Helping a Newly Adopted Dog Get Over His Separation Anxiety

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 12, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we helped 2 year-old Goldendoodle Bud get over his separation anxiety.

I started the session out by showing the guardian how to train a dog to stop jumping up on people when they are over excited. The technique I use allows the dog to learn on its own that sitting = pets and jumping or over excitement = the person backing away. After a few minutes, Bud was sitting calmly on his own instead of jumping up on me.

Sitting down with his guardian I learned that Bud had only been adopted a few weeks ago. For the most part his guardian reported he was a good dog. The problem she called me in to help with was his separation anxiety when left alone and not liking his kennel.

Separation Anxiety is a common problem in many dogs. It usually occurs due to a lack of structure, lower self esteem and no practice at being alone.

While I was discussing this issue with the guardian, I intermittently tossed treats into Bud’s kennel. This positive reinforcer is a key first step to helping a dog get over a fear of the kennel.

It didn’t take long. After about a dozen or so treats, Bud was going over and into the kennel on his own, something he had never done before my session with him. A few minutes later he went in, laid down and took a nap. The fact he did this unprompted told me that he was very comfortable with the kennel and ready for the next step.

To address Bud’s separation anxiety, I showed the guardian how to teach Bud to stay. The ability to stay will help Bud practice being alone while his guardian is in the house out of eyesight. But it will also help him by building up some self control and boosting his confidence.

Next I showed his guardian how to help a dog get over a fear of the kennel along with the plan I wanted her to follow to help Bug get over his separation anxiety for good. Due to a snafu with my new tripod, the camera decided to shift down after I started filming which is why you wont see my head in the free dog training video below.

Seeing Bud lay down in the kennel so quickly was a good sign in his guardians quest to help stop his separation anxiety. Stopping separation anxiety must include helping the dog practice being calm and there is no greater indicator of a dog being relaxed than them laying down.

After showing the guardian my kennel training technique, I stepped aside and coached her up as she practiced it on her own. She will need to practice this exercise several times a day while gradually elongating the time after he lays down.

I recommended the guardian enroll him in dog day care while she practices the stay and hanging out in the kennel. This will allow her to make quicker progress than if she left the dog in the kennel during the day while she is at work.

To help the guardian remember all the dog behavior tips I shared with her in this at home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video. This time the guardian help the camera so you can see my head the whole time. Some of my friends may say that may or not be an improvement, lol.

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