Teaching a Dog to Stay to Stop its Separation Anxiety

By: David Codr

Published Date: January 14, 2019

For this Omaha dog training session we teach 3 year-old Plotthound Astro (pictured here on the left with his roommate 7 year-old Min Pin Mia) to stay to stop his separation anxiety.

Stopping separation anxiety in dogs is one of the more common requests I get. Ive read many books on how to help a dog with separation anxiety and one fundamental thread is the dog simply doesn’t have the confidence to be alone This is usually due to lack of experience being calm and alone. There can be different triggers, levels of intensity, etc. but it always comes back to that fundamental element, panicking when left alone.

As a dog behaviorist, I try to put a dog into situations where I know it will succeed. So if a dog has problems with a behavior or activity, I ask myself; “what is the easiest version of that activity?”

Well when you have a dog suffering from separation anxiety, the easiest version is to practice staying alone with the human in the room, but with some distance. Then practice staying alone with the human in the next room. Then practice staying alone with the human outside the front door, etc.

Notice a common theme in the above paragraph? It doesn’t take a professional Plotthound trainer to see that all the steps ask the dog to “stay” alone.

My solution to separation anxiety is to train the dog to stay, so you can practice all of those scenarios. You can learn the easy way to train a dog to stay in the free dog training video below.

The main mistake people make with this approach is moving too far too fast. Small successful steps is the name of the game. You have to maintain a 100% success rate when you teach a dog to stay.

By first teaching Astro to stay, then practicing it for progressively longer and longer periods of time, Astro will essentially practice being alone. With enough practice, Astro will no longer panic when left home alone.

To help the guardians remember all the other dog behavior tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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