Your dog is struggling to be home alone. You’ve reached out to a certified separation anxiety trainer (CSAT) and now understand what training will look like. You’re able to commit to suspending absences while training, you’re committed to completing the daily training plans and are excited to get started.
You understand that systematic desensitization is the gold standard protocol for helping dogs overcome their fear of being alone. On paper, it sounds simple. Your CSAT will guide you through the process of exposing your dog to periods of time being alone that don’t elicit a fear response, and gradually build to longer and longer amounts of time that they are comfortable being alone.
The Million Dollar Question.
So naturally, the next question you have is “So how long will this take?”.
And here lies the two words every good dog trainer and CSAT will find themselves saying:
It depends on how your dog responds to the process of desensitization. If they show signs of stress, we back up. If they are showing comfort, we move forward. And so the dance goes. We toggle between shorter and longer durations while slowly and thoughtfully increasing your dog’s threshold (ie how long they are comfortable being home alone).
If we were to follow a set timeline, we wouldn’t be taking into account how your dog is responding to the training. Rather than desensitizing your dog, we would most likely be sensitizing them. Yikes! This is why I simply cannot give you a specific timeline, as our training is 100% based on how your dog shows us they are feeling during the training process.
It’s so important to remember that every dog is a unique individual, and as Dr. Susan Freidman reminds us, they are all a study of one. Your dog’s journey to overcoming separation anxiety is unique and won’t look like anyone else’s.
So rather than focus on a specific timeline, I suggest you go into this training committed for the long term. Be prepared to do this training for the next six months, twelve months or more. If you reach your goals sooner, I’ll be right there to celebrate with you. If your dog needs more time, I’ll still be right there, celebrating small wins along the way and cheerleading you through this training journey.
So remember, your dog is an individual. A study of one. We must honour how your dog feels throughout the process, and allow them to dictate the pace we take to help them overcome their separation anxiety.
While I can’t provide a specific timeline, I can help you help your dog, and regain your freedom!
Ready to get started? Book a FREE 30-minute discovery call with me today. I can’t wait to help!