When you have a dog with separation-related issues, you have likely discovered that their symptoms are getting worse and worse over time. That's because every time we leave them alone longer than they can handle, they are being "flooded" and that sets them back significantly.
Right, but I can't just quit my job and stay home with my dog 24/7, Caryn!
I know that you could possibly still make some headway if you work on your dog's separation anxiety in the evenings and on the weekends while working a full-time job, but that will take significantly longer and all the while, you're still getting the noise complaints and the destructive behaviour.
This is where management comes in. This is often called "suspending absences" and it means that your dog is not left alone outside of our training sessions. This is a temporary measure until you've got this thing beat! It's not forever. (It's avoiding peanuts, preventing a reaction, if you want to use the previous example!)
What does that look like?
Generally, a combination of the following:
If we can make this promise to our dog that we will not throw them in the shark tank every day, we will build their trust, lower their anxiety, and also relieve our OWN anxiety!
What about those times I MUST leave my house?
Grocery shopping can be done online or tacked on to a time where the pet sitter can hang tight for an extra half hour. Social events can still be attended when you have that neighbour who loves dogs but doesn't want the full-time commitment. There's always a solution - we just have to get creative!
Will the training work without management?
I'm going to be brutally honest with you. It's not likely. If your dog is truly suffering from this devastating panic disorder, then any absences longer than they can handle will set them back significantly. It will do you no good in your protocol.
Management is temporary as you work through this protocol - it's not forever!
Think about how much money you've spent replacing your door frames, baseboards, carpets, buying crates and gadgets that promise a quick fix, and the loss of income from having to come home early to appease your landlord or neighbours.
The management costs might feel overwhelming, but consider it part of the investment in your success and your dog's peace of mind, long-term.
This always seems like the most daunting part of the program, but trust me. When you get a good system in place, you can kick this!
Trust me on this one. This is the piece of the puzzle that brings both dog and human instant relief. Once you have that, you can start working on it so that you don't have to manage anymore!