Separation Anxiety - Help your dog become independent and happy to be home alone

Separation Anxiety

It's so sad when your dog just focuses on the door because that's where they saw you leave.

Separation anxiety can be debilitating to dog and owner.

Most dog owners have no idea how stressful, frustrating, and limiting it is to have a dog you love but can’t leave home by itself.  

They don’t understand that you just can’t do the simple things they take for granted, such as popping out for a loaf of bread, or meeting friends for a coffee, or going to the gym.  Even worse, they really don’t get why you can’t go on holiday because you can’t leave your pup at the kennels!

And they’re full of well-intentioned, but ineffective advice. Things like: crate training, leaving them to cry / bark, essential oils, calming supplements and anti-bark collars. The less kind will tell you should just leave them – “they’ll get used to it”.

It’s tough. It can feel like it’s sucking the life out of you. It can be very isolating. It can damage relationships and your work may suffer.

I get it…

My own story - Alfie. 

My dogs bring me so much joy.  One of my dogs, Alfie, has always greeted me enthusiastically.  After covid, he started crying when I left him to go out, I thought he just needs some time to settle.  I thought, when I leave him, I'm sure he just goes to sleep.  Then my family told me that whenever I go out, he spends the time standing at the door, head cocked, whining.  And if he wasn't standing at the door, he'd be up on the sofa watching for me to return.  I also noticed he didn't eat when I was out. The kongs and bones I left were completely untouched.  

It took me a while to realise that this was not normal dog behaviour.  There were subtle signs like when I was getting ready to go out the door, to the shops or even the bins, he would start circling and whining.  Because Alfie wasn't too bothered when anyone else left the house, as a family, we worked with him, allowing him to see that I wasn't the only person he could have fun with.  

We also worked on gentle exposure with me leaving him and whilst he is better, he still finds it hard when I go out but we're getting there.  Popping to the shops or going out with friends for a meal is a reality!  

alfie in bed when he suffered from separation anxiety

Alfie clearly unhappy whilst we're packing the car for a trip, even though he's going with.

Here’s the most important thing you should know

Two out of every three dogs experience separation anxiety, and you’ve done absolutely nothing to cause it.

Read that again, and let it sink in…

You have done nothing to cause your dog’s separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is not a behaviour – it’s a phobia.  You might be afraid of spiders or heights. Why? Usually, it’s just there, it’s something you were born with!

So, all that well meaning advice you’ve been given will never work. It won’t treat a phobia.

Which is why the method I use is gentle exposure and changing the emotions that cause the dog to be so fearful at being left alone.

It's tough on owners when you can't do anything without planning.  Not even pop to the shop for the milk you've forgotten!

Even popping outside to put the bins out needs to be planned and it can really affect your life and your relationships.

Will this work for me?

Let me upfront.

What I’m going to ask you to do is simple, straightforward and effective BUT it is a substantial investment of money, time and effort.

Having said that, imagine the relief and freedom of being able to nip out for that loaf of bread, or go for a coffee with friends without worrying or planning for someone to look after your pup.

As you progress, you’ll also remove the need for doggy daycare or doggy visitors, saving you a small fortune over your pooch’s lifetime.

Before I tell you about the programmes, let me tell you about Polly…

My own story - Polly. 

We 'inherited' Polly in December 2021.  Her original owners had planned to work different shifts but ended up working the same shifts and they couldn't be at home with her.  So, at 5 months old, she was spending up to 8 hours a day locked in a crate in their garage.  We were looking for a puppy and this seemed the perfect fit for us.

To be honest, I suspected that Polly had separation anxiety when we took her on but I thought, I couldn't be that unlucky!  But we were!  Polly came to us and it was immediately evident that she had several OCD behaviours such as chasing shadows.

When we go out, she sits at the door and, since we got our camera, we have caught her howling regularly.  When we get home, she is panting and drooling and is over-excited to see us, often jumping into our arms (which is quite sweet but not healthy).

We have started working with Polly.  Unfortunately, Polly is anxious and fearful when she is left alone, so its not just one person that she's attached to.  We have started gentle exposure with Polly now and whilst we're in it for the long haul and we wouldn't change her for the world, we know that Polly may take a lot longer than Alfie.  

Gentle exposure takes a lot of effort and consistent training, but the method I use works and we are seeing improvements each week.  We are now able to leave Polly by herself for long enough to go out for a meal  or shopping.  We're not up to long periods but we will get there.

Two very needy dogs!

A very needy Polly leaning on Alfie for support.

Next Steps

Now, if you want to change your life and have a relaxed, content, happy dog you can leave home alone, then I have two programmes for you.

To be considered for them, choose the most appropriate one below and add your name to the waiting list. I’ll be in touch to find out more about your situation, and I then prioritise those dogs and owners I believe will gain most from my programmes.

To chat about the right option for you book an initial call or assessment and we can get started.

Once you start the programmes you will find you get your freedom back and won't have to plan everything!  You'll even be able to pop out to take your kids to things without getting someone to dog sit.

The Programmes

Home alone training

This programme is for puppies or dogs who have moved into a new home.  You may have a new puppy or a rescue dog and they are not settling as quickly as you'd like or you just may want to make sure that they will settle and be ok with being left home alone.

What you get:

  • a content and stress-free puppy or dog
  • a good night sleep

How we do it:

  • 1 x 90 minute online consultation
  • 7 daily training plans 
  • Unlimited support
  • All supporting materials such as body language booklet
  • 1 x 30 minute wrap up consultation

Separation Anxiety Programme 

The recommended package to get your started on changing your life with a dog who is suffering from separation anxiety. This package takes teamwork - you, me and your dog.  I guarantee the results if you do the work with your dog.  During this programme we teach the dog there is nothing to fear at being left hom

What you get:

  • your life back
  • a content and stress free dog

How we do it:

  • 1 x 60 minute online assessment
  • 3 x 30 minute online training consultations
  • Personalised training plan prior to separation anxiety training starting.
  • 4 weeks of personalised training plans which includes 20 personalised training plans
  • Unlimited support
  • All supporting materials such as body language booklet
  • Recordings of all consultations.