Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

If you’re like most new dog owners, you’ve probably tried everything to teach your dog to be able to stay at home alone/treat their Separation Anxiety.

I know I tried everything! That includes:
  • Pheromones.
  • A calming vest.
  • Calming tablets.
  • Letting her bark it out.
  • Kongs.
  • Interactive toys.
  • Cage training.
Sound familiar?
Of course, none of it worked. Willow was still a complete mess anytime we stepped foot outside the house. That is, until I came across the Gradual Exposure method, which is that you gradually get your dog used to being on their own in tiny increments.
It was interesting to find that this is actually the same method used to treat human phobias (because after all, Separation Anxiety is a phobia of being left alone).
If you’re throwing up your hands thinking I've already tried this and it didn't work, stay with me.
The key element of this method is your dog sets the pace - not you. That might mean going out of your home for just 5 seconds at a time until your dog is okay with 10 seconds. Yes, it can be repetitive, boring and may drive you a little mad. It also WORKs.
The other things that will help you achieve success with the Gradual Exposure method:
  • An indoor camera (it doesn't need to be anything fancy - a cheap one from amazon will do) so you can watch your dog while you’re “away” and check for any signs of stress. 
  • A way to track your dog’s progress over time. Some people use notes in their phone.

  • Support! Up and downs are expected but it is important to have a good network of family and friends for when it gets too much. 

  • FUN. Remember to enjoy the small wins when starting this process. This could be you taking out the rubbish and your dog remaining calm!
Overall, this is a process and that means it will take time. However, if you remind yourself that this temporary and you stick to the plan, there is a really good chance you and your dog will work through it and you will be able to reclaim that all important flexibility.
All my best,
W&M Team
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