Tips to Help a Dog Get Over a Case of Separation Anxiety

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 21, 2017

Daisy is a one-year-old Shih Tzu / Chin mix who has a case of Separation Anxiety when left alone in her Omaha home. Her guardian set up this dog behavior training session to help reduce her anxiety as well as stop barking, jumping up and demanding round the clock attention from her guardian.

When we sat down with Daisy’s guardian, we learned that she didn’t have many rules in place. She was also able to get attention pretty much any time she wanted and did some demand barking if her guardian failed to comply.

We like to call this the perfect storm; little to no structure and the ability to get what it wants on demand or through some less than desired behaviors. Over time this causes the dog to become dependent on the guardian and feels incomplete when left alone. In other cases, it causes the dog to think its an authority figure over the human and responsible for it.

In Daisy’s case iIm pretty sure its the former; too much love caused her to become depended on her guardian and when left alone, the gulf was too much to bear; causing the dog to chew things up to cope with her stress or escape to go and find her guardian to feel complete.

I recommended a number of rules and other ways to provide structure. This will shrink the dog’s world and help it feel less overwhelmed. Adding rules, boundaries and structure is always a good strategy to implement when you have a dog with separation anxiety.

Next I showed the guardian how to teach Daisy to stay. This skill requires the dog to develop self control. It also enables the human to help the dog practice being alone in a room in the house not occupied by the guardian. This is one of the first steps you usually take when treating a case of separation anxiety.

There are usually many different triggers that causes separation anxiety in dogs. To help the guardian stop separation anxiety in Daisy, I had my new apprentice Kylie film me as I shared a number of dog training tips and tricks for treating separation anxiety.

Systematically desensitizing Daisy to these triggers that are associated with with departure will take time, but help the dog learn to stop getting anxious when she hears or sees them.

By the end of the session, Daisy was starting to follow some of the new rules on her own and her guardian was now equipped to enforce them when she doesn’t. Its going to be a challenge to stop lavishing love on Daisy non-stop, but making her earn it by sitting and rewarding desired behaviors will go a long ways towards eliminating separation anxiety in Daisy.

We wrapped things up by shooting a roadmap to success video with a summary of the major activities, exercises and techniques introduced in this Omaha dog training session.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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