Breed: Labrador Retriever
Behavior Challenge: Separation Anxiety
Willow was recently adopted when we were contacted. She was having difficulty adjusting from the highly structured shelter environment to a home environment. At the same time, she had quickly become significantly attached to her new people, and immediately had difficulty when they left her alone confined.
The plan included basic obedience and introduction to the e-collar as that would be key in helping resolve the separation anxiety with the use of a video baby monitor.
Willow and her owners were able to get their relationships moving in a healthy direction and away from co-dependence through the obedience training. Because we caught it early, it was relatively straightforward to reverse the separation anxiety, but it still took a couple months of consistent behavior reinforcement and interruption. The baby video monitor helped achieve results faster than had we been unable to see and remotely interrupt bad choices. Willow was eventually separation-anxiety free and enjoying living an active life with her owners as a permanent family member, as well as enjoying her off-leash independence.
In Their Own Words – Our Client Experience
When we adopted Willow – we got a wonderful dog with some unknown history including separation anxiety issues. The first day we left her home during work, she escaped from her wire crate – twice.
We had signed up for a group puppy class, when after the initial class, Kim brought the issue of separation anxiety to the attention of the instructor as to gain more skills to help the situation. Instead of giving positive suggestions, she referred us to dog behaviorists and told Kim ‘don’t get too attached’. That was the last class attended.
Sarah taught us how to work with Willow to deal with the issues that had become apparent quickly after adopting her. Of course we needed to deal with the separation anxiety, but we also needed some help with obedience beyond sit.
We chose to utilize the electronic collar method of training. We felt the stimulation for ourselves before settling on this decision. Sarah taught us how to effectively teach Willow what the stimulation was reminding her to do with verbal commands and sometimes helping her to do the required command. Willow quickly caught on to what the stimulation was referring to.
Willow has gone beyond basic obedience and is noticeably calmer in all situations. She is frequently complimented in public for being such a good dog. With Sarah’s help, we have made great improvement on the separation anxiety and Willow is no longer escaping from her crate. She is a great dog around the house and on walks, snowshoes and other adventures. She is off leash much of the time in the yard with us playing and bounding in the snow this winter.
Kim and Erik Laing, Eagan