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  • 1. How long will the training take?
    Separation anxiety training is different from many other types of dog training. Why? Because unlike standard obedience or trick training, we are looking to change a dog’s emotional response to being alone. With any type of behaviour modification there are no shortcuts or guarantees, and every dog is different. However, this training model has a very high resolution rate, and you can affect the speed of your progress through consistency and your commitment to the training protocol. Most people will see a considerable improvement within 6-12 months, whilst others are able to work through it a bit more quickly. Every dog is an individual, and it is worth noting that the severity of the condition doesn’t necessarily dictate the speed of recovery. Due to the nature of the training process, I do not offer one off training sessions and require you to work with me for a minimum of 4 weeks. Upon the completion of any of my training packages, you will have a good understanding of what is required for you and your dog to overcome separation anxiety and should be able to carry on with the training by yourself.
  • 2. Why is Separation Anxiety Training done online?
    In order for your dog to overcome separation anxiety, we use a form of gentle exposure therapy called desensitisation, where we very gradually introduce the dog to being alone without going over his or her anxiety threshold, therefore slowly teaching the dog that being home alone is safe and that you, the owner, will always come back. During our video lessons, part of the training includes simple absence training exercises where I ask you to leave the room or house whilst I observe your dog’s reaction over video to ensure that your dog doesn’t get stressed, and to help you interpret your dog’s body language. I simply cannot conduct this type of absence training whilst being present. There are other benefits to using my online method as well. To name a few, you can train in your own familiar surroundings, and we are not adding any unwanted or unnecessary stress to yourself or the dog, such as a stranger coming into your home. As part of the service, I provide personalised online training plans and support via WhatsApp in between sessions. You will be sent a recording of all our video calls which means that you can rewatch the lessons as many times as you want. As the training is done via remote video sessions, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world - I can help you!
  • 3. Can't I just use a bark collar?
    When your neighbours are complaining and your landlord is sending you letters or even threatens to evict you, a bark collar might seem like a good idea. I highly discourage the use of these collars. Whilst they may suppress barking temporarily, permanently or not at all, they will most definitely make things worse for your dog and will increase your dog’s anxiety dramatically. Remember, separation anxiety is a panic disorder- hence the desperate and persistent barking, crying and howling. If your dog goes into meltdown every time you leave the house, then your dog needs and deserves professional help. The SA Pro Trainer method I am using will stop the barking and howling without causing your dog unessecary fear or stress, or further adding to the predicament in any other way.
  • 4. I read online that I should give my dog a tasty chew when I go out to stop the anxiety, however this doesn’t seem to work for my dog?"
    I do not use food as part of my separation anxiety training protocol. Whilst food is generally a great training aid, I simply believe that it doesn’t work for separation anxiety. Dogs learn through associations and consequences, and will quickly learn to associate the preparation of a tasty chew or remote food dispenser with you leaving. Whilst some dogs will still eat when they are fearful, many won’t. With the dogs who are still eating when anxious, the fear will usually kick in as soon as they have finished whatever tasty treat you have left them with, meaning that the food merely acts as a distraction or a 20 minute management tool , without actually training the dog to tolerate home alone time or changing their emotional response to you leaving. On a side note, if you leave your dog with vast amounts of food, they may then need the toilet too, only adding to their stress. Most importantly, when your dog is fearful of being home alone, they don’t want food - they want you. With my training method, we are teaching the dog that being home alone is safe and nothing to worry about, and that you will always come back. This will enable the dog to settle without food, special collars or any expensive gimmicks.
  • 5. A friend told me to put on the television or play some music whilst I am out to stop my dog from feeling anxious and alone. Would that help?
    It very much depends on the dog. If the dog suffers with separation anxiety, it most probably won’t work. However, a dog who barks whilst the owner is out isn’t necessarily anxious. Some dogs may be “watchdog barking”, or they may be set off by outside noises or movement, such as for example a motorbike going past. If your dog is reacting to outside triggers, then blocking out the noise with the radio or television or moving the dog to a quieter room can often help, or even solve the problem. When we start working together, I can help you establish whether your dog is actually fearful or frustrated - it is worth noting though that fear and frustration are not always mutually exclusive. Either way, I will help you work through the whole spectrum of separation related behaviours with a training plan personalised to you and your dog.
  • 6. Should I use a crate for absences?
    This will depend on your dog and a variety of factors such as the dog’s age and what the dog is used to. The majority of dogs with separation anxiety do much better without a crate, whilst some dogs seem to be happier when crated. Either way, it has to be said that crate training, correctly done, has many benefits. Crates are important for travelling in a car, staying at hotels and waiting at dog shows, field trials and other events. If your dog ever has to stay at a vets overnight or gets injured and requires crate rest, having a dog that is already comfortable being crated will help enormously. Crates are also great for keeping young puppies safe whilst being unable to observe them, and for allowing them to settle and get sufficient rest. During our training, we will observe your dog’s body language to find the best possible solution for him or her. It goes without saying that dogs should never be crated without being crate trained first, and this is something I can also help you with if you wish. Fearful dogs will sometimes try to escape from crates when left alone, often injuring themselves in the process which can be dangerous. I highly discourage the use of so called “indestructible crates.” If the crate didn’t break, the dog most certainly did. If you are worried about your dog being destructive or toileting in the house whilst you are out, I can assure you that even those dogs can do great without being crated - I’ll show you how.
  • 7. Is my dog barking because he is angry that I left him?
    Absolutely not. Whilst dogs are highly intelligent animals, they haven’t got the same cognitive makeup as humans and do not have the ability to plot against us and experience or express anger and resentment in the same way we do. If your dog is barking and howling desperately and persistently whilst you are out, your dog is most likely terrified of being left alone.
  • 8. My friends and family tell me to stop spoiling my dog and to just leave the dog barking and crying, saying the dog will get used to being alone that way - will that work?"
    The answer is: most likely it will probably make matters a lot worse. If you expose an already scared dog to a fearful experience at a high intensity over and over again, there is a good chance that your dog will become more and more anxious over time and might even become hyper vigilant whilst you are at home, constantly watching out for clues which may predict that you are about to leave, and never being able to fully relax. In humans, the theory behind this technique is that someone being exposed to a fearful stimulus at a very high intensity could rationalise what had happened after the scary experience, and conclude that there indeed wasn’t that much to worry about. However, as far as we currently know dogs do not have the ability to do this which is another reason not to attempt this method. Also, when using this technique with people, we would be able to explain what is about to happen to them and get their permission to go ahead, whilst in dogs this wouldn’t be an option, therefore making it very unfair. Friends and family most likely mean well and want to help, however it is important to follow the advice of a qualified professional instead so that you can make things better, not worse. Your family and friends are right when they say that the dog needs to get used to being alone, but we need to teach this step by step rather than overwhelming the dog.
  • 9. I read that I won’t be able to leave my dog alone when we start training, how is that even possible?"
    If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and panics as soon as you walk out of the door then yes, you will temporarily have to suspend absences altogether. Whilst this might seem impossible or even ridiculous to start with, many owners very quickly become experts at managing absences. In addition, I have got many ideas and tools which you will be able to use in order to achieve this, and together we will come up with a management plan that can work for you. If this seems overwhelming, it is worth remembering that suspending absences is only temporary, but it will be necessary in the initial stages of training in order to break the toxic cycle of fear and stress, so that we can teach your dog that being home alone is safe, one baby step at the time. However suspending absences is not necessary with every dog, some dogs can be left for short periods and we will work towards longer durations as soon as we can.
  • 10. Would it help to get a second dog to keep my dog company?
    More often than not a second dog actually won’t help, and may even add to the problem. If you were thinking of getting a second dog anyway, we can discuss the pros and cons together, making sure that you don’t end up with additional issues.


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