Owning a dog with separation anxiety can feel overwhelming, frustrating, and isolating. Many people will not understand what you are going through and will offer a number of suggestions ranging from silly to simply dangerous. Some people may even advise you to give up and rehome your dog before you have even started to look for a solution.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is not your dog “being bad.” They are not destroying your couch, urinating and defecating all over the house, barking non-stop, or trying to escape because they are “mad at you.”
The easiest way to understand separation anxiety is to understand a fear that you yourself have. Are you afraid of spiders, snakes, or small spaces? Imagine if every day of your life you were forced into a small dark room filled with spiders. You may try to escape in any way possible. This innate fear that you may feel in that situation is what a dog with separation anxiety suffers every time their owners leave the house. They are irrationally afraid of being left alone.
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How we can help.
1. The Assessment
During the assessment we will meet online to discuss your dogs issues. This assessment usually lasts 60 - 90 minutes. During this session we will assess your dogs max amount of time they are comfortable being alone. This is known as your dogs threshold. Once we understand your dog’s threshold we can then set up a training plan that is specific to your dogs needs.
2. Veterinary Support
Because separation anxiety is a true phobia to being left alone, the support of a veterinarian is incredibly important for the success of your training. Many times your veterinarian will recommend some medications to assist with your training and help your dog cope. If you have not spoken to your veterinarian already, you will receive a letter you can take to your veterinarian that will outline the training and request their assistance and input. Having this team on your side is incredibly important for this type of training. If you do not have a regular veterinarian I would be happy to assist you in finding one.
3. Suspending Absences
In order for the treatment plan to work successfully, it is crucial that the dog is not left alone except during your training sessions. You may need to employ the help of family, friends, dog walkers, or doggy daycares to achieve this crucial step. During the time you are desensitizing your dog to their fear, it is important to not expose them to that fear during off training times.
4. The Treatment Plan
Separation anxiety training focuses on desensitization so your dog learns that being alone is not scary. Your dog will learn to trust that you are coming back and to be comfortable in your absence. We do this by setting up a specific training plan for you. This training usually takes about 30 - 45 minutes a day for 5-6 days a week. This program is a multi-pronged approach that will address their physical, emotional, and medical needs to make a positive difference in both your lives. This is not a quick fix or a fad diet. This is a scientifically proven approach that addresses the root causes of the problem. Just like a diet or workout program this will take time but if you really want to help your dog, the time will be well spent.
This initial assessment will be done online via Zoom. This assessment may take 60-90 minutes depending on the severity of your case. This is when we will discuss the issues you are having, discover your dogs threshold, and come up with a training plan that fits you and your family. At the end of your assessment you will receive a personalized training plan as well as a letter to take to your veterinarian.
Please fill out the intake questionnaire below to get started.
4 Week Treatment Plan
This package includes each of the following for each week you are enrolled:
1-hour weekly training session or video review via Zoom per week. Additional 1 hour sessions can be added to this package for $60 each.
1 - 30-minute Zoom session per week to check in with training progress.
A detailed homework sheet each day with specific training and task instructions.
After the initial 4 week training package we will reassess your dog and determine what additional training you will need. Please understand that most clients will require more than one 4 week package to reach their training goals.
Questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information