Koda: Separation Anxiety Case Study by Queens New York Dog Trainer Blog
Here at Excelsior Dog Training, I get a lot of calls about separation anxiety. It’s a serious behavioral issue that many owners are boggled by, and are at a loss on what to do about it. Many times, the owner is calling me because the dog’s separation anxiety has reached a point of being uncontrollable and where it’s causing serious problems, such as causing tension with neighbors, resulting in destroyed furniture, some cases of escaping, and even some potty accidents inside the home.
My most recent call and separation anxiety case was regarding a dog named Koda. She is a sweet pup and overall well-behaved, but her anxiety levels were toppling. Her owner Maria was prompted to seek out professional help for Koda after her incessant barking had her apartment neighbors calling to complain, leading to warnings of potential eviction.
Separation anxiety may seem like a tricky behavior problem to combat, but it’s not rocket science. The first thing to consider is what is actually causing the separation anxiety. Of course it’s the absence of the owner, but WHY is this making the dog act out? The typical answer to this is that the dog is lacking confidence. Many people think that their dog has separation anxiety because their dog might have abandonment issues, due to a past of neglect or abuse. This is a possibility, but it could also just be as a simple as the dog never being exposed to the idea of being on their own, or that the dog is not shown the difference between appropriate behavior versus inappropriate behavior.
In Koda’s case, she was lacking several things: confidence, exercise, basic obedience/commands, and Maria just did not know how to communicate and be consistent with her dog. Once we stepped in, Maria learned how to set boundaries for Koda, while also setting her pup up for success. Maria got Koda on a consistent schedule with her feeding, potty times, and also exercise/play time. In this schedule, we also worked on building confidence for Koda by separating her from Maria, when both of them were at home. Through this, Maria was able to show Koda what was right and wrong, and also that it was not necessary to be so scared and uncomfortable in her absence.
Sometimes the answer is simple and right in front of us. With Koda and with many separation anxiety cases, the root problem is a lack of leadership and confidence. Once these are addressed, everything else will come into play, and the dog can learn to be independent and confident, even in their own isolation. With my professional dog training, dogs will not only become more secure, but owners will learn how to maintain a healthy balanced relationship between them and their beloved canine pal!
If you have a dog suffering from separation anxiety, don’t wait around for them to grow out of it on their own – they need your help! Call 800-649-7297 to discuss training and set up an initial consultation!