Since separation anxiety is often a complex condition that is difficult to resolve, significantly lowers the quality of life of both the human and pet, causes notable financial damages, dramatically reduces the joy of pet ownership, has owners often feeling shackled to the house, and prompts owners to abandon dogs to animal control or a humane society where there is a high probability of euthanasia, we highly recommend the services of a skilled CPT trainer/behaviorist when diagnosing the condition and implementing a customized solution plan. To schedule a CPT behavior modification session, please contact the CPT office by phone at 404-236-2150 or contact us by email via the Contact link at the top right of this web page.
Separation distress can severely reduce the quality of life for both you and your dog and is a common rationale for owners abandoning dogs at shelters.
Ethologists believe separation anxiety is caused or exacerbated by congenital factors, excessive isolation from the dam or littermates during early developmental periods, a lack of preparatory isolation from the dam or littermates during early developmental periods, and traumatic experiences that occur when a predisposed dog is isolated and/or confined, or any combination of the preceding. In addition, rescue dogs, dogs exhibiting other forms of anxious or phobic behavior, and excessively “clingy” dogs are more predisposed toward developing separation distress behavior. To a lesser degree, dogs owned by clingy or cloying owners and dogs that lack training or structure are also more predisposed toward developing separation distress behavior.
Separation anxiety/distress can be a difficult behavior to resolve. Nevertheless, there are solutions that often provide significant improvement. To maximize effectiveness, the solutions need to be implemented conjunctively, which provides synergies that raise the probability of successful behavior modification. The goal of the solutions is to increase predictability where a lack of predictability creates an anxious emotional state, to create unpredictability where predictability creates an anxious emotional state, to create diversionary and displacement behaviors that reduce the severity of the anxious behavior and/or the dog’s focus on the owner’s departure, and to psychologically, physically, and physiologically create a state of relaxation.