Dog 101 | Training & Behavior | Dog Separation Anxiety - Nylabone
As for separation anxiety, I start with very short periods of alone time and very slowly build up my dog’s tolerance. The more successful sessions my dog has, the more confidence he builds. Similarly, panic attacks and negative experiences will undermine that confidence and significantly set back training.
Let’s begin with an initial consult to assess the severity of your dog’s separation anxiety, implement a management plan to take some immediate pressure off you and your dog both, and build a training plan to change how your dog feels about being left alone. Then we’ll put a support package into place to keep you energized and on track throughout the training process.
It may sound like something right out of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but most likely your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. One of the most common causes of canine behavior problems, separation anxiety occurs when your dog has a severe dislike or fear of being isolated. In addition to being stressful for both dogs and their owners, the condition can often put a strain on our relationships with our four-legged best friends. When we view the problem of separation anxiety in the home environment, we notice many factors that contribute to it. One is called passive dominance-that is, allowing the dog to train the owner to perform a variety of commands for him. One example is when your dog asks to be let outside several times a day, only to change his mind and decide he didn't really need to go out after all. He was simply checking on your training. He may request to be petted constantly, again testing to see if you will do what he requests. Another way in which dogs manipulate for leadership is by being first to answer the door, first when going for a walk, or first just walking room to room. Dogs place much emphasis on who leads the pack-literally.Because domestic dogs usually consider the human family to be their social group, they become bonded to family members. When separated from family members dogs may experience distress and engage in problem behaviors related to the anxiety of separation. These behaviors include destruction, vocalization, elimination of urine and/or stool, anorexia, drooling, attempts at escape and/or behavioral depression. Treatment protocols include independence training, habituation, counter-conditioning and desensitization to owner departure and absence.Many of these dogs are extremely attached to their owners and follow them everywhere. Another component to treatment is "independence" training. The owner is advised to train the dog to remain at a distance from them and gradually to be in another room away from them. The owner is instructed to begin with short down/stays as the owner moves across the room and rewards the dog with food and praise for remaining in position. Then the pet is trained to remain in another room while the owner leaves and gradually increases the time the dog can stay in another room away from them. Many dogs with separation anxiety also engage in persistent attention seeking behaviors. The owner is requested to no longer attend to the dog when it asks for attention, instead they must ignore it or send it away. They only attend to the dog when it is calm and quiet.