Separation Anxiety can be painful for owner and dog. We want our dogs to love being near us, but we all need to leave them alone at least part of the time. Many times, we don’t know our dog is struggling until we get complaints from neighbors or come home to a house full of the evidence.
Dogs will choose many different behaviors to express this struggle. Barking, Toileting in the House, Ripping Through Furniture, Over-the-Top Crazy Behavior when You Return. It can all be signs of a struggling dog. It’s all in how your dog chooses to deal with being left alone. Some dogs choose very odd behaviors to cope, but it’s all coming from the same place.
Uncover the Actual Problem
Start by recording your dog for 15-20 minutes. Leave your home as if you would be gone for the day but set up a camera to capture video. Don’t worry if the dog is off screen for part of the time. Just try to get a feel for what your dog is doing and how long she is doing it after you leave. Then send or share this video with RosyDogs for our Professional Evaluation. You’ll be amazed by how much is revealed in those few short minutes.
Ask the Right Questions
Time for a gut check.
Is this behavior different from the behavior you see when you are home, or is it some of the same behaviors your dog chooses when you are near?
The answer to this question will lead us to right solution. Be honest. There are no wrong answers.
Now comes the big question.
What percentage of the day does your dog choose to spend relaxing?
Think about a day when nothing special is happening. Again, honesty counts. Is it 20%? 50%? 80%? The answer to this question pinpoints the solution for your dog. From here out, it’s all about change, but we need a solid foundation on which to build this new way of life.
At RosyDogs, we think of Separation Anxiety as a symptom, not a diagnosis. With that one simple mind twist we find our way to real life solutions that don’t require exacting protocols that eat through your vacation days. Instead, we identify the underlying struggles and design a RosyDogs GamePlan. The good news is you can still leave the dog for normal periods while she learns to cope with being left alone. We give you the strategies that have worked for countless dogs around the world. It’s a revolution in dog training. Leave the endless drills and record keeping behind.
Why My Dog?
In the past, Scientists thought they had discovered few risk factors, but newer research has reversed the science. Some common beliefs have even been proven false. Our dogs are not more prone to Separation Anxiety simply because they are a Rescue Dog or Taken from the Mother too Soon. It’s also been disproven that a Spoiled Dog is more likely to experience separation anxiety! Go ahead. Spoil your dog. Just play the right games while doing so.
One risk does seem to remain, and this one starts young. Really young. Like week 5. This is when puppies naturally begin to move apart from their littermates and mother. They begin to nap while the others play, and even wander out of visual connection. They are building the skills they will need in the future so if you have a young puppy, allow them some alone time!
Does that Mean My Adult Dog is Doomed to a Life of Struggle? Absolutely Not!
RosyDogs has a GamePlan for you. After we have a look at the video, we’ll get started. You’ll learn a super easy game that helps your dog appreciate separation from you and others in the home. You’ll also learn some fun games that teach your dog to see life through Rose-Colored Glasses. Your dog will shift from Pessimist to Optimist like a pro. Then we’ll tackle the changes you’ll need to make. Stay with me. These are easy changes, but they are radically different from what you may have heard from others.
Dogs who struggle with Separation Anxiety also struggle with Calmness. The two go hand in hand. By helping our dogs find calmness, we take a huge bite out of Separation Anxiety. Even better, by learning Calmness, other struggles begin to lessen. It’s a Win-Win!
It is impossible to tire your dog into calmness. You don’t have enough time in the day to physically exhaust a dog. They recover too quickly. In an hour or so, an over excited or highly aroused dog will be right back to the struggle, but this time with even worse results. This myth has been perpetrated long enough. We’ll cover everything you need to know about your dog’s Stress Bucket and how to empty it. In many cases, this single change can alleviate Separation Anxiety, but we don’t stop there.
Setting Up the Bunker So Real Change Can Take Root
We’ll talk about what to do tomorrow when you leave the house. We’ll pick a place in your home where your dog can be safe during the few days she’ll need to shift her brain into alone time. She’ll quickly learn what she may have missed as a 5-week-old puppy. And we’ll overcome her incredible ability to recognize that you’ll be leaving soon even before you realize it yourself by playing a game to help her understand that all those little signals she’s picking up on, don’t always lead to being left alone.
Forgive Yourself and Forgive Your Dog
You did your best, and your dog is not doing it on purpose. She doesn’t understand why she’s making poor choices so let’s help her make better ones. RosyDogs has the solution. It won’t be instant, but it will be quicker (and easier) than older methods that sentenced you to days of repetition with a stopwatch in your hand. If you stick with your RosyDogs GamePlan, you can expect to start seeing real changes in as little as 3 days! To make lasting change will require a couple weeks, but your dog will start to feel better in less than a week. *
A Few Simple Games + One Change = Happy Dog, Happy Owners, and Happy Neighbors.
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*If your dog has been struggling with Separation Anxiety for a long time, change may come slower, but change is possible through your commitment to the GamePlan.
In general, dog training adheres to one of three schools of thought. To be honest, as a dog owner, I’ve been exposed to all three. My experiences varied with different dogs, but I’ve come to a clear conclusion. Below are my personal thoughts on each.
The Dominant Pack Leader theory of Alpha Dog based training believes that you must show your dog you are pack leader. You are the alpha leaving your dog as the perpetual submissive in the home. In effect, it traps dogs at the puppy stage, never allowing them to reach their full potential as mature members of your family. Trainer 1s use methods that include harsh words, leash jerking, rolling and pinning the dog on his back, or even shock collars! At its core, these methods are inhumane and painful for our dogs.
Additionally, it is based on debunked science. It came from a well-meaning but tragically misguided study done by a single researcher in the 1940s. The study observed an unnatural pack of wolves forced to live together in captivity. They were not related and did not choose to live together. This led to some behaviors that simply aren’t seen in a natural wolf pack living in the wild. Fighting broke out in this pack leading the researcher to observe the “winners” which he then assigned as the alpha male and alpha female. His theory held that the alpha pair would dominate the pack for the rest of their lives or until age and weakness allowed another to take their place.
Natural wolf packs are family units composed of parent and child. The offspring are naturally subordinate to the parents and younger siblings to the older. They work together to survive as a pack as a tightly bonded unit. Many early subscribers to this theory have reversed their opinions on Alpha Dog theory after further research revealed the truth.
Additionally, wolves are a separate species. Our dogs may have descended from them, but they are not wolves. Tens of thousands of years have domestication and tamed the wild. Still, this theory persists. I find it abhorrent and refuse to even consider it in my work.
Thankfully, new science and theories emerged in the 1980s. Researchers working with dogs at this time began to observe that they learned more easily with positive rewards. By leaving the painful or frightening warnings of Alpha Dog training in the past, dogs began to enjoy learning and great advances were made. Positive reinforcement is helpful and works in general terms yet it doesn’t cover life outside the training class or home training session. It leaves our dogs uncertain what to do in the off time. In the end, this approach often leads to failure in real world situations because it relies on frequent input from the owner.
Dogs learn to sit, down, stay, and come. Some went on to learn rudimentary calmness with this method, but this theory fails to provide a dog friendly handbook on our human expectations. Left to make decisions without guidance, and they make thousands of decisions every day, some dogs strayed into troubling behaviors only to preform admirably in each and every training session. It simply didn’t go far enough.
The Concept Trainer
It’s a new era and new research has come to light. Concept Dog Training builds on the leaps forward of the encouragers and discards the advice of the punishers. Concept Dog Training is cutting edge and thousands of dogs around the globe are living their best life through this revolutionary method.
Concept Dog Trainers blend thoroughly vetted observations of human psychology with new research that focuses on the emotional state of dogs in various situations. It found that dogs are truly individuals. While older methods may have worked for some, many dogs were left behind to uncertain fates. We leave no dog behind.
Concept Dog Training also took from research that showed dogs have many commonalities with small children, and like children, dogs love to play. And play can be used to shape the brains of dogs, giving them powerful life lessons. The race was on to bring this exciting approach to the public and Games Based Training was born. Yet it it took a clever and skilled team to pull it all together into a carefully honed theory with cleverly designed games which were then vetted by thousands of eager dog owners around the world. With a foot firmly planted in current science and another in endless creativity, Certified Concept Dog Trainers use their super powers of observation to choose the games that most benefit your dog.
Obviously, I’m biased, but that’s because I’ve tried them all. The methods of the punisher repel me. The methods of the encourager helped me establish basic behaviors in dogs that were already quite adept at fitting in yet it left at least 2 of my dogs behind. Concept Dog Training skyrocketed forward to make training simple, fun, and solutions oriented. My Tasha has not been left behind. If it worked for her troubled mind, it will work for your dog, too.
Time to Choose
What do you want for your dog? Can you look yourself in the mirror after sending a jolt of electricity directly into the neck of your 7 pound Pomeranian because she barked? Do you wish to constantly be giving cues which request behaviors yet offer no lasting guidance to your dog, or would you rather your dog simply know what to do?
If you feel as I do, the choice is clear. You brought your dog into your home for a reason. Most people would say they longed for a companion who would fit seamlessly into the home. Concept Dog Training can bring that dream into reality through games. Imagine a dog that suddenly understands your world, and you understand him! You can easily access our games online, and I encourage you to play a few to see how they might help your dog, but only a Certified Concept Dog Trainer who has undergone the rigorous training under the hands on guidance of Absolute Dogs can put it all together to give your dog the coping skills they most need to live their best life.
Want to learn more? Hop on over to the Contact page and drop me a line. Tell me about your dog, whether he currently has behavioral issues or not because trust me; There’s A Game for That!
You might be thinking that Concept Training will require lots of tools, but you might be pleased to know that there is very little needed that isn't already in your home. And in fact, you will no longer need one thing you probably use every day.
Here's your shopping list:
1. Your Dog's normal food
3. Collar or Halter
4. 2 Dog Toys (use what you have)
5. An open mind
That's it. This is all you need to get started. Later, you might want to use a crate or puppy pen, but all you really need is a place in your home where your dog can chill out and relax.
Some games use items that pass through your home like empty water bottles and soup ladles. We believe in creativity over purchases.
So what's the item that you use every day, but will no longer be needed? The Food Bowl.
Every day you pour tons of value into that bowl when you could be pouring that same value into your relationship with your dog. I can show you how easy and rewarding that is.
Optimism doesn't come naturally to all dogs, or humans for that matter, but it is perhaps the most valuable gift we can give our dogs. Optimism, as in choosing to see novelty in the environment as something positive helps dogs cope with our complex and unnatural society. With Optimism dogs learn that often the best response is NO Response. Backfiring cars, kids on skateboards, other dogs, thunder, they can learn to look at all these things and more with a Positive and Optimistic spin.
Have you even seen a dog that seems to overact to everything? "He doesn't like change," his owners say, or "I can't do that. He has a set routine." The problem is that this thinking builds a pessimistic attitude. Dogs learn to see new things (novelty) as something to be worried about if not outright frightened of. And as we have already discussed, seeing things from worry or fear often leads to bad behavior choices.
Novelty is everywhere. And limitless. We can't possibly expose our dogs to everything that will enter their space for a lifetime. This is the trouble with traditional puppy socialization. How can you remember to expose your puppy to a man with an enormous hat and feather boa, riding a bike in the snow while singing at the top of his lungs? (this actually happened to me) Instead, we teach the concept of Optimism to our dogs regardless of age. It's never too late to learn to see life Optimistically. Dogs are great adapters and they can change even into old age.
All dogs are sensitive to change in their surroundings. Their senses make them superior observers of the world around them. They notice the wind and the scent is carries, the trees and birds perched in the branches, the ground and everything scattered across it. If we can transform them into Optimists, they accept pretty much anything that comes their way as something either positive or nothing to be worried about.
How do we do that? Well, we have a game for that.
Rebecca Porter has been fascinated by dogs for decades, but it took a frantic mixed breed to send her on a journey into innovative and real life solutions in dog training.