Chopper is a two year old terrier, possibly Shih-tzu mix that I met for dog training. He was rescued from a farm in Korea where he lived with other dogs on an island. Now he lives with a great family in Fairfax but he has an issue where he barks and growls at guests in the house. He also suffers from separation anxiety.
I had his owners start with a few exercises and greatly reduced the barking and fixed the separation anxiety almost instantly. Chopper was under the impression he was there to keep himself and his owners safe. Often, people feel sorry for dogs they adopt and coddle them. Typically, this does not have the desired effect. We coddle the dog thinking they will see that we can give them everything they want, but what a dog wants is often different that what a human wants. Dogs want food and safety, in the form of someone (or a dog) being their leader. It’s a much less stressful way of life for a dog this way.
By helping Chopper realize his owners were there to keep him safe he can start to relax. By learning to separate while home together, he can learn to be alone and that he doesn’t have to follow his owners to keep a watch over them. Using phones and cameras in the house we were able to gauge how quickly the separation anxiety stopped. I am very happy how quickly it improved. Then we topped everything off with great success loose leash walking and helped Chopper’s dad get more time on the walks with him. Previously Chopper would not leave his Mom’s side. By the end of the walk he was walking out of sight of her! We hope he can now be as relaxed as he is cute.