it’s just you and him.

This will probably all sort itself out once you all live you together in one house. For now, your house is not his house and you’re not his person.

Hi Merneith, thanks for the tips… all good advice. However, do you have any knowledge of these collars? I have researched the merits of your advice as we originally had this problem, and they led us to solutions. So, I’m not trying to discount what you said, but I really want to hear specifically about the collars.

Duncan and I have spent lots of time together, just the 2 of us. In fact, I’m his alpha, and he really only *honors *mom when I’m not around. We’ve spent many nights alone together in my place, long walks on the beach, romantic weekends in the mountains, and bug/snake-infested forays in the swamp (his favorite, btw). So I don’t think it’s the lack of his mom (my fiancé) being around or the unfamiliarity w/ me and my place. Additionally, we do have toys and beds and blankets and smells from her house at my place, too. But he’s noticeably uncomfortable over here.

Recently (and thankfully) he’s started hanging-out in my yard by himself. This is new as he used to demand that one of us be out there with him. But now he can find a way to enjoy the alone time. Also, I never discourage any alone time, and will alter my needs and routine (somewhat) to be sure that I don’t disturb his alone time or suggest that he has to be with me 100% of the time while we’re over there. I can also see how the on-again/off-again nature of his alpha being present could have something to do with it, too. But I’m hoping that the pheromone collars could be but a temporary (2-4 hours) solution.

I agree that this will all be resolved when my fiancé and I move in together. But you know the secret to a successful relationship don’t you? Stay the hell away from each other. Our 5+ year relationship is great and that being said, I’m riding this train as long as it’s rolling. :smiley:

I have a friend who has 5 y.o. Boston terrier who routinely chases one of the other dogs in the household, barks like crazy in the yard even though there’s nothing around, and becomes very territorial when anyone comes to their house, including the next door neigbors, who are their best friends and visit several times a week. She got one of those collars and, within 20 minutes, the dog was calm. He went out in the backyard, barked a couple of times, seem to think better of it and just went off to do his business. The next morning, when he’d ususally be dominating the other dog, he ignored him. The neighbors came over that evening and the dog ran up them, sniffed a couple of times, and wandered off, uninterested. He doesn’t act drugged or lazy, just quiet and calm. So, one person’s story. YMMV.

BTW, the store warned her that the collars do not work on every dog and need to be replaced every 30 days or so.

Good luck!

Hi, OP. I’m sorry I don’t have a magic cure for you. But I did want to point out that the dominance theory of dog behaviour has been debunked, and your continuing to refer to it in your interactions with the dog may be inadvertently reinforcing his anxious behaviours.

My advice, some of which I’m sure you do already, is as follows.

  • Establish a clear routine when you’re leaving him alone. Some owners even tell the dog how long they’ll be gone. I dunno about that :slight_smile: but speak calmly, and leave quietly. If you’re excited and giving him lots of attention when you’re about to leave, you’re unintentionally reinforcing his anxious feelings.
  • When you return, ensure you greet him quietly and calmly. The more excited you are, the more excited he’ll be. You’re aiming for calm.
  • Use distraction toys like Kongs or treat-dispensing chewy toys to give him something to focus on when you’re not around. Leave him for a short time, and reward his calm behaviour when you return.
  • Gradually increase the length of time he’s left alone.
  • Leave on a radio or TV so he hears human voices.

Looks like your dog is part Border collie - does he have a job? Do you take long and/or fast walks every day? Could he wear a weighted vest while doing so, or just carry supplies like water bottles and treats? Anything you can do so that he’s physically and mentally tired when you leave him alone will help.

If you’re looking for a book about dog training, Karen Pryor’s Don’t Shoot The Dog is a good place to start.

Good luck! If you’re already doing all this, the Thundershirt might be another potential tool to help your dog adjust.

Thanks jayrey, that’s just what I was looking for; a story about someone using the collars.

Oh, I may have mis-spoken. I’m not expressly dominant over Duncan, I just interact w/ him on a deeper level than the rest of his pack. The wife and kids say that he likes me best, but I respond, “no, I just speak dog”. And that’s it… I often interact w/ him by watching/understanding him more than just trying to order him around. I’m no dog whisperer, but I’ve had dogs all my life. This is the first time I’ve had a hound w/ such separation issues. I’m sure it’s `cause I’m such a wonderful person… heck, everyone cries when **shunpiker **has to leave the party :D. That being said, I appreciate the tips… I know they are sent w/ best intentions, and I agree w them.

However, I really hope there are more folks (like jayray) that have used the collars and can give their US$0.02.

Alternatively, has anyone got stories related to experience w/ the Thundershirt that **araminty **mentioned? I’ve read folks have had good results for calming their pets during noise/storms, but I don’t remember reading about the shirt and separation anxiety.

You know, somewhere in the box of dog stuff, there’s a DAP diffuser that we tried on our rescue basenjis when they were having anxiety issues. There’s probably millions out there like me who have nothing to report.

I used one with my German Shepherd. She had severe anxiety at virtually every sound including birds chirping. I put one on her and within minutes I could take her for a walk outside and she wasn’t a quivering, slobbering mess.

Do they get used to and it becomes less effective over time?

Yes. After about 6 months or so they didn’t have the same results on her. However I do think she was an exceptional case and with a dog who has less extreme issues the problem could be trained out during the time the collar works.

If she heard a plane fly overhead she’d try to crawl into a tiny mark on a wall. She had issues.

Poor pup.

We have a sheltie who barks neurotically at the Sunday of air brakes, people at the door, the manual can can opener…

I wonder if it would help. Is there a specific brand you used?

I used the D.A.P brand and really, even though it did wear off, I recommend trying it. The immediate results were shocking. Maybe during the time it works your dog will just forget that that’s what he/she used to do.


Thanks for the feedback, Floaty. I’m sad to read about your anxious shepherd yet glad to hear the collar provided some relief.

Araminty, I’m confused… did those diffusers work for you, or are they in the box because you found them ineffective?

Yes, it appeared to have no effect.