Tips to Help a Little LA Dog Get Over a Big Case of Separation Anxiety

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 29, 2018

For this Los Angeles dog training session, we shared tips to stop Separation Anxiety in dogs to help 9 year-old Tibetan Spaniel mix Fritz stop destroying the house when left alone.

Usually when I sit down with a dog’s guardians to discuss their dog behavior problems, I get a long list of issues and a lot of confused looks when I start to connect the dots for them. However, Fritz‘s guardian had done a lot of research and made a lot of personal sacrifices for his well-being. It was delightful to talk to someone who was so thirsty for positive dog training knowledge and had already accumulated a good portion on their own.

I showed the guardian a number of ways to add structure as well as ways to motivate fritz to offer the behaviors that she wanted. At first I had difficulty getting him to sit but was eventually successful by using a little bit of operant conditioning. A lot of this was a result of my disengaging from him when he failed to comply with my request to sit. I only asked once and then stopping my interaction with him if he did not comply within 3 seconds. Then I immediately reengaging with him as soon as he did things I liked. This approach quickly started producing the results we were looking for.

I suggested that the guardian play a little bit of hard to get with her dog. By being aloof and asking the dog to do something before getting attention, the guardian can help him start to see her as being in a leadership position. This is important for dogs that we have separation anxiety problems.

Fritz was so relaxed during my conversation with his guardian that he laid down on the floor with his back with his belly facing the ceiling and took a nap. She mentioned that he never did that, so I took it as a huge compliment.

After sharing a number of dog behavior tips on living with a dog, I turned my attention to Fritz’s separation anxiety problem. To make sure the guardian got all of the secrets to solving separation anxiety in dogs, I handed her my camera so that she could document things.

Teaching a dog to stay takes a lot of practice in very short practice sessions. The key is to not push too far, too fast or to ask the dog to stay for longer than it has the ability to do so. Otherwise the dog starts to do an “auto release” which negates the entire principle of this exercise. That’s the entire reason why I ask people to practice the stay for duration first and only move to distance once the dog can stay for five minutes.

Teaching Fritz how to stay will give the guardian the ability to help him practice staying alone for progressively longer and longer durations. Combined with the desensitization exercises that I outlined in the above free dog training video, the guardian will set Fritz up for success and help him practice staying calm and relaxed when he is alone.

To help the guardian remember all of the other dog behavior tips I shared in this in-home dog training session, we shot 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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