People frequently ask me if a dog can recover from separation anxiety. They understandably want to know if success is possible before committing time, money, and effort to the training process. Fortunately, the answer to the question is YES!
Smarty’s family could only leave him alone for a few minutes when they first started working with me. After that, panic set in. Smarty would get anxious when his family was leaving their home, and hyper/excited when they returned. Their apartment neighbors did not appreciate his howling while they were gone. So they reached out for help.
Training with Smarty
Over the course of 3 months, we slowly and methodically worked to help Smarty overcome his separation anxiety. I created exercises 4 days a week to help Smarty begin to feel comfortable being alone. We communicated daily via online notes, and met on Zoom once a week to go over their progress. I also conducted weekly live reassessments, watching Smarty on camera while they left home. I always let them know when to return before Smarty panicked.
We took our time, gradually increasing his alone time in small increments. By the end of training, Smarty was able to be left alone for over 4 hours, which was a great relief for his family. Success depends on this slow, methodical approach.
His dog-dad wrote, “We were skeptical at first that much could be done to alleviate his howling and distress when left alone. Thanks to Bob’s training, focus and methodical approach, we’re able to leave him alone for hours without worry.”
Success is possible
While “mileage may vary” in terms of how long it will take, I have successfully helped other families and their dogs overcome separation anxiety. You can read more of their stories on our Testimonials page.
Bob Ryder, CSAT, PMCT-4, CPDT-KA