A Hard Truth: Separation Anxiety Can Exact a Heavy Toll on Guardians

Hand adoring dog

One of my top goals is to spread hope about positive outcomes for dogs with separation anxiety. After working with many cases personally for many years and recently having witnessed the trainers I’ve trained be successful with their cases as well, I know that separation anxiety can be successfully resolved. Spreading this message of hope […]

Turning Off The Camera

Dog on camera selfie

Many sessions into our separation anxiety training to help Emma the Beagle cope with being alone, I felt like a prisoner. Driving away — really driving away, not driving somewhere to park and watch the video on my iPhone — was only possible if my husband or a pet sitter stayed with Ems. One morning […]

Separation Anxiety In Pet Owners

pet owners

Patricia McConnell had me at “separation anxiety.” But not in the way you might normally think. “I do indeed suffer from separation anxiety when I leave my dogs,” the renowned animal behaviorist and author said in her 2014 APDT conference keynote presentation. “I don’t know about you, but I’m already starting to stress lick,” she […]

The Exasperating Truth – Why Separation Anxiety Gets a Bad Rap

separation anxiety truth

For 14 years, I have specialized exclusively in separation anxiety and isolation distress, and in that time I have heard stories of great success and of heartbreaking failure. Something I often hear in the buzz around the metaphorical water cooler (the dog park, the beach, the trainers’ luncheons) is that separation anxiety is a disorder […]

Logic Doesn’t Apply to Separation Anxiety


There’s something symbolic about the remarkable rainstorm that is the backdrop of Ron and Dina as we talk on Skype; the two of them in Florida, me in California. I watch the exasperated faces of Hannah the Beagle’s guardians as they tell me how cruelly their beloved dog suffers when she’s left alone. It’s a […]

Finding the Facts and Getting Support


One of my jobs is to serve as the initial point of contact for Malena DeMartini and the other trainers. In this job, I walk prospective clients through what a separation anxiety protocol will look like, take some history and empathize, empathize, empathize. By and large, the people who inquire are people whose dogs have […]

Comfort Food — How Beneficial are Feeding Toys?

feeding toys

In my blog about Guinness the dog (“From Auspicious Beginnings to a Hard-Won Solution,” May 13, 2015), I mentioned the use of interactive feeding toys as part of working with separation anxiety — and it inspired a fair number of questions from readers. I’d like to expand a bit on the topic. Most how-to articles […]

How Serious Is It and Does It Matter?

dog clues of severity

In working with various dog behavior disorders, including separation anxiety, we often categorize the level of severity. We talk about bite severity scales, how much the dog jumps, what the lack of impulse control is, how often he is pulling. We even address the pace of the dog’s learning curve. As a culture, we are […]

From Auspicious Beginnings To A Hard-Won Solution

dog beginning training

My second client ever (circa 2001) was a separation anxiety case. The dog’s name was Guinness, like the beer, and his guardians had found him sickly and tattered, scavenging for food somewhere on a California back road. They rescued him, bought him lifesaving medical treatments and nursed him back to health. Guinness was, under all […]

Separation Anxiety: The Forgotten Stepchild We Can No Longer Ignore


This morning’s first new potential client is Sedona, and I ponder what the path to success will look like as I work with her and her guardian, Barbara. Sedona is a healthy 3-year-old Rottweiler-Labrador cross who has been in her home for six months. During that time, she has destroyed several crates. After Sedona broke […]