Before you get started, we need to talk.
How long is your dog comfortable being left alone?
Oh! You can't answer that question with absolute certainty right now? I figured! We've been working away here, but now we need a little more data before we move forward.
It's time for a reassessment!
You might consider running an assessment once weekly to see how your dog is doing and if you can take bigger steps or if you need to step back.
When you have done this reassessment, you might find that your dog who has worked up to a relaxed 3min can actually handle 5min (for example) before showing signs of stress/distress. If that is the case, we can aim for 5min as the end goal in the next mission!
Remember that all dogs progress at different paces and there is no "right or wrong" - it simply is what it is. Train the dog you see in front of you, not the dog you think you have.
PREP for the assessment:
- First, set up your recording/monitoring equipment and test it
- Remove any stuffed food toys from the environment
- Leave water for them as usual
- Set your dog up in the most natural way - crated, confined, or loose in the home
RUN the assessment
Leave in the most natural way possible, locking the door behind you. Wherever you go, ensure that you can get back to your dog within 30-60 seconds if things go haywire! Don't drive away or take an elevator ride. Just go out of sight/earshot and away from the door so that your dog cannot smell you either.
Your timer starts from the second you close the door.