Neighbors complaining about all the barking?Tired of coming home to a chewed up house?Fido’s stress when you’re gone got you stressed out?Separation anxiety is a stressful and sometimes tragic condition for dog and owner.Our effective training solutions build Fido’s confidence so you can leave him home without worry or guilt.This message not only stresses the benefits of your services, it tells them that you understand and can help.By specializing, you give people a reason to call you over anyone else.Which means your business grows even faster.And don’t forget your fellow trainers.How to let all of these referral sources in on your specialty?Use community marketing projects that show off your expertise, such as creating a branded handout about separation anxiety.Do the same for dog daycares and dog walkers, who are often hired by owners tired of coming home to irate neighbors or chewed door frames.Write an article about separation anxiety for local publishing and/or distribute it among your fellow dog professionals.Chances are you have channels for delivering your new marketing message already in place.Armed with new tech tools and business strategies, treating separation anxiety can be a powerful niche for growing your training business.And for a dog trainer there is little else as satisfying as a resolved separation anxiety case.After all, we’re all in this game to keep dogs happily in their homes.Filled with wiggles and wags and desperate to jump up and shower them with kisses, Pumpkin was ready to go to her new home.It took some time, more than a few weeks, but eventually Pumpkin could be in another room in her crate for an hour or so and not whine.The problem was, this only got them as far as the other room.When it came to leaving Pumpkin alone in the house it was a completely different story.Pumpkin started barking and panting and putting up a huge fuss immediately.One time, she managed to pull a nearby curtain into her crate and destroyed it along with her bedding.The family tried ignoring her as they had done during crate training, but Pumpkin was experiencing a completely different level of distress and after just a few days, they knew they had to try something else.That’s when they called me.It was obvious Pumpkin had to start from the beginning.Fortunately, Pumpkin had a genuinely positive association with her crate.Many separation anxiety dogs are crate averse, but Pumpkin seemed to find comfort in her cozy crate so we stuck with that as her safe zone.We started by simply going to the front door, touching it and returning.This was easy for Pumpkin to handle, which is why we started there.In my eyes this was a triumph, but to the owners it felt like it took forever and they asked me repeatedly how this would ever turn into a real absence.Owners commonly feel this way, and it’s the trainer’s job to normalize the process, empathize, encourage the owners, and even try to make the whole repetitive business a little fun too.In week two, we added duration.Getting to five and ten seconds was easy, relatively speaking.Going beyond that proved challenging for Pumpkin.The owners were frustrated and started to have real doubts this method could work.I encouraged, counseled, explained the science, gave case studies, offered phone numbers of clients who had been through this before, and basically let them vent while keeping them on track.Painfully slowly, we made it to 30 seconds and then hit another plateau.This was week three, by which time the owners deserved a gold medal for their patience.We decided a trip to the vet was in order.We continued with the daily exercises, knowing it would take a while for the medication to take effect and begin to help.I explained to Eveline and Jen that it wasn’t uncommon to have a difficult start.Often we hit plateaus and then get a big jump in duration, and then later hit another plateau down the line.Sure enough, that’s what happened with Pumpkin.In the course of a few days we went from 30 seconds to five minutes, and everyone was thrilled.With renewed optimism and dedication, Eveline and Jen rolled their sleeves up and got to work on their longer exercises.Their goal was to get Pumpkin to the point where she could stay home for a few hours by midsummer.I personally don’t believe that, but I do think 30 minutes is a major milestone, so we were happy and celebrated the big breakthrough.At this point I told them they could start increasing duration in slightly larger increments of even five to seven minutes.They were thrilled and went off feeling like nothing could stop them.Of course, we hit our next plateau two weeks later at around 55 minutes.Plateaus like this are the hardest.The owners have seen such great success and finally feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and suddenly the dog seems to fall apart and their belief is shaken to its core.I jumped back in with encouragement, support, counseling, a review of how the process works, and did what I could to normalize the setback.The plateau was a big one and lasted several days, but we got through it and eventually moved forward again.In total, Pumpkin’s program lasted just about five months.At the end, she could be left alone for four to five hours until the dog walker showed up.Late in her program we had experimented with leaving the crate door ajar, thinking Pumpkin might want a little more freedom, particularly for that length of time.She did great with this and interestingly, while she would come out of her crate on occasion, she most often chose to return to her crate to rest.Pumpkin is a pretty typical case and I include it here so you can tell your clients with confidence that the first few weeks can be difficult and slow, plateaus are normal and long programs of several months are the rule, not the exception.Knowing this up front, they may get through any disappointment and frustration a little more easily.But stress does take its toll, and the gray was the outward mark of the internal anxiety that haunted Charlie’s life.Charlie was fortunate.He landed with a good rescue organization that in turn found him an amazing owner, Ken.Then Ken went to the grocery store.Already walking back up the street to his home, he could hear Charlie’s mournful wails.He returned to a scene of pure destruction.Ken contacted me that afternoon.He was completely enamored with Charlie, but he was also a pragmatic person.He knew he couldn’t keep Charlie if it meant never leaving him alone, and he didn’t have the time or resources to train Charlie.I told him the grim truth.There just isn’t a surplus of people who have the time, funds and patience to adopt a dog who can’t be left alone.Finding such a home can be next to impossible.Ken was an optimist, though, and he vowed to provide the best possible transition home for Charlie.Ken and Charlie’s many other supporters went to work in earnest, posting ads and putting up flyers, getting the word out to friends, family members and so on.A handful of amazing people came and went.A lovely woman in a retirement home fell in love with Charlie and almost adopted him, until her children stepped in and nixed the deal, saying it was too much responsibility.The woman was heartbroken, and even Charlie looked sad about that lost opportunity.Weeks turned into months.What little money Ken had was spent and now he was borrowing to make sure Charlie was taken care of.Walkers, daycare providers and trainers all did their best to pitch in.But Ken never lost faith, even when the rest of us began to wonder if Charlie would ever find a permanent home.The other employees all brought their dogs to work.She loved those dogs and wanted her own, and when she saw Charlie’s ad, she felt he was the one.Because everyone shared an office and the dogs and people were on site the entire time, Charlie would never be left alone.Ken interviewed the girl and did a site inspection, and he found the environment to be the friendliest and most loving he could have wished for.Charlie’s new owner promised Ken he could visit and take Charlie on outings now and again.So finally, Ken handed Charlie over, knowing he had played a crucial role in securing a happy existence for this special dog and, most likely, had saved his life.The moral of the story?Overcoming separation anxiety is tough, but finding a separation anxiety dog the right home may be even harder.This one had a happy ending, but that’s by no means always the case.Sweet and pretty as she was, her separation anxiety was wreaking havoc in her life.Her tremendous howling had put her owner into an almost comparable state of panic about what to do for her beloved dog.The owner’s job entailed working long hours, and although she was willing to do anything for Goody’s training, she was limited by the amount of time she could devote to it.Right away we decided Goody was an ideal candidate for pharmacological treatment.After blood tests and a thorough health exam, Goody’s vet started her on a moderate dose of Clomicalm.In the evenings, Goody’s owner used what little free time she had to work hard on Goody’s exercises.Her hope was that incorporating medication would make a big difference in the overall plan.But time passed without much improvement.Sure, we saw small changes, but they were so small we wondered if they amounted mostly to wishful interpretation.The one area where Goody measurably improved was in her ability to tolerate being in the car while her owner went into a grocery store or coffee shop.After a bit of time, the decision was made to switch Goody to a different medication, Buspar.Interestingly, we saw changes relatively quickly.Soon Goody tolerated brief afternoon absences between being dropped off by her dog walker and her owner returning home.This was encouraging.Goody still couldn’t bear to watch her owner leave, but at least she could handle a brief period at home without company, which told us she would eventually be able to tolerate more absences.We were getting somewhere.More time passed and again the decision was made to change Goody’s medication, this time placing her on Prozac.It took a while before we saw any improvement, but when it came it was significant.Within a month, Goody was able to rest happily in the car while her owner went out for an evening dinner with friends.We were even able to keep Goody happy by loading her up in the car, taking a drive around the block, returning home to the garage and parking securely inside where she slept safely and comfortably while her owner was able to have a social life during her rare free hours.Even better, Goody could now be left alone for the entire afternoon without any problems.Calm as a cucumber, her owner happily reported each time I inquired.Mornings were still hard for Goody, and desensitizing her to the sight of her owner leaving took time, but after another month on Prozac and further practice of her exercises, Goody was fine and could tolerate even the morning routine.Not every medication works in the same way for every dog, and you may have to experiment a little.But medications can make all the difference.Great to snuggle with and a champion kisser.But Mookie had separation anxiety from the first day her owners brought her home from the shelter.The owners worked hard from the outset to help Mookie [ get] a life free of anxiety and she saw minor improvements.The [ apparent] randomness was what stumped us, because separation anxiety is not an intermittent disorder.A dog doesn’t have panic attacks about being left alone some days, but then handle it well on other days.Given that her owner and I had managed to get Mookie to a place where she handled short absences without falling apart, why did she still experience such horrendous fluctuations?We only had one clue to go on.Like many separation anxiety dogs, Mookie was noise phobic, and we thought a type of noise might be the culprit.The question was which noise?After weeks of investigation we finally solved the puzzle.The neighbors had a team of gardeners come in once a week.For the most part, their equipment didn’t upset Mookie too badly, not even the blowers.But on days where the foreman didn’t come along, the gardeners turned cavalier about their job and, instead of watering certain beds by hand themselves, they would set up one of the sprinklers in the back.There, it would bang incessantly on the window just above Mookie’s confinement area.It was loud and it lasted for hours, and Mookie was terrified of it.On those days Mookie drooled, paced and destroyed everything in sight.She broke nails and tore her gums bloody.Once discovered, the sprinkler was never placed in that spot again and the extreme bouts of panic stopped.

トップ   編集 凍結 差分 バックアップ 添付 複製 名前変更 リロード   新規 一覧 単語検索 最終更新   ヘルプ   最終更新のRSS
Last-modified: 2022-01-19 (水) 01:15:39 (128d)