Teaching a Dog to Stay to Help Get Over His Separation Anxiety

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 1, 2018

Woody SM Lab - Teaching a Dog to Stay to Help Get Over His Separation Anxiety

For this Santa Monica dog training session we helped 8 year-old Basset / Lab mix Woody get over his separation anxiety by teaching him the stay command to develop self control.

I met Woody outside his home as his guardian had just returned from a walk with his new Pal Pesto who I worked with a few weeks ago.

When we sat down to discuss the dog behavior problems Woody’s guardian wanted help with, I could see he had a nice mid level energy. We chatted about his day to day life and I learned that he didn’t have much structure in place. As Santa Monica’s dog behavior expert, I have found a common factor for many common dog behavior problems is a lack of rules and structure.

I suggested some rules and ways to motivate Woody to respond to commands quicker via Passive Training and Petting with a purpose. It may not be a straight line, but rules and structure can be a major impactor for many dog behavior problems. Enforcing rules consistently can help dogs learn quicker, develop more self control and build up more respect for their guardians.

Once a dog is following rules on its own because it understands them (not because they are warned or corrected), it starts to develop more self control and also receive a self esteem boost. Both traits are important to help a dog get over a case of separation anxiety.

While we were discussing things, I repetitively tossed treats into Woody’s kennel. If his guardian continues to follow this approach, Woody will start to feel better about his kennel and being inside. His guardian may want to use some of the tips I share to help a dog get over a fear of the kennel that are detailed in this free dog training video.

While the guardian is practicing the stay and helping Woody feel positive about his kennel, she would be wise to have Woody enrolled in dog daycare. This way we eliminate any confinement while we rehabilitate him. Failure to do this will slow down the recovery window considerably.

To help Woody practice being alone in the easiest scenario possible, I showed his guardian how to train a dog to stay as well as shared some tips to help dogs get over separation anxiety.

Teaching a dog to stay is a great approach for dogs suffering from separation anxiety as the reasons they suffer from this common dog behavior problem is a lack of practice at being alone. Once the guardian has achieved 5 minutes of staying, she can start to incorporate distance and eventually help Woody practice being alone while his guardian is in the next room.

Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety need to learn how to be alone while being calm. This is an easy way to put the dog in a position to succeed.

I also recommended the guardian teach Woody some new tricks which will boost his self esteem and deepen his respect for her as an authority figure. Plus its a lot of fun, especially when you assign fun command words!

To help the guardian remember all the dog behavior suggestions I made during this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.


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This post was written by: David Codr