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Separation anxiety


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Hi everyone. I found this video on using reinforcement to cure separation anxiety and just wondered what people's thoughts were, whether you've tried this method before? It seems like it would be a long and very slow process but I can see how it could work if you had the time

It seemed to jump very quickly from giving all the cues, opening the door, and not going out, to giving the 'busy' toy and actually leaving. What about being gone for 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 2 minutes, and so on?

My main concern, though, is that all the way though the process, the dog is focused on the owner and thinking about treats. Picking up keys, saying 'Bye, see you later,' and so on, is a cue for the dog to pay attention to her and anticipate treats. And anticipating treats can be stressful in itself.

I'm not an expert, but I think I'd want to aim for all the cues, me opening the door, etc., to elicit a sort of 'Meh, nothing's happening here' attitude. Even if it's 'Whoopee, now I get a pilchard-stuffed Kong,' you have to think about what happens when the Kong is empty.

In terms of time - curing SA can take a long time. That doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of time working on it each day, but you have to aim for being able to leave your dog in a few weeks' time... Some dogs will get there much faster, some take a lot longer, and some never quite get there...
not a horrible video. I would think of the video as a glimpse at what SA training can look like verses a recipe to follow. Some of what was shown is in my opinion out of order. For example, the walking towards the door and opening, I would put that as a skill to be learned AFTER the dog learns to be separated from you, while you are in the house or even the same room. There is a lot of 'action' shown, not a lot of learning to relax separated, but the person not be gone.

Judy brings up some good points about being aware of what expectations you create, what happens when the food runs out (which is NOT to say food, kongs etc do not have a place in this, they DO!!), the pace you moved at. And is 100% correct when she says it's not a fast process. Because the foundation for everything with SA is desensitization.

SA training moves "faster" when you do not rush it. Always remember the critical key behind everything is desensitization. if you move too fast, your dog experiences anxiety, thus slowing the process down even more.
Good points, thanks for the insight, yes I also felt it was pretty rushed and it's so food and owner focussed with not much emphasis on being calm. Definitely takes a lot more time and patience than implied in the video

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