If you’re the guardian of a dog who is experiencing home alone distress, you have my deepest sympathy. I know how hard it is to see the panic on your dog’s face when you grab your keys. I know how expensive can be to keep replacing all of the things that your dog has destroyed when left alone. And I know how stressful it can be to field the complaints from your neighbors about your dog’s continuous vocalizing when you’re gone. As it it weren’t enough that your dog is suffering, you are, too.
I’m sure you’ve done a ton of research on how to get your dog comfortable being home alone. You’ve likely implemented some of the advice you’ve received from well-meaning friends and family. And if you’re reading this, you’ve likely come to the conclusion that you need the help of a professional.
As you’re weighing your options, I want you to have a crystal clear picture of what it looks like to do a formal separation anxiety training protocol. The program is not a compilation of tips and tricks that might help; it is a systematic training program that has been proven to create lasting behaviour change. Sadly, there are no quick fixes in separation anxiety training. And any promises you’ve been given to the contrary are simply untrue.
Your dog needs 3 things to learn that being alone is safe:
- A commitment from you that you will stop leaving them alone for longer than they can handle
- A systematic desensitization program that exposes them to approximations of being alone that they can handle without any worry or distress
- The guidance of a professional while you implement these two strategies to ensure that you are meeting your dog’s needs and going at their pace throughout the whole experience. This could come in the form of free resources, such as The Believe in Your Dog or Home Alone podcasts, online courses such as Mission: Possible or Separation Anxiety Foundations, or a 1:1 program like I offer.
Let me walk you through what this looks like at Alpine Dogs.
What is a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer?
Separation anxiety is a complex behaviour issue. Many high-quality dog trainers and behaviour consultants refer out the separation anxiety cases that come their way because of the advanced and highly-specialized training it requires to successfully resolve cases. This one of the reasons I chose Malena DeMartini’s Separation Anxiety Training Certificate Program: it gave me the precise tools I need to effectively help dogs and guardians impacted by separation anxiety. A Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer brings this education and experience to the table.
Separation Anxiety training has always been done online for one key reason: Your dog needs to learn how to be comfortable home alone, not with a trainer in the room! We make smart use of video technology for all our our meetings and for monitoring how your dog is responding to training. This means that I can help you no matter where you are located across the globe.
The first step in the process is a FREE 30-minute Discovery Call. During this time, we will discuss your dog’s unique circumstances, what separation anxiety is and isn’t, why some dogs struggle being home alone, and give you a clear picture of how the training program works. You’ll be able to ask any questions you may have about the process, what to expect, and what you’ll need to commence training.
When we have determined that your dog would benefit from the training, we begin our journey. I will be very transparent here: We start with a 4-week training program, but we won’t have this resolved in 4 short weeks. Separation anxiety training is complex. To see lasting change, it’s best to think in terms of months versus weeks. I recommend an 8-week commitment of working together full-time. This will allow us to work through the many variables early on, as well as give you a strong foundation to build upon. From there, I offer many different tiers of support, from intensive work to handing over the reigns fully (with my there to help troubleshoot anytime).
There are 4 main elements of the program:
- 4 custom training plans per week: Once a day, you’ll take 20-30 minutes to complete your custom training plan, which consists of a series of specific steps. There’s no guesswork here; every detail (down to when to put on your shoes, the length of your departure, etc.) is all laid out for you. As you work through the steps, you will note what you observe your dog doing in our shared document. I will then review your dog’s progress and create the following day’s training plan based on that data. This allows me to see how your dog is responding to our training on a daily basis and make needed adjustments right away to ensure we are trending in the right direction. There are no cookie cutter approaches here; each training mission is custom-tailored based on your dog’s unique circumstances.
- Unlimited daily support: Because each dog is an individual, we need to look closely at all of individual factors that may be affecting your dog’s progress. This daily support is another way we customize the program to meet your dog’s very specific needs.
- 4 live online reassessments with you and your dog: Each week, we will meet and perform a live reassessment. This allows me to watch your dog on camera in real-time to see how they are doing and determine the next steps for training. I will also coach you on your observation and data-collection, which are critical skills for you to develop as you prepare to take the reins in your separation anxiety training journey.
- Data tracking: We use a robust Google sheet workbook specifically designed for separation anxiety work, and together we will track and analyze your dog’s performance both daily and over a longer period of time to establish trends. Progress is often not linear, but I have tools to help you see the big picture.
Separation anxiety training isn’t easy, but it is not insurmountable! With my guidance, you can get your life back and start to enjoy your dog again. Contact me today to learn more about how I can help you reach your goals.