Heartbreaking, frustrating, but treatable.
Does your dog whine, howl, or scratch at the door when you leave the house. Do you come home to find that your housetrained dog has urinated or defecated in the house? Are your blinds and curtains torn up? If you have come home to any of the above scenarios, your dog could be suffering from separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a panic disorder in dogs that results from an extreme fear of being left alone. It is estimated that up to 17% of dogs suffer from this disorder. Unfortunately, it rarely resolves on its own and many dogs are surrendered to shelters, or euthanized as a result. The good news is that it is treatable.
I became painfully aware of the heartbreak of separation anxiety during my time as a behavior manager at an animal shelter. Many dogs were surrendered for this reason, and it was truly heartbreaking to see these otherwise wonderful dogs not succeed in a home, or become eligible for adoption. Like most shelters, ours did not have the resources to deal with it. Then along came Kimmie, an adorable lab mix puppy who was returned by her tearful adopters because she panicked every time they left the house. Kimmie was the sweetest, most loving and affectionate puppy I had ever met but I knew that it would not be fair to put her into a home where she would suffer and possibly cause extreme damage to someone's home. On the other hand, I could not bare to see her not make it out of the shelter.
I brought Kimmie into me home as a foster and contacted a colleague that specialized in separation anxiety. Although I was a dog trainer, like many of my colleagues I did not want to touch this complex problem. The colleague I contacted was specially trained and certified through Malena DeMartini's renowned separation anxiety academy for dog trainers. Using the scientific, evidence-based practice of systematic desensitization, this Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, or CSAT, helped me help Kimmie to be comfortable left alone.
I am happy to report that Kimmie's separation anxiety was resolved and she was adopted by a loving family. This was a powerful experience for me. I saw that it was really possible to resolve separation anxiety, and I knew that lives could be saved if only trainers had the knowledge. I immediately enrolled in the separation anxiety program for dog trainers, completed the course, and became certified. I can now proudly call myself a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, or CSAT.
Here are a few photos of Kimmie, now known as Rosie, with her new family. She is the black dog.
What the Training Looks Like
Separation anxiety is successfully resolved by showing your dog that your absence is no big deal. First we'll set a goal: How long do you wish to leave your dog alone? 2 hours? Four Hours? Then we start out by having you leave the dog for only as long as he or she can handle, and always return before the point of panic. Your dog is carefully monitored during the training process and customized training exercises are written based on the observations of a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer to help your achieve your alone-time goal. All training is tailored specifically to your dog because there is no one-size fits-all solution when it comes to helping a separation anxiety dog. All training is done remotely using Zoom software, so we can help you no matter where you live.
If you are experiencing the heartbreak of separation anxiety, help is just an email away. Please complete the contact form below to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.
What You'll Get
Hour long live assessment with you and your dog via Zoom.
Customized training plans delivered daily, four times per week.
Daily review of the dog's progress to determine the next day's exercises.
30 minute weekly reassessments with you and your dog via Zoom.
Ongoing coaching, counseling and support.
The 4-week initial training package, including the hour long assessment, customized training plans delivered four days per week specifically tailored for your dog, the weekly 30 minute reassessment, and ongoing coaching and counseling is $725. Additional 4-week packages are $675.