Duke is a Pitbull mix that came to his family with isolation anxiety. He has also developed some separation anxiety around one of his owners. Duke is an almost perfect dog. After one session he learned to walk on a loose leash. However, he’s not so perfect when he’s alone. Then he has extreme panic, tears things up, has broken out of his crate, foams at the mouth and never settles.
I really work hard at these kinds of cases. I hate to see dogs and families so anxious and stressed out. Separation anxiety CAN be an easy fix, but isolation anxiety is much harder.
At the first session we had some success while practicing leaving. Duke would sit on the couch for a minute or two, but then the anxiety would return. I always want to cure everything in the first lesson, but that’s not always possible. For example, if a dog is separated from its mother too early, that dog may not ever be 100%. With that said, we can still make a difference, it just depends how much.
The family had success separating from him while home (without any gates or doors) but still were having issues leaving.
The second time I saw Duke and his family I had to tweaked things a little bit. In addition to separating from Duke while home and giving him leadership, I had the family change the association with them leaving. We also had Duke’s vet put him on a low dose of anti-anxiety meds. We managed to leave and watch on the camera. Duke never got agitated but was still watching the front door. Eventually, he laid down on his own and relaxed!!! Huge win!
Issues like this can be challenging. It’s a very emotional problem and often times even harder on the owner.