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While separation anxiety in dogs is a uniquely complex type of anxiety, it's also all too common. The good news - with the right behavior modification guidance, there is hope!
That's why we brought together expert, separation anxiety-specialist advice and step-by-step treatment plans in this series of guides from Certified Separation Anxiety Trainers and Dogly Training Advocates to give you what you need to know to overcome separation anxiety and help your dog be comfortable and calm alone.
In these 9 guides on treating your dog's separation anxiety in the Anxiety Channel on Dogly, you'll learn:
Here's a quick look at each of the 9 step-by-step guides to help you support your dog and treat separation anxiety successfully...
Have you arrived home to find a half-eaten chair, rearranged furniture, or an accident in the house courtesy of your dog? Unhappy surprises when a pup has been home alone sends many pet parents in search of how to help their dog cope with "separation anxiety."
But is it actually separation anxiety or some other more common, easily solved issue behind your pup's behavior? In this guide, certified positive reinforcement trainer and Dogly Training Advocate Ayelet Berger explains why knowing the root cause matters and how to go about figuring out what's happening with your dog so you can help your pup get beyond it.
Pro tip: You'll learn how to use a camera and take notes on key timing and behaviors to make working with a certified trainer more effective.
You can jump into the full guide and accompanying video here to know whether or not your dog is experiencing true separation anxiety. If you've determined your dog's anxiety is rooted in something else, you can learn about other causes of anxiety in Understanding Your Dog's Anxiety in the Anxiety Channel.
Or, continue to learn about separation anxiety with a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer in the next 8 guides starting with why and how to use desensitization to support your dog...
"What do I need to do to make everything all right and keep my dog comfortable and maybe even relaxed when home alone?"
That's the question we always hear from anxious dog parents looking for solutions to stop separation anxiety from making their dog miserable at being alone.
In this guide and the accompanying video, force-free, Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer and Dogly Training Advocate Melissa Dallier gives you the answer: the gold standard for how to treat separation anxiety in dogs is gradual systematic desensitization training.
Melissa takes you through why desensitization has been proved to work uniquely well with dog separation anxiety and the steps to putting it to work with your dog.
Pro tip: Comfort is more important than duration during practice. Stay under threshold and keep your dog in the comfort zone - a key to forward progress!
Check out the full guide for the detailed how-to on managing separation anxiety with desensitization. Or, see ahead to what's next - important, useful background on understanding separation anxiety, its causes, signs, and what to do about it...
If you and your dog are struggling with your dog's separation anxiety despite your many best efforts, Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT) and Dogly Training Advocate Melissa Dallier is here to tell you that you are not alone. And with all that separation anxiety specialists know now, there is hope!
In this guide, Melissa gives you a deeper understanding of separation anxiety and the complex roots underlying your dog's emotion-driven behavior. All to equip you to make the most of the guides and exercises in this separation anxiety series to successfully treat your dog.
To get all the detail on understanding separation anxiety and helping your dog, you can jump into this full guide here. Or, continue to see what's next in this series - setting up your home base (and you and your dog) for success as you start your separation anxiety work...
As you begin to work on alleviating your dog's separation anxiety, how you set up your home can in turn set you and your pup up for a smoother route to success.
In this guide and the accompanying video, Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer and Dogly Advocate Melissa Dallier continues her series on helping your dog overcome separation anxiety with a look at your home environment. Melissa takes you step by step through how and why your home layout can support your dog and you in the process.
Bonus pro tip: Learn why Melissa does NOT use or recommend a food stuffed toy or puzzle toy for dogs with separation anxiety.
With each question, Melissa details what you can do based on your answers, tips to make everything as smooth as possible, and considerations to keep in mind (as in more complex instances such as crate training questions, for example).
Jump into the full guide on setting up your home environment. Or, continue on to see the exercises you can do with your dog to transform your coming and going from traumatic to boring...
In the next 4 guides, CSAT and Dogly Training Advocate Melissa takes you step by incremental step through a gradual systematic desensitization exercise you can do with your dog to make your coming and going a non-event for your dog.
In this first guide, you will begin using very simple moves that relate to your door and gradually removing the importance of your door and the signals leading up to it in your dog's mind.
If you're ready to dive into Part 1 of your separation anxiety training with your dog, you can find the full guide here. Or, take a look at what's next in Part 2...
Building on your desensitization exercise in Part 1 to make the door and your moves around it less connected to being left alone for your dog, this Part 2 guide begins to introduce pre-departure cues. In this case, we add putting on your shoes.
As in Part 1, you won't actually be leaving. You're getting your dog used to the idea that your actions around the door don't necessarily equal your leaving, gradually taking away its meaning and making it uninteresting for your dog.
You'll want to make sure your dog is comfortable with the steps in Part 1 before moving into this Part 2 guide.
If you're ready to get into Part 2 with your dog, you can see the full guide here. Or, take a look at what's coming next in your exercise sequence with Part 3 of making the door uninteresting to your pup...
Once your dog is totally comfortable with the first and second levels of this exercise to make your leaving a non-event, you can take your training to the next level in Part 3. In this guide, you'll be going through the steps of Part 1 & 2 and adding the step of actually going out the door and immediately coming back.
If you and your dog are ready to move into Part 3, you can see the full guide here. Or, continue on in the overviews to see what's next in Part 4...
If you and your dog have practiced Parts 1,2, & 3 of this desensitization training with no signs of separation anxiety stress from your dog, you're ready to level up a bit in this Part 4 guide.
Once again, Melissa guides you step by step as you build on your previous steps by introducing a bit of duration - increasing the time you stay outside the door to a couple seconds for now. With each step in this 4-part exercise series, you're helping your dog get used to the idea that the door and actions around it are no big deal.
Remember, this is a gradual process for very good reason. Savor the incremental wins with your dog - this is about getting your dog used to being alone for short periods of time as you build a sense of comfort and security over time from there.
If you and your pup are ready for Part 4, you'll find the full guide here. Or, continue to the final guide in this series - replacing the distracting myths around canine separation anxiety with the facts...
With so many myths and misconceptions about separation anxiety swirling around, it's hard for dog parents to sort out what's true and helpful for our dogs struggling to be alone comfortably.
That's why CSAT and Dogly Training Advocate Melissa wraps up this series by tackling 5 of the most harmful myths about separation anxiety and replaces them with the facts that can support your progress against separation anxiety.
5 myths many pet parents dealing with separation anxiety have heard disguised as advice - and the facts to know instead:
You can find the full guide here for all the details on these facts and how you can put this knowledge to good use in helping your dog. Or, if you haven't already jumped into the other 8 guides on separation anxiety in dogs, you can begin at the top with How to Tell If It's Actually Separation Anxiety and continue through the whole series including the exercises for working together with your pup on treating separation anxiety.
Now that you've got a solid base on how to treat separation anxiety in dogs, check out the rest of the step-by-step guides to help you and your dog in the Anxiety Channel if you haven't already: from How to Build Confidence in Your Fearful Dog to How to Get Ahead of Noise Anxiety (for all the dogs afraid of thunder, fireworks, or other stressful noises).
If you want to keep learning about how to help your anxious dog, you can continue in the Anxiety Channel to Separation Anxiety, Crate Anxiety, or Noise Sensitivity. Enjoy building your pup's confidence and comfort as you create a stronger bond with each other!
And if you need help, you can ask the Dogly Advocates in any channel or work with them one-on-one through Dogly.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this website and community is based on the research, expertise, and views of each respective author. Information here is not intended to replace your one-on-one relationship with your veterinarian, but as a sharing of information and knowledge to help arm dog parents to make more informed choices. We encourage you to make health care decisions based on your research and in partnership with your vet. In cases of distress, medical issues, or emergency, always consult your veterinarian.