Robin and I were in Snellville last Wednesday working with a new Home Dog Training client and his Corgi named Damien. We worked through all Damien’s obedience issues and then turned to behavior problems. We asked our client the standard question; “Damien really drives me nuts because…” and asked him to fill finish the sentence. He told us that the biggest behavior problem with Damien is that he goes completely nuts every time our client leaves the house. “He barks and makes everything a mess. My neighbors tell me that they think there is a “crazy nut case” in my house. Is this what they call “separation anxiety” and what can I do about it?”
Robin and I tell our clients that separation anxiety is one of the most difficult issues to resolve in a dog’s behavior. It is caused due to prior experiences as the dog being a shelter or abused dog or lack of leadership in the current environment. I will be going into great detail on this subject over the next few months. Let’s start with some simple things we can do to begin the healing process.
All dogs are very attuned to the sounds around them. If their territory (home) sounds like everything is fine, things will be good and they will be happy. The way that they come to this conclusion is based on the “white noise” they are processing. If they hear you doing the laundry or opening the refrigerator, everything is fine, Mommy or Daddy are home, all is good. If they don’t hear this, things have changed and they don’t know why. All they know is that things are no longer in that state of “it is fine” when they hear you around.
Many people leave the TV on for their dogs as “white noise” for when they are not home. This could actually be a contributor to the separation anxiety if the TV is not always on. Our dog learns through consistent correlation. If you leave the TV on only when you are not home, then if the TV is on, you are not here. Oh my gosh, your dog will react to you not being there! He will bark and go nuts and tear things up! (Just for your information, this is bad.)
Robin and I have a really simple solution. Find a way to make a recording of your normal, daily things. About ten minutes before exit the house, start to play the recording. Now, stay quiet. Finally, leave the house while the recording is still playing. Put it on continuous loop so your dog will continue to here the “we are here” noises.
Your dog is now focused on your natural noises and has been be redirected from your departure and his need to initiate separation anxiety. Remember, this is simply the start in helping you with your dog’s separation anxiety. Look for more articles over the next few months that will go deeper and deeper into the steps needed to resolve separation anxiety.
Please contact us at (770) 718-7704 for all your dog training needs. We are blessed to have been your local dog training experts for over fourteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.