Every time we leave our dog alone longer than they can handle, we cause the panic to increase during future absences.
I know that you could possibly still make some headway if you work on your dog’s separation anxiety in the evenings and on the weekends while working a full-time job, but that will take significantly longer and all the while, you’re still getting the noise complaints and the destructive behaviour.
This is where management comes in. This is often called “suspending absences” and it means that your dog is not left alone outside of our training sessions. This is a temporary measure until you’ve got this thing beat! It’s not forever. (It’s avoiding peanuts, preventing a reaction, if you want to use the previous example!)What does that look like? Generally, a combination of the following:
doggie daycare (if appropriate)
dog-share with neighbours/friends/family
take your dog to work (if appropriate)
work from home
If we can make this promise to our dog that we will not throw them in the shark tank every day, we will build their trust, lower their anxiety, and also relieve our OWN anxiety! What about those times I MUST leave my house?
Grocery shopping can be done online or tacked on to a time where the pet sitter can hang tight for an extra half hour. Social events can still be attended when you have that neighbour who loves dogs but doesn’t want the full-time commitment. There’s always a solution – we just have to get creative!Will the protocol work without management?
I’m going to be brutally honest with you. It’s not likely. If your dog is truly suffering from this devastating panic disorder, then any absences longer than they can handle will set them back significantly.
Remember: management is temporary as you work through this protocol – it’s not forever! Think about how much money you’ve spent replacing your door frames, baseboards, carpets, buying crates and gadgets that promise a quick-fix, the loss of income from having to come home early to appease your landlord or neighbours. The management costs might feel overwhelming, but consider it part of the investment in your success and your dog’s peace of mind, long-term.