Our Alex, a pit bull mix, was one of the best dogs I’ve ever had as a pet and as my helper when working with other dogs to modify their behavior, but my girl, when we got her as a puppy, had bad separation anxiety so it took us a while to get her to be balanced. Let me tell you that she was worth it. We had her for 13 years, and even now I don’t think that it was long enough.
Our Charlie, the new addition to our family, has separation anxiety and he is getting better as time goes by:
-We couldn’t leave him in any room by himself because he would scream murder at the top of his lungs. Nowadays, he is able to stay by himself for a short period of time.
-Charlie would bark/whine when Abby went out to do her business. Recently, he only makes a funny sound, yes sometimes he still whines, but the intensity and length of time is but a couple of seconds.
-When we placed Abby in the car first, Charlie would go berserk. As time went by, he understood that he would get in the car too so he does get excited, but it’s manageable.
The above is just a few of the things we’re working on with Charlie and his separation anxiety. To those pet parents that are probably asking themselves, “How long will it take for that separation anxiety to disappear?” Let me tell you that it depends on the dog, the activities you are doing with him, the behavior and training you are working on, and the consistency and commitment on your part. Work hard, but also remember to take a break every so often. Stay safe.
One of the things I teach pet parents and I find very important during Behavior and Training Level I, is to not allow their dogs to bolt out the door, any door for that matter. Why? They could get injured, killed, lost, cause an accident, and/or harm another dog/animal or human.
Even though Abby knows her boundaries at home, I still work with her in different areas and environments in order for her to continue to learn and improve.
I tell pet parents that they should not set up their dogs to fail. What do I mean by that? It’s not fair to ask a dog that is not exercised mentally and physically to do this. We, pet parents, need to fulfill their needs in order to get a balanced and well behaved dog. Like I tell many of my pet parents, behavior modification is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards, if you and your dog walk hard, are amazing!
Abby, “Moms, I love the snow. I am using my ears as wings. Weeee!”
Today, Tuesday, is the first day of Spring, but you wouldn’t know it since we still have snow on the ground, and tomorrow we’re expecting our 4th nor’easter. What will Abby be doing? Playing in the snow, of course!
While Abby will be having a blast playing in the snow tomorrow, other dogs prefer to nap in a comfortable bed with a blanket or two.
Abby and Champagne (L to R). Champagne, “Will I be getting a treat any time soon?”
And then there are those, like Abby and Champagne, that prefer to “help” in the kitchen and be Cynthia’s sous chefs. Regardless of what you decide to do tomorrow, please be safe and keep yourself and your furry kids warm.
I know, chaos may be an exaggeration, but for most people holidays tend to be pretty busy and somewhat stressful. What I like about holidays, of course, happen to be the food “we” cook, I am using we very loosely since Cynthia is the one that cooks, while Abby and I end up being the “critics”. I know, what a hard life we have, but hey, someone’s got to do it. Right?
Along with all the food we are planning to enjoy, comes plenty of relaxation and/or sleeping, which Champagne gladly demonstrates for us all the time.
Abby, “Mom, did you remember to pack my food?”
And then we have those that will be traveling to visit family. That won’t be us this year, but for those that are traveling my suggestion would be: have patience; carry food and water; take your dog with you; and above all, enjoy your family. What plans do you have for these upcoming holidays?
If anybody tells you that dog behavior modification is fast, easy and simple to do, that person would be lying to you. In order to modify the behavior of a dog, you really need, at a minimum, 3 weeks. Whenever I am going to work with a dog, I do a meet and greet to make an assessment of the dog and the expectations of the pet parent. Abby, a 2 1/2 year old Beabull, ate so fast that she would toss her cookies right after she inhaled her food. I tried a lot of different things, including a funny looking dish and at the beginning it worked, but later on she went back to puking on and off. Because of that, I changed the way I did things with her: she started by eating in her kennel; I did not talk to her at all, no commands, nothing; I was the only one feeding her; and all I asked from her was to give me eye contact right before I put her dish down.
So, how is Abby doing right now? She hasn’t tossed her cookies in a long time and I no longer have to use the funny looking dish I got for her unless I want to. What I was doing with Abby was behavior modification, and I can tell you from experience that it takes time, consistency, patience, repetition, and a thorough knowledge of dog body language that most pet parents lack. For that reason, I’d recommend that you find the right person to help you. Ask a lot of questions, and don’t buy the, “I can fix your dog in 1 week for only $1,800”. If you find someone like that, don’t walk, run, and run fast. Behavior modification takes time and depending on what you are trying to change it can be quite complex.