Separation Anxiety Steps 6-8
Stage 6: In order to have better control over the dog when you step across the door, avoid exciting him. We recommend that you make him "SIT + STAY" a few feet away from the door, feign departure. Touch the knob without opening the door, and return. If the dog shows no signs of excited behavior, congratulate him.
The owner must ask the dog to "SIT and "STAY" before stepping over the threshold. preferably with the door open, and return immediately. Repeat this exercise as many times as required before you increase the time period in which you remain on the other side of the door. When the duration increases, it is recommended that you vary the amount of seconds and minutes, for example, 1-2-3-2-1-4-5-3-1-5-6 etc.
Stage 7: Hints at desensitizing the dog to a departure often elude the master, but not the dog. There are many unconscious gestures which confirm an imminent departure in the dog's perception. One must be vigilant in identifying and analyzing ritual behavior patterns, and de-condition the dog to these:
- Give the commands "SIT and "STAY"; at the same time, present him with a stimulus which provokes his anxiety (your keys, for instance).
- Accustom your dog to these hints by showing him a variety of "anxiety stimuli" such as keys, boots, coats, a , etc...
Stage 8: The technique in this stage aims at getting the dog accustomed to staying alone for longer an longer periods of time without his manifesting signs of anxiety. To begin with, the separation must be short (no more than one or two minutes). so as the dog has no time to begin showing anxiety. The increase of the duration of the absence must be very slow and depends on the reaction of each dog. Hence, do not increase the duration of the separation until there are no more signs of anxiety or excessive welcoming behavior.
Notice that this behavior manifests itself thirty minutes after departure. Therefore, it stands to reason that the longest and hardest period to accustom the dog to remain alone is thirty minutes. If the dog can remain alone for ninety consecutive minutes, he can do it for hours. Here's how:
- Thirty minutes before departure, tell the dog to go to his isolation area.
- Give him a Kong or a bone.
- Simulate your departure by taking your coat and keys.
- Open the door, go out, and close it without saving or doing anything else
- If the dog is agitated or demonstrates any signs of anxiety, ignore him and don't give him any attention whatsoever.
- If the dog remains calm after returning from isolation, congratulate him immediately with the SR "SOUND + GOOD!".
- Repeat this exercise as often as possible.
The dog will lea rn to eagerly anticipate all these departures which are bringing him so many rewards. Moreover, the dog always ignores how long the master will be gone - 10 minutes? 3 hours?
Note: We advise that you not leave the dog alone in thefar more than 8 hours after you have started desensitization. If you cannot we suggest that you have a friend watch aver the dog or that you allow your dog to go with you.
In order to avoid having your dog hang around with nothing to do, leave him some. Preferably, select a which will keep your dog busy for as long as possible. There is a called the kong(r), in which you place pieces of ; the dog must find a way to get to the , and this takes hours! You can also place certain in strategic places around the , and the dog must find them. The dog will become eager to see you go! Bones or a buster cube(r) is also recommended.
In extreme cases, so me people opt for a cage, a muzzle (to prevent destruction), or a daycare service. Another solution is available: the Spray Barrier (see the manual dedicated to this device). Even if this device eliminates messes, it will do nothing for the problem of anxiety. The only way to tackle this problem is to practice the above exercises every day, until the problem is solved. If everything else fails, consult your veterinarian for some drugs which could be given to your dog.