Teaching a Dog to Stay to Help it Practice Being Alone and Get Over Separation Anxiety

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 7, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we helped a dog get over its case of separation anxiety. Teaching 10 year-old Beagle / Rottweiler mix Chiles to stay so his guardians can help him practice being alone.

When I sat down with the guardians to discuss Chiles dog behavior issues, she sounded like a perfect dog. Aside from some accidents and distress when left alone, the family didn’t have any complaints.

I spent some time talking about the underlying causes for Separation Anxiety. One thing that hit home was a lack of rules and structure. While many people dont think of a well behaved dog as needing structure, it can cause a dog to become distressed. In some cases, the dog thinks it need to look out for and protect its humans as it doesn’t see them as filling the leadership role for the group / family.

I shared a number of tips and tricks I have learned as a dog behaviorist that should help Chiles feel more confident in her guardian’s taking the lead. We also discussed the importance of rewarding desired behaviors and ways to pet the dog that will build up her confidence.

Ive found that many dogs who suffer from separation anxiety do so for two main reasons; they feel insecure when left alone or they feel they need to guard and protect their humans. In Chiles case, I think its a bit of both.

A great way to help dogs with lower self esteem is to teach them new tricks and commands. But this approach also helps with dogs who have separation anxiety problems. Increasing a dog’s skill set is a great way to boost their overall confidence. Id love to see the guardians commit to teaching Chiles a new trick a week for 4-8 weeks. This will not only boost her confidence, it will deepen her respect for there humans and give them new ways to redirect her.

One of the new commands I want her guardians to focus on is training their dog to stay. Many dogs with separation anxiety have little to no practice being along. Teaching a dog to stay until released is a great way to help a dog practice being alone.

In the free dog training video below I share how to teach a dog to stay by duration, distance then distraction.

Once Chiles can stay for 5 minutes, then her guardians can start practicing for distance, eventually moving out of her eyesight. Once she can stay with them outside the room, they can start increasing the length of time. This is a great way for a dog to practice being calm when away from its guardians.

By asking Chiles to practice staying in another room, her guardians can help her practice being alone, even if they are only in the next room. By gradually increasing the time she is in a room by herself, her guardians can help her practice being calm and nothing bad happening when she is doing something for them, staying in place.

To help the guardians remember all the dog behavior suggestions we made in this at home dog training session, we filmed a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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