RESOURCES & TIPS

Knowledge Center

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WHAT IS SEPARATION ANXIETY

Much like the fear or phobia of certain animals, water, or heights in humans, separation anxiety is a fear or phobia in dogs. And much like any other fear, a dog does not have control over it. The destruction, self-mutilation, uncontrolled house soiling, non-stop howling or barking, are not symptoms of a dog trying to get back at you because you left him/her alone. Food or treats do not help keeping the dog under threshold and crating makes the situation a lot worse. 

Separation anxiety is an umbrella term used to describe a number of undesirable behaviors exhibited when home alone. A more appropriate term - anxiety related problem behaviors - includes behaviors caused by frustration, anxiety, boredom, etc. Important to keep in mind is that these behaviors are underestimated  and can go either unnoticed or mistakenly diagnosed. Anxiety related problem behaviors , however, are treatable behaviors by using science based methods of desensitization and, if necessary, veterinary support.

TREATMENT THROUGH SCIENCE BASED METHODS

We use proven psychological methods that have successfully been used in humans to cure their fears and phobias. Using the fear of heights in humans as an example, the treatment protocol involves a very gradual approach starting from the ground up using safe confidence building exercises that will never put that human over the threshold. Each small step towards being able to move upwards is a win and no one is asked to do more than they can handle or are comfortable with. 
 

With dogs we use a very similar treatment protocol. The process is called systematic desensitization and we, very slowly and gradually build up the dog's confidence to a point where he/she will be able to stay home alone without fear or panic. The process takes time and patience, with steps forwards and backwards but with consistency we can treat the problem. 

HOW CAN YOU TREAT A DOG REMOTELY

In reality a dog does not need to leave his/her environment to receive treatment. The protocol works more effectively at home with the owners practicing home departures without a outside interference. Unlike obedience training or other behavioral training (ex: resource guarding, reactivity) we are not teaching cues on command or working hands on with a dog to change or teach behaviors; as a matter of fact we are not doing any form of training with the dog. 

The owner will become the expert on his/her dog's behaviors cues and will be coached every day, by the separation anxiety coach, and will implement personalized plans that will take in account the dog's daily progress. Each plan will be written daily and is specific to each one dog's needs.