Section I: Introduction to the Course
Section II: Understanding Separation Anxiety
Section III: Preparing for Training
Section IV: Getting Started: The Initial Assessment
Section V: Executing the Mission – Week 1
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Mission Possible: FAQs

Mission POSSIBLE: FAQs

Before we provide some answers to a few of our most frequently asked questions about the course, I want to emphasize one crucial requirement for moving forward with your dog’s separation anxiety training – to make progress toward comfortable alone time, you agree not to leave your dog home alone outside of training while executing your protocol. Managing your dog’s alone time is vital to your success, and we will talk more about why in the course. This is not just a random request that I have arbitrarily implemented; it is a requirement for effective learning, and we have to remember that learning is lawful. We recognize that this is a big ask and may feel daunting, but please know that it does not need to be you who is always with your dog. Friends, family, pet sitters, and other creative management options will do. And remember, managing your dog’s alone time is a temporary requirement while you get through your training.

Resources:
You may find it helpful to read these two blog posts as you prepare to get started with training: Management Is Key, Crowdsourcing Alone-Time Alternatives and Problem-Solving the Puzzle of Alone Time Management.

Now to the FAQs! To learn more about the course and read my answers to the most common FAQs, click on each of the questions below.

This course is designed to allow people to build a Do-It-Yourself separation anxiety protocol. We recognize that not everyone is able to work through a hands-on protocol with a CSAT (Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer) and that some people don’t need as much assistance as is provided by working with a trainer. My book, Separation Anxiety in Dogs: Next Generation Treatment Protocols and Practices, published in 2020, was written to help more trainers understand the process, and this course aims to help guardians gain an understanding and be able to begin the treatment process on their own.

Similar to the above, there are a number of factors that influence success. Unfortunately, many dog guardians have attempted to create behavior change via free tips and tricks on the internet. This is something the dog training industry needs to take responsibility for, and so I offer you my apologies for an industry that hasn’t always been the best at disseminating information. 

That said, while I cannot guarantee that the course will work for you, I can guarantee you that we have worked very hard to make sure that we are imparting good information to you that you can use with your dog. I will also be very honest with you and tell you that your commitment to the process is important. Skipping sections, pushing your dog too fast, too soon, and not following the advice of your veterinarian in regard to medications (for medical or behavioral issues) can definitely negatively impact your ability to move forward successfully.

You are not alone in this course, as many guardians worldwide have, or are currently, doing this training with their dog. The success realized in this course for so many dogs is impressive, and we look forward to adding your success to that mix!

Though the course is meant to provide people with the tools they need to build a DIY protocol, we have built in areas for your questions and comments should you need some one-on-one attention. Please know that the discussion forums are meant to serve as places of support and cheerleading rather than direct training advice specific to your dog. While we can’t give specific case advice, myself and other CSATs are here to respond to your clarification questions and concerns and are here to support you as you go through your training.

Working with a CSAT is a considerably more intensive process that digs more into the specifics of each individual dog and client. The level of support within this course is broader, and individuals taking this course will be responsible for building their own protocols and defining the nuances of their own lifestyle, needs, and limitations on their own. CSATs often function not only as trainers but also as coaches, counselors, and accountability partners to their individual clients as they work through protocols, and do so at a level that simply cannot be done in a self-paced online course.

CSATs are highly skilled trainers who have undergone an intensive program in order to be able to work very closely with their clients each and every step of the way. If you decide that you need more help with this than an online course can offer, CSATs are available. You can reach out to us for support from a CSAT anytime using this form: 

Mission Possible Contact Form

Dogs, just like humans, are multi-faceted beings. And just like us, sometimes they come with more than one issue! Underlying medical issues can affect success, and this is part of why we recommend consulting with your veterinarian. Other issues that may confound success are sound sensitivities, general anxiety issues, and other fears and phobias, for instance, dogs who have issues meeting new people (strangers). You can embark on a separation anxiety protocol and make progress even when there are other influencing factors but do know careful attention to all your dog’s behavioral needs will be important.

Much as was mentioned in a few previous answers, we have to remember that each and every dog is a unique individual, as is the depth of the anxiety that they experience. I wish we could give a time estimate as to how long any given dog might take to improve, but truly, we’d be making wild guesses if we did so. Likely, the best answer I can give to this question is to ask you to think in terms of months, not weeks. The training is likely to take longer than you wish it would, though not as long as you’re afraid it might. I’d like to suggest that you not focus on the time frame or put deadlines on you or your dog, but instead, go through the protocol by celebrating the many little victories that you will accomplish along the way. Small steps yield little milestones, and those milestones add up!

In behavior, we simply cannot guarantee change. While we can influence behavior change, it would be unethical for us (or any training program) to guarantee that change. There are many factors that may be involved that are simply out of our control, some that are directly related to the dog (medical or other issues) and some related to outside factors, such as compliance with the protocol and our inability to be a fly on the wall for each experience the dog has.

Please note that along the same lines, we cannot offer refunds, as learners will come to this course with different skill sets, levels of commitment, and varying abilities to proceed at a pace that works for them and their dog.

What we can guarantee is that we will be here cheerleading from the sidelines and supporting you as you continue to progress in your training!

Yes, absolutely. CSATs are very dedicated to their work, and we’d be thrilled to have you work with someone you have already spoken with should you need more support.

No. While we wholeheartedly welcome trainers to take this course to gain a bit more knowledge about separation anxiety, this course is not meant to be a substitute for our intensive Separation Anxiety Certification Program. CSATs have earned their credentials by completing our rigorous program and are the only trainers eligible to say that they have studied under me. As a dog trainer, you may get bitten by the separation anxiety bug when going through this course, and if you do, we welcome you to apply to our professional program! To learn more about our Separation Anxiety Certification Program, click here.

I have created a series of shareable graphics that will be posted to social media on the Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs page. This is the only information from this course to be used for public sharing. All information within this course is copyrighted by Malena DeMartini, Inc., 2024.

Additionally, once you are registered for the course, you can always pop back in if you need a brush up on something or aren’t able to get started immediately after registering. You have lifetime access to this material!

Bonus Listen: There IS Hope
We hope that you continue in this course to help your dog (and you) return to a normal life of both calm and freedom. I have a few words to share with you about the hope that exists when you work on a separation anxiety protocol. Please listen before you embark on this journey.

The most important thing to know is that there is hope for separation anxiety and that you are not alone. There are over 38 million pet dogs in the US alone that are suffering with this issue. Separation anxiety may be a slow process, but the success rate for resolution is profound when a careful and systematic approach is followed. Work in small increments, be patient, have tremendous empathy, and celebrate the small wins successes along the way. There will be many of them. Resolving separation anxiety is one of the most rewarding experiences and you will never look back with regret on the accomplishment.  

Success Story:
Overcoming separation anxiety IS possible; it can be done! Your journey to resolution, like that of Team Oso, will likely be full of ups and downs, yet so very worth it. The training approach that helped Oso learn that alone time can feel safe is the same one we guide you through in this course. Take a moment to read about Team Oso’s separation anxiety success in this blog post: Reasons to Celebrate: Oso’s Separation Anxiety Journey.

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