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AS AN experienced dog trainer, when I work with owners in the comfort of their own homes I see things others may not notice. For example, how the dog watches the owner’s every move, tracks them across the room and adjusts to their human’s movements. Chances are, without that person’s presence, the dog’s behaviour would be drastically altered.
Do you wonder what happens when you are not around? Often, the dog’s anxiety begins before you have even left the house. Picking up your keys and following an unintentional routine is the first trigger and the front door closing is the final blow, leaving them feeling abandoned and vulnerable. Possibly howling for hours, making you the neighbours from hell.
Ideally your dog is settled or just sleeping soundly. Sadly, this is not always the case. Teaching our dogs to do nothing in our absence, or the absence of our entertainment and attention, is often neglected — especially when puppies are so often coddled. They grow up thinking they cannot relax unless their humans are there.
During one-to-one training sessions, the first thing I normally notice is the dog is constantly seeking attention — negative or positive. Owners often point out that their dog behaves differently with me and ask why. It is because I am paying the dog no heed; the hounding gets no pay-off so they give up quickly.
We want our dogs to amuse themselves, therefore we need to encourage self-sufficiency and ignore them more frequently. It is not easy, of course, especially if it’s a fully grown husky — but it must be done.
The fact is, we cannot always be there, so although leaving for half an hour while you grab some groceries may not be considered training, it really is. If we really want separation to be a positive, we should use something that evokes an alternative response, so they never even notice your absence.
As a dog trainer, I am fully aware that training takes time which not everyone has. Consistency is especially key to eradicating certain behaviours and this can be hard work for the owner. A training organisation such as Bushey Tails can do the hard work for you.
We work with a local dog hotel to provide a board-and-train programme, where each doggy guest will have daily training sessions alongside plenty of exercise and affection, in luxurious surroundings. In your absence, your four-legged family member will learn many new skills and upon your return, you will be greeted with a wagging tail and a training session to teach you how to maintain it.
Alongside our new programme we continue to offer one-to-one sessions and group classes. At all times, we aim to ensure training is a positive experience for human and canine alike.
A half-hour grocery trip is really separation training’
Bushey Tails: 07710 198594 firstname.lastname@example.org