Dogs that struggle being left home alone can learn to be comfortable if the process is done at their pace. The pace to start is generally very slow. The pace may speed up, but there are lots of ups and downs. What are ups and downs? If you’re looking at it on a chart, the ups would be successfully staying home alone without anxiety and the downs would be displaying signs of anxiety. Sometimes what causes the downs is obvious, but most of the time they come out of the blue and there is no telling why. When there is an up one day, the time for the next day is slightly increased. When there is a down, the time for the next day is decreased.
Sometimes what causes the downs is obvious, but most of the time they come out of the blue and there is no telling why.
This is what we call going at your dog’s pace. Doing so helps ensure that progress is being made as quickly as possible. Sticking to it allows your dog to trust the process. It’s very easy for it all to fall apart if your dog is starting to get comfortable and then all of the sudden he is left home alone for a lot longer than he is ready for. This is going to cause your dog a ton of anxiety and it’s going to come back to bite you in the future. The process that your dog learned to trust is now unpredictable and you’re going to have a lot of catching up to do. What happens if you accidentally push your dog too far?
When doing the separation anxiety training, we’re always trying to push our dogs a tiny bit at a time. Sometimes the increase is more than they can handle and it results in showing signs of anxiety. If it happens, it’s our job to come back right away. Doing so stops the anxiety as quickly as possible, which is extremely important. When this happens, the next day we make it slightly easier to set him up to succeed.
Sometimes the increase is more than they can handle and it results in showing signs of anxiety.
If something out of the blue happens though and you accidentally go way too far, there are some different options. 1. Take a couple days off 2. Practice the initial steps of helping ensure that the door is boring 3. Drop way back and do some very short departures As long as you work at your dog’s pace, you’ll slowly increase the time that your dog will be home for and before you know it, you’ll be able to run errands or go out for a meal! This process takes a lot of patience but can also be very rewarding throughout.