THE SEPARATION SOLUTION
Supporting you and your dog as you embark on a journey to decrease stress and anxiety, and to find peace, harmony, and independence.
Do you have a dog who just doesn't like to be left? I have been there too, and it is possible to help your dog overcome their fear!
Having lived, and owned, two dogs with very different forms of separation distress, and helped numerous others, I am passionate about helping owners and dogs through the journey to achieving a stress free home alone state.
Well, if they are anything like mine were, being able to go to the bathroom alone was a great start!
From my personal experience, I can honestly say that separation anxiety is the most challenging and emotionally exhausting behaviour problem to deal with, as it isn't like having a reactive dog and the possibility to just avoid other dogs. It is 24/7 and it requires many changes in lifestyle to begin with, which not everyone is able to accommodate.
However, do not panic, I am hear to support and guide you along the way. You CAN do this!
SEPARATION ANXIETY PROGRAMME
A FREE chat
Embarking on the journey of resolving separation relate problems isn't an easy one. I have been there and I absolutely understand how hard it can be, sometimes impossible, for dog owners to be able to implement all of the changes required to succeed on this journey.
I offer a free chat to discuss the outline of embarking on this journey, and if you feel that it is something that you are willing and able to commit to, as well as to give me insight into your situation and the type of separation distress that your dog has.
An awful lot of behaviourists who I know and respect, will not take on separation anxiety related cases, due to how mentally and emotionally exhausting they find them, and the challenges involved with owner compliance as this really is not a quick fix problem.
I will be there to support you through this process, however, when it comes to separation anxiety, I need to know that you can also commit before agreeing to take your case on.
If you text, email, or fill in a contact form, then I aim to arrange to call you back within 48 hours.
Health can have a huge impact on our health and wellbeing, and the same applies for our animals. I know just how much a simple urine infection can change the emotional and mental state of humans from my time working in care homes, yet it is something that can often be overlooked in dogs.
Before starting along the behavioural side of the journey, it is recommended that you speak to the vets for a full assessment to rule out any underlying health cause for the anxious behaviour. If there is an underlying health problem this will need to be worked on before the behaviour modification programme can truly be successful.
It may also be the case that your dog requires pharmaceutical intervention, depending on the severity of the anxiety, therefore it is always beneficial to have the veterinary team on board for that extra pharmaceutical support if required.
Questionnaire and Video Assessment
I send you the link to a simple, yet in depth, questionnaire to complete. This gives me further insight and background information on anything which may affect your dog’s behaviour.
You are also invited to add some videos of your dogs behaviour, when you are out of the room/house, to a private Google drive or to send them me via WhatsApp, and I will watch and assess the behaviour in the footage before the session.
Video Call Assessment and Consultation
During this video call sessions (currently via Zoom) we will spend approximately 2 hours discussing the behaviour questionnaire, and anything picked up from that, the observations from the video, and then we will discuss how to start introducing a stress reduction programme. We then look at what equipment you may need for observations, plus how to begin creating distance between you and your dog based on your home layout, and the stage your dog is.
After the session, which should be recorded via Zoom, you will receive a link to your private Google drive folder with your session recording in, a link to the online resources/course, and a plan to implement over the next week.
The Behaviour Modification Plan
From the assessment sessions, I will design a protocol specifically for your dog and to suit your home and lifestyle. I will design a 5 day per week modification protocol, with 2 rest days, for you to follow. Initially these steps will not take more than 30 minutes of your time per day.
Once a week I will watch you and your dog via a live online training session so that I can ascertain proper progress and help take you forward to the next step.
We start the programme with a 6-week minimum course so that we can set solid foundations in place.
I fully understand how hard that it can be to live with a dog who is suffering from separation distress, and I fully believe that all of my clients and their dogs should have all of the support that they require. For the time that we are on this behaviour modification journey together, I will be here to support you, listen to you and give you the best advice that I can.
There is no answer to how long this behaviour modification process will take, as each dog is different, as is each household situation, however, I can help you to make life much less stressful for your dog – and your family!
As I want to be able to help each client as much as possible, I limit the number of separation anxiety clients that I take on at one time to 12 clients and the booking system will turn off availability once the weekly maximum of 12 sessions is reached.
Included in the price of only £325 - Initial Session of approximately 2 hours, follow up plan and online course with resources, plus a weekly follow on session for a further 5 weeks (6 week course).
Due to the nature of working with separation related problems, there is no need to visit your home. This means that I am able to help dogs and their guardians across the UK.
There is no additional stress to your dog, from a stranger entering the home, there is no stress for you worrying about doing housework before someone comes over (we all do that right?!) and no worrying about the weather and things like that. It is a win win, especially with the current Covid issues too.
Don't worry though, this is a fully supported behaviour modification programme with 1-2-1 video calls, not just an online course.
The initial programme includes 6 weeks worth of support, however, separation anxiety is never a quick fix if done correctly.
Although the initial programme is designed to give you the firm foundations for your journey, some clients wish to have ongoing support for another 1-3 months in the form of weekly Zoom sessions.
I have put together three options for booking follow on support, with a discount for booking sessions in longer durations.
Follow On Options:
- 4 weeks: £140
- 8 weeks: £260 (saving of £40)
- 12 weeks: £360 (saving of £60)
Each week includes one session of up to 30 minutes, via Zoom.
FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP
I also have a Facebook, client only, support group for dog guardians who have embarked on this journey. Not that many people use it at the moment, I am not even sure that half of the clients who I get use Facebook, however, hopefully a small community will start to build so that clients can also support one another along their journey.
I am a fully assessed member of the APDT 01074 and the ABTC.
MY OWN SEPARATION ANXIETY DOGS
Dale was approximately 4 years old when I rehomed him from the shelter, and was just about to be euthanised for human reactivity and separation related problems.
Dale was a destroyer. I would go out for just 5-10 minutes, to the corner shop, and I would return to find everything in a complete mess. The bin would be emptied (it was then moved to the utility cupboard), my umbrella was chewed up, the door would be scratched, and once he even jumped up onto the kitchen work surface and emptied a bag that I had put ready for my weekend away, and eaten all of my vitamins! A lovely trip to the vets just before my weekend away (dog sitter looking after the dogs) was not a great way to start the weekend!
He was a little better in the car, however, he also ate the car too! Luckily though, he didn't bark or toilet through stress and anxiety.
Doodles, oh my goodness, well he is probably one of the worst case of separation anxiety that I have seen. I knowingly took him on as his owners, friends of another trainer, were unable to deal with his problems, but boy did I underestimate how bad that he could possibly be!
When I picked Doodles up he was so anxious, as taken away from his guardian. Once back home I wasn't able to even go to the toilet without him screaming and becoming distressed.
Each time I left the house, even if only for a short while, I was coming back to wee and poo everywhere - smeared in too, wet from salivation, and he had been barking almost non stop. It was HELL, for us both!
He didn't chew and destroy things that way, however, my house just smelt like a dog toilet and my health really wasn't up to dealing with it all!
Now, both of my dogs can be left for probably up to 6-8 hours in an emergency situation, although I try not to be more than 4 hours at one time. Do they still bark etc? I won't lie, yes they do. However, it is only in certain situations such as people making noise in the communal hall, or if the shooting range is particularly loud and scary that day, it is all in situations where I think fair enough and I understand what caused the panic. In general though, they are absolutely fine with being left as long as I don't really push it. It was a stressful journey and I NEVER thought that I would get as far as we did in such a relatively short time, however, we got there and it was such an amazing feeling when I could actually go out for 2 hours and go to the shops without worrying!
It is a hard journey yet it IS possible and so very worth it!
© Copyright Helen Gerard - United Wellbeing