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Every Dog Behavior and Training Cute Small Dog

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be tough, for you and for your dog. If you think your dog might be struggling with separation anxiety, we want to start helping ASAP!

Our separation anxiety training all happens virtually, from the comfort of your home- this is the most effective way to treat separation anxiety! You'll begin with an assessment and work through personalized training plans.

Meet Our Separation Anxiety Specialist

Alexandra Dilley, MA, CPDT-KA

Alexandra was the Director of Behavior and Training at the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, DC. During her time there, she worked with the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Asheville, North Carolina, to develop HRA's first intensive program for severely fearful dog rehabilitation. She also taught classes on everything from obedience to dog reactivity. She has a Master's in animal behavior and completed a formal mentorship program on the treatment of separation-related problem behaviors. Alexandra provides treatment for dogs with separation-related problems. (She/her)

Alexandra Dilley, MA, CPDT-KA

Frequently Asked Questions About Separation Anxiety

How do I know if my dog has separation anxiety?

Great question! Separation anxiety may include behaviors like barking or whining, pacing or panting, destroying items, self harm, or urination or defecation. Typically these behaviors occur only when you're gone, but some dogs are more worried about being alone while others are only worried about being separated from a particular person. 

Why work with a behavior consultant on this?

Separation anxiety can be a TOUGH thing to work through- and we want to make sure you get the best possible help. There's a lot of conflicting advice on the internet, and a lot of factors that could determine the most effective training plan for you and your dog. That's why we recommend getting your Initial Assessment ASAP, since it's hard to DIY yourself out of separation anxiety! Alexandra is a skilled behavior consultant who specializes in separation anxiety.

How long does it take to work through separation anxiety?

It totally depends on a variety of factors (your dog's behavior, your ability to suspend absences, the time you have for training, etc). Generally, separation anxiety takes at least a few months to work through- we know it's not a quick fix, but we want to make sure you and your dog get the help you need.

Is my dog just being naughty? Can I just get them to stop barking?

Separation anxiety is a lot like anxiety in humans: when a dog with separation anxiety is left alone, they're having something similar to a panic attack. Even if they destroy things or pee all over the carpet, this is out of distress and fear, not naughtiness. Any attempt to punish their behavior during these episodes is likely to make their behavior worse, not better. 

What if my dog is just bored? Or trying to get my attention?

That's a great question! There are ABSOLUTELY times when dogs will bark or whine at us because they want to know what we're doing in the other room or need something to do. We highly recommend making sure your pup has lots of mental enrichment and appropriate exercise. If they're still showing these behaviors when left alone, especially for prolonged periods, we definitely want to evaluate for separation anxiety.

Why is the training virtual?

Most separation anxiety specialists are ONLY working virtually these days. They've found it to be the most effective way to train, for a few reasons. For one thing, they aren't there in the house to change the dynamics as an observer! We want your pup to get used to you leaving, not to a new person being in the house! Second, it's a really easy way to use technology to monitor how your dog is doing while you start practicing your departures. A win-win!

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