How Do We Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety is a phobia- a fear of being left alone. To treat dogs who are suffering, we use the process of desensitization to gradually help dogs be comfortable when left alone. By gradually helping dogs become more comfortable and achieve alone-time success, we work to overcome triggers and fears through detailed training plans that ensure the dog always stays below his/her fear threshold.
Separation anxiety can occur for a number of reasons. Some dogs are more prone to fear and general anxiety issues, scary, unexpected experiences when left alone, such as storms, thunder, fireworks or construction noises. Other influences may have been due to moving, changes in the family structure or dynamic (including loss of a family member or divorce), traumatic experiences (such as being attacked by another dog, or being hit by a car), or even absences that we consider normal, but are simply too long for the dog.
Given that we have access to thorough, scientifically-based information online, guardians still can be mislead to believe that dogs who pee, defecate, bark incessantly or ruin things do so because they’re angry and being spiteful towards you about being left alone. It’s an understandable and tempting explanation, and unfortunately has been passed off as good information for a very long time, but it just isn’t so. Dogs do not have the same cognitive abilities that we humans do. Understanding this, and adjusting our approach can actually help us achieve alone time success.
Roughly 17% of the 89.7 million dogs in the US alone suffer with separation anxiety. Given this statistic, it’s easy to see that this is a debilitating disorder. That’s why we are committed to getting the best information into the hands of the people that need it. We’re here to provide resources to help you be successful in overcoming the anxiety, fear and panic that not only your dog experiences, but you likely do as well.
For now, remember this:
Your dog isn’t angry with you for leaving or behaving out of spite when he scratches at the door, vocalizes, defecates or urinates: he’s actually truly terrified of being left alone. He has no control over this and he cannot fix it on his own.
About ‘Mission: Possible’ Course
Separation Anxiety- Mission: Possible is designed as a do-it-yourself protocol for overcoming your dog’s separation anxiety. The course is presented as lessons to help you gain a deeper understanding, not only of the disorder but of its treatment.
Within this course, you’ll learn about:
- The process of desensitization and why this is the gold standard for separation anxiety treatment.
- The importance of understanding your dog’s threshold, why we can never go above it and how to work below it.
- The importance of managing and suspending absences and how getting creative with solutions can be crucial towards alone-time success.
- How to assess your dog and how to use our step-by-step manual to begin working through the process.
- Information on medications and how they are used in the treatment of separation anxiety from a veterinarian with a special interest in behavior.
Additional key elements included:
- Interview with a CSAT (who is also a Psychologist!) explaining desensitization
- Interviews with guardians who have gone through separation anxiety training
- Interview with a Vet
- Sample videos of dogs being assessed
- A 30-page step-by-step manual to follow containing sample pages to provide guidance
- Discussion questions and the ability to speak among course peers
- Additional support option at a discounted price (outlined below)
- Pages of content outlining the most important topics that will guide you through, written by Malena DeMartini
Requirements for you to take this course:
- You are a guardian of a dog that is suffering from separation anxiety or at the very least you’re someone that wants to give support to others that are in that situation.
- You have a beginner understanding and empathy of the fact that your dog is experiencing an extremely difficult panic disorder. In understanding this you will agree that we are not going to ever use any training methods that involve fear, intimidation, punishment or anything that is perceived as scary or aversive to your dog.
- You agree to the fact that you will not ever leave your dog alone (outside of training exercises) throughout your protocol – this is crucial. Note: It doesn’t have to be you that is with your dog personally. Friends or family or other creative options will do. If this feels daunting to you, please don’t despair and read this management blog and this alone-time alternative blog to learn more. Additionally, considering moving forward in our online program to be able to gain the absolute complete picture from this course and you can start working on managing your dog’s schedule as you are learning.
- You have some time to devote to regular separation anxiety training (approximately 20-30 minutes, 5 days a week, is suggested).
- You have a considerable amount of patience in knowing that the pace of this program is slow and can only move forward at your dog’s pace as opposed to your personal preconceived or externally imposed deadline
A Look Inside: Interview with Veterinarian, Dr. Lynn Honeckman
Dr. Lynn Honeckman runs Veterinary Behavior Solutions in Orlando, FL. She is well-versed in the use of medications for the treatment of anxiety disorders in dogs and we’re so thrilled to have her add her expertise here in the course.
Hear What Our Participants Have to Say
As someone who has worked through the separation anxiety protocol one-on-one with a CSAT to successfully treat my dog’s SA, and having had the privilege of reviewing this online course in it’s entirety, I highly recommend this course to any guardian whose dog suffers from SA. The protocol in this course will give you everything you need to move forward with treating SA.”– Christy Smith
Additional Support Option at Special Pricing (For Course Participants Only)
‘Mission: Possible’ Course – $99
Below is an ADDITIONAL option, should you decide that you’d like more hands-on support from our Certified Separation Anxiety Trainers. You may decide you want this before beginning your training, or during the process of working with your dog. Either way, please know we are here to provide you with support at any point. The additional option is described in detail below.
Full 4 Week Protocol:
For course registrants only.
Special discounted price.
For more details, please contact us here.
This 5 day a week support option includes:
A weekly online video assessment with you and your dog.
Individualized written Missions created based on client’s daily written observations.
Continued cheerleading and coaching in our unique shared document.
Personalized support and scheduling based on your unique needs.
Feedback specific to you and your dog.
Please note: that as with any behavior modification program, we cannot guarantee results. This is simply due to the fact that we can never guarantee the behavior of another living being. The most we can do is provide solid instruction and a roadmap which is what this course endeavors to do. In addition to the factors surrounding each individual dog, there are lifestyle considerations, compliance with the training plan and some confounding factors that affect success, such as noise sensitivities, general anxiety, medical conditions and other phobias.
Additionally, it is worth stating that this course may not be appropriate for all dogs and guardians dealing with separation anxiety. It is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care, medical rule-outs or the services of a veterinary behaviorist. Some guardians may need more day-by-day instruction and guidance than we can offer in an online course, which is why we have chosen to offer additional support options at special rates for those who have registered for the course. We cannot offer refunds due to the proprietary nature of the information contained within the course.
We welcome dog trainers to participate in this course, but it does not serve as a replacement for the Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT) program and does not indicate having studied under Malena DeMartini.