There’s always a reason not to. Or arguments against. Especially when it comes to separation anxiety training.
I can’t tell you how many times I was going to start training with my dog.
But I held back. Or rather, I held myself back with my own limiting beliefs.
Eventually, I got going. And me and my dog, Percy, had a happy, non-anxious ending. I kept repeating I didn’t know why I hadn’t started earlier.
Except I do know why. These 5 giant, ugly untruths stood in my way.
If you recognize any of these, call them out. And don’t let them block you from treating your dog.
1. “It’s Too Difficult”
Yes, true, separation anxiety is a complex condition. In fact, it’s not really just one condition. It’s a collection of things. You might call separation anxiety a syndrome.
But it is totally fixable. And the success rate for fixing separation anxiety is high. It’s especially high when you compare the success rates of treating other behaviour problems.
I’m not going to lie – training separation anxiety takes a lot of effort. But thinking it’s too hard will stop you before you start. You need to chunk it down. Take baby steps.
2. “I Tried But Nothing Worked”
As often as I hear “it’s difficult”, I also hear “I gave it a go but he's still not better!”.
People will tell you all you have to do is:
- Go out the door a few times over. Give yourself a weekend and you will have done it.
- Use a bark collar.
- Ignore him and don’t coddle him.
- Show him who’s boss.
- Punish him for destroying the door frame.
I’m sure most of us with separation anxiety dogs have tried some of these at some point.
But none of these work. Some of these make no difference. Some of these will make your dog worse. That’s why, if you’re using any of these methods, you’re not making progress.
Before you throw in the towel, you need to stop trying things that won't help. Instead, you need to get on the case with gradual exposure training. That's the one method proven to address separation anxiety.
3. You Think You Have to be a Trainer or Hire a Trainer
Of course, I’d prefer you worked with me. Or with any separation anxiety trainer.
But, full disclosure: you can do it without hiring a trainer. It would be easier for you if you did. But you can succeed without.
(Did I just do myself out of a job?!)
If the expense or hassle of hiring a trainer is stopping you from helping your dog, then we need to tackle that.
I want your dog better. And I want you to get your life back. So if this untruth is preventing you getting on with treatment, we must kill it off now.
What you do need, though, is a system. You need accurate information, crucial steps, practical advice.The problem with what you can find in books or on the internet is the advice. It is either inaccurate or overwhelming.
Hiring a trainer can cut through all of that. But if you don’t hire a trainer, you need to know where to go for the right input.
4. You Have “The Overwhelm”
So many of us suffer from the “Big O”. Overwhelm is the sweeping epidemic that’s taking the wind from our sails.
A huge problem with overwhelm is it leads us to distracting activities. And especially to do more fact-finding, more evidence-gathering.
- You feel overwhelmed at the prospect of starting separation anxiety. So you go off and do more internet research. You read more blogs.
- You started the training but got overwhelmed by what to do. So you watch some YouTube videos on separation anxiety.
You don’t need more information. You need less. But it needs to be better.
5. You’ve Heard You Have to Leave Your Dog And That’s Just Crazy
There’s no getting away from this one. If you’re going to fix your dog’s separation anxiety you’re going to need to face this one head on.
The reason I know you can make the change is because I see owners do this over and over again. Plus I’ve also been there too. I’m the person who said, “Well, I’m okay to do the training but not leaving him? That’s mad”.
Two things transformed everything for me:
- Once I learned my dog had a panic attack every time I left him, I realized I could no longer leave him on his own.
When I stopped leaving him, everything changed. He got better quicker. Our progress accelerated.
- We all start off thinking we can’t possibly find ways not to leave our dog. But most of us get there when we realize not leaving him is non-negotiable if we want to fix his anxiety.
Just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it’s not right. What’s holding you back from separation anxiety training? What help do you need to get started? Let me know in the comments.
Or book a free 30-minute chat with me to find out more.