Separation Anxiety Overview with Amber Aquart CPDT-KA | Pupford
November 13th, 2023
Filed under Podcasts
Separation anxiety is a complex topic. Amber Aquart joins us on today's episode to help break down what separation anxiety in dogs really is, and what pup parents can do about it.
INTRODUCTION OF AMBER
Amber Aquart is a CPDT-KA certified animal trainer, certified trick dog instructor and pet lifestyle expert. She started her career as an exotic animal handler and trainer back in 2007 and began professionally training dogs in 2011. Although her primary focus has been training dogs over the last 10 years, she dedicates a special part of her focus on working with and training cats as well as how to safely integrate a multi-pet household and enrich the lives cats and dogs.
As a certified animal trainer, Amber’s ultimate goal is to help people develop the best relationship possible with their pets and to be able to have the “best life with your best friend".
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OVERVIEW OF SEPARATION ANXIETY
FIRST OFF, FOR OUR DOGS, WHAT IS SEPARATION ANXIETY?
- What it’s not: If your dog cries or they don’t like to be in a crate, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have separation anxiety
- SA is like a panic disorder, where your dog is in an extremely anxious state of mind for long periods of time
SO, HOW CAN I KNOW IF MY DOG IS JUST SAD WHEN I LEAVE VS HAVING SEPARATION ANXIETY?
- To determine if your dog has SA, you want to look at your dog’s body language
- Is your dog urinating on the floor when they are already potty trained?
- Are they destroying your house?
- Are they barking all day?
- If they are just barking for a few minutes, or destroying things that you have left around your house, that could just be
- Evaluate your dog on camera while you are gone to actually determine if your dog has separation anxiety
- Dogs with SA will be in a panicked state of mind for a long period of time, and that’s where you will see a dog destroying walls, trying to leave the house, etc.
SO, FROM A HIGH-LEVEL OVERVIEW, WHAT CAN PUP PARENTS DO IF THEIR DOG HAS SEPARATION ANXIETY?
- When you are dealing with a dog with serious separation anxiety, you can’t leave your house
- Set up a plan to make sure your dog isn’t left alone (friend, dog walker, etc.)
- Establish a baseline to determine how long your dog can be alone before they get in an anxious state of mind
- If your dog is only okay on their own for 20 sec, leave for just 10 seconds then come back
- Practice positive associations while being away from you, and you can slowly increase the amount of time you are away from your dog
WHAT CAN YOU DO PREEMPTIVELY TO HELP AVOID GETTING SEPARATION ANXIETY?
- Some dogs are more predisposed to having separation anxiety
- Some herding breeds tend to deal with these behaviors more than other dogs
- When you get a new dog, you want to start from the very beginning to practice separations from your dog in a positive way (like giving them a treat or snuffle mat)
- (properly) or putting your dog in a play pen can help teach your dog that it is okay when they are away from you
- But make sure your dog’s needs are met before leaving them alone!
BEFORE WE END… WHAT ARE SOME COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SEPARATION ANXIETY TO LOOK OUT FOR?
- Just let your dog bark it out
- That can increase their state of panic
- Corrections can fix their separation anxiety
- Get a
- This doesn’t actually fix separation anxiety! Your dog could just pick up on the separation anxiety!
If your dog is struggling with separation anxiety, don’t wait until it gets worse. Take steps in the right direction to address it! You can consult an in-person trainer, get a camera and see if your dog could be experiencing separation anxiety, and/or check out Amber’s course on .
Separation anxiety is hard! But there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can get through it and it can get better for you.