separation anxiety
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Thread: separation anxiety

  1. #1
    ceasersmom's Avatar
    ceasersmom is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Defaultseparation anxiety

    As most of you know part of the Canine Good Citizens test involves a 3 min. seperation exercise where the tester holds the dog's leash for 3 min. while the owner moves to a place out of sight of the dog.

    Well this morning in obedience class our instructor let each of us have a turn leaving the room while she held our dogs. Oh dear, Ceaser did not handle that well. He wasn't completely out of control, but he barked, pulled on the leash, and whined. Needless to say he would not pass the CGC with that behavior.

    Any tips on what I could do to help him through this? We have 5 more weeks of classes, then a tester will come in for those who wish to get their CGCs.

    He is approx. 2 years old and has been with me for almost 6 months (he's a pound-puppy). He still follows me from room to room and whines at the door if he can't go with me. I have worked on keeping coming and going low-key, and that seems to have helped with daily comings and goings such as leaving for work or running errands.

    Any ideas on anything else I can try to make him handle this part of the CGC?

    Gus adopted 11/2008
    Ceaser adopted 4/2008
    Heidi adopted 4/2006

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  3. #2
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Lawrence (ex-Topeka), KS

    DefaultRe: separation anxiety

    Maybe some others who've gone through the same thing can give you better help.

    But the usual procedure for extending a dog's envelope of patience is to measure the amount of time the good behavior lasts until the undesired kicks in.

    Try several more trials of slightly shorter length and, when the desired good behavior occurs, reward and praise.

    Then have short practice sessions in which you extend very slightly the length of time (I'd go at first in 5" steps).

    You want only the desired behavior to earn the reward of the treat and praise so it's crucial that you stay within the comfort level of your dog and gradually push the envelope from there.

    When you're getting success every time at a particular stage, you can try lengthening the step interval to 10" or maybe 15" if those work. But if at any time you get the undesired behavior, you must drop down to a level at which the desired behavior + treat & praise take place and gradually build up from there.

    A few trials before usual meal time is a great time to train because then you get optimum motivation for treats.

    And obviously, you'd want to train beyond the 180" time (say to 210") so you andyour Lab are very comfortable that 3 minutes won't be a problem.

    It will help a great deal if you vary the location in which you do your training and also the person with whom the dog stays. That's because dogs are often quite poor at generalizing and sometimes the learning may be as if it's specific to only "with this person in this place"

    (For that reason, it'd also be helpful for passing the test if you could sometimes train in the same place as the test will take place.)

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":

  4. #3
    Tedsta is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    DefaultRe: separation anxiety

    I had a rescued Staffie that suffered from this, really it is a little bit at a time. I varied where I asked her to stay indoors/outdoors and gradually increased the distance and time. The main thing is don't feel time pressured because Ceaser will pick up on that, speak to your trainers. If it's anything like the UK if you miss this test there will be another one in the next 7 weeks as there are courses going on all the time.

    One thing that helped Maisie was I'd ask her to stay in one room in view of the door and I'd walk through to the next room, initially staying in view and then gradually positioning myself so that I was no longer in eye contact. I started by counting to 5 then walking back in view. Other things I did was to ask her to do a stay and walk in circles around her, increasing the size as I did so. We got to the 3 minutes in the end.

    I'm sure you and Ceaser will find something that works for you.
    Good luck


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