Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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The first thing that I help explain is the reason behind why most dogs are barking when they are left. There are so many approaches to solving barking but most of them do not go to the root cause of the problem. So if you are wondering how to stop your dogs barking when they are left at home alone then you have found the right place.
World-famous dog trainer and behaviorist, Doggy Dan, is also known as "The Online Dog Trainer". When finding a solution, keep in mind that as the dog’s trainer (or animal behaviorist), finding the function of the behavior is important. Harvey is the most friendly, stable and well-adjusted dog you could want to meet in every respect apart from his fear of being parted from the lady. It seems that it’s not so much a fear of being left alone itself as a fear of losing the lady. He will certainly sense her emotions when she has to leave him, never for more than two or three hours, and that will merely add to his distress because he can’t possibly realise the reason she herself feels anxious – and guilty.
For professional reasons, no free telephone advice offered to non-clients, people whose dogs I've not met. In some situations they can certainly help and are worth trying however I would recommend only in conjunction with the basic solution that I have put together. Using a calm and gentle method, his goal is to achieve harmony between people and dogs through understanding and training. For example, the Dog Silencer Pro detects barks and sends a high-pitched sound that only dogs can hear.
As a young dog he had been more or less abandoned, underfed and neglected, so it’s a big tribute to her care and love for him. Although he was very friendly with me, he became anxious within a few seconds when she walked out of the room and shut the door, as you can see on the left. The counter-conditioning, at the same time, should gradually have him feeling happy when left rather than distressed. Harvey can be left happily for about ten minutes now and went to my immediate neighbours for an hour with no fuss apart from barking at the front door briefly as I left and he was quite happy. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Harvey, which is why I don’t go into exact details here of our plan.
The higher the ranking, the more people will discover this calm and gentle method of dog training.


I have found that the people who succeed are those who stick at it until they do succeed for however long it takes – and don’t give up after giving it a try if things don’t show much improvement after just two or three weeks, as proved by another lady and her dog who I went to quite recently – read here. Finding instructions on the internet that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good.
Online reviewers report that some dogs learn to bark in tones and frequencies the collar does not detect.
Some dogs bark whenever they are exposed to novel or unusual stimuli whether they are sounds, sights or odors. The actual barking itself isn’t the problem (though it may be so for the neighbours). If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Get Help page).
Effective crate training techniques when your dog is first obtained should decrease the dog's anxiety when it is left alone in its crate (see our handout on 'Crate Training in Dogs'). Providing your dog with a consistent and predictable daily routine (see our handout on 'Training Dogs – Enrichment, Predictability and Scheduling') can help your dog to be calmer and more settled through the day. Also, by providing predictable consequences, you can insure that calm and quiet behavior is reinforced and that you never reinforce attention seeking behavior (which may escalate to barking).
When you obtain a new dog, having a second dog may greatly reduce distress vocalization at times when your dog cannot be with family members. If your dog's excessive barking problem has been going on for some time, he may be suffering from separation anxiety. However, the barking becomes problematic when it gets too loud, too frequent, or will not stop on command. In order to train the dog to quiet down on cue, you must find an effective means of quieting the dog, which should be preceded with a verbal command. Your dog will probably not understand what you want if you just loudly tell your pet to 'be quiet', especially if silence does not follow the verbal command.
In fact, yelling may just add to the noise, anxiety and conflict, thereby encouraging your dog to bark even more. One of the most practical techniques for teaching a dog to cease barking on command, is to teach barking on cue.
Numerous repetitions allow the dog to associate the word 'bark' or 'speak' with the action. Dogs that bark on command can then be taught to turn off the barking by removing the cue or stimulus, and giving a 'hush' or 'quiet' command just before the barking subsides.


It can be difficult or impractical to teach a dog to be 'quiet' on command if the barking cannot be predicted or 'turned on', or if it is too intense.
Another method to teach a "quiet" command is to wait until your dog is barking, for example in response to a doorbell. When the dog is quiet (which should happen because dogs cannot sniff and bark at the same time) you can praise your dog, say 'good quiet' and give the treat. Alternately, distraction or remote punishment devices (see below) can be used to disrupt the barking.
One of the most effective means of interrupting barking and ensuring quiet is a remote leash and head halter. A pull on the leash disrupts the dog and closes the mouth, which should also coincide with a verbal command such as 'quiet' or 'hush'. By first releasing the dog, and then giving a reinforcer such as praise or food if the dog remains quiet, you can reinforce the quiet behavior.
Soon the dog should associate the closed mouth and the verbal command with the absence of noise, and begin to stop barking when given the verbal prompt alone. However, in some cases, the household situation in which the dog resides may make it extremely difficult to correct completely or sufficiently.
Even a small amount of barking could disturb a sleeping baby or upset neighbors (particularly in apartments or townhouses). When trying to resolve barking problems, the motivation for the barking behavior is an important component. Excessive levels of punishment can increase anxiety and further aggravate many forms of barking, while mild punishment merely rewards the behavior by providing attention.
Surgical debarking is a drastic and often permanent method of decreasing the sound of the barking.
Devocalization may need to be considered when owners are confronted with the option of immediately resolving a barking problem or having to give up their pet. However, all attempts at behavior modification should be continued to try and address the underlying motivation for barking and perhaps result in a permanent solution.



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