Breed: Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Behavior Challenge: Separation Anxiety, Aggression towards other dogs
Rock had a severe and bonafide case of separation anxiety. When things were okay in Rock’s world, you would never know he had an issue. But he had trouble dealing with being uncomfortable and being left along made him extremely uncomfortable.
The plan was to do some high-tech rehabilitation with the use of an e-collar and a video baby monitor. We introduced the collar through some basic obedience, and also worked with him to desensitize him to his kennel as best as we could. This dog had a kennel run in the garage, so it was relatively easy to simply use the kennel run as part of our training proofing, along with just trying to build positive associations with it. To work specifically on the separation issue, we used a video baby monitor. With the ability to see him remotely and interrupt him remotely, we could gradually de-sensitize him to being left alone and still have a way that he would understand to interrupt unwanted behavior like barking, pawing, or biting at the fence. It’s important to note that this is a gradual process–you don’t simply set the dog up and start to stim. them. The dog experiences a series of repetitions, most of which do not result in any stim., during each exposure. As the dog proves he can be successful over the shorter spans and is reinforced, we can increase the difficulty gradually and interrupt if necessary.
Rock and his dedicated family did great. Separation anxiety is a stressful issue to work through and it requires dedication of at least several weeks up to several months of careful and consistent work, and ongoing maintenance after that. But they were able to realize their goal of being able to leave Rock alone in the run while they were gone for periods of several hours, without worry that he would injure himself, destroy the garage or home, or break out into the neighborhood.
In Their Own Words – Our Client Experience
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? With Sarah’s help, our 8 yr. old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Rock, learned new tricks and a new way of life.
After being bitten at a puppy park several years ago, Rock became aggressive towards other dogs. He also suffers from severe separation anxiety. Throughout the years, Rock destroyed multiple kennels, appliances, windows, doors, window blinds, door handles, car interiors and floors trying to “escape” when left alone. If he did get loose outside, we feared what would happen if he encountered another dog in the neighborhood.
When we contacted Paws n Motion, we were at the end of our rope. We had tried everything we could to try to modify Rock’s behavior including multiple vet visits, medication, muzzles, multiple contacts with dog trainers and breeders and a formal obedience class for aggressive dogs at a well known local obedience training club. The formal classes worked great…while we were at class. However, the class environment did not simulate Rock’s own environment. Moreover, the class focused on food rewards and it was not feasible to carry dog treats in every pocket all day long.
At yet another vet visit to discuss Rock’s worsening behavior, we came across a flyer from Paws n Motion. Sarah responded to our desperate plea for help within 24 hours and scheduled an in-home evaluation within a week. During the in-home evaluation, Sarah listened to our concerns, observed Rock’s behavior and offered some free suggestions to immediately start working on correcting bad behavior. Sarah’s suggestions immediately instilled confidence in us that we had found someone that could help.
After meeting with our family, we decided that the private lessons would best address our needs. We also decided that Rock may respond best to an electronic training collar. Sarah came to our home each week and worked with us. She educated us on the training techniques and erased any misconceptions or fears about an electronic training collar. She explained and demonstrated the training techniques and then allowed us to take over so we were the ones doing the actual training. Each week, we built on the last weeks training session. The techniques/commands were practical, easy to understand and easy to work on each week between training sessions. Over the 4 weeks, Rock learned some new commands that helped us minimize and control unwanted behavior. The electronic collar also helped reinforce all the commands Rock already knew.
We understand that, with an 8 yr. old dog, many behaviors will not completely disappear. However, with Sarah’s help, we are now better able to minimize unwanted behavior. We are committed to ongoing reinforcement of the new behaviors and see the transformation in Rock every day. We are grateful that we are finally able to enjoy our dog again and trust that Rock can be left alone now without completely destroying the kennel and/or our home.
We can’t thank Sarah enough and would highly recommend Paws n Motion to anyone whose dog suffers from aggression and/or separation anxiety. We are thrilled with the results after 4 training sessions and look forward to seeing further improvements well into the future.
Greg and Carrie Jacobson, Ramsey