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5 Easy Tips to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

It’s that time of year again… the kids have gone back to school after an action packed summer. It’s been fun for the children, and Buster has been so happy with the extra attention and playtime. Then one day, his world changes. The house is empty and he’s left home alone. Uh oh, does Buster have separation anxiety?

The stress of suddenly being alone may cause behavioral changes… excessive barking, destruction, escaping, pacing, chewing, scratching, and even the inability to lie down and rest.

While there is no evidence showing why some dogs have separation anxiety and some don’t, dogs are naturally social animals. So much so, that behaviorist and author John Bradshaw says, “Surprisingly, most dogs, given the choice, will actually prefer human company to other dog company.”

The ASPCA states,

“When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the dog’s underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the dog experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety.”

What You Can Do to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

1. Mix Up Your Patterns

Dogs are smart. They are constantly studying all of our behaviors, actions, and routines. If you always put on your shoes right before you leave the house for the day, the shoes tell Buster that you are leaving. If picking up your car keys is always a precursor to leaving, Buster may start to panic just at the sight of your keys. Start mixing up your routine. Pick up your keys and start cooking dinner. Put on your shoes and walk to your computer. Do the opposite and put on your shoes, open the door, but don’t leave. The idea is to keep Buster guessing so that he starts to unscramble the patterns you’ve already set in place.

Certified Professional Dog Trainer and behavior specialist Nicole Wilde calls it “The Faux Go”. In her book, Don’t Leave Me! she says, “You’ll be teaching your dog that the door opening and you walking out is nothing to worry about.” Separation Anxiety training protocol by famed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell can be found here.

2. A Little at a Time

If the kids aren’t going back to school for another three weeks, start practicing with very short departures today. If all goes well, start increasing your time, little by little. A human minute may equal a dog hour, so take puppy steps when increasing your time away incrementally.

3. Tire Her Out

A tired dog will less likely be inclined to tear up the linoleum while you are gone. Get up extra early to go for a long walk. Engage in a good game of retrieve. The amount and length of activity depends on breed, size, and age.

4. Training and Dog Tricks

While exercise and long walks are great at keeping him in shape, he’ll get more tired from mental stimulation combined with exercise. I joke that the more I hike with Gina, the better shape she gets in to prepare for even more physical activity. But, add in some agility training, and she actually gets tired. Don’t have any jumps at home? Try teaching Buster some new dog tricks daily.

5. Let Music Soothe His Fears

Don’t leave Buster home alone. Leave him with his own iPawd. While iCalmDog is the portable solution to canine anxiety, the clinically tested music works just as well at home as when Buster is on the go. Thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers worldwide have recommended the slowed down, simplified, classical compositions. Take a lesson and enjoy a soothing sound bath with your pup.

 

listen-samples-buster-headphones

 

Has your dog experienced separation anxiety? What have you found to help? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

 

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iCalmDog Contest Winner(s) AND a Gift For All

I’m overwhelmed with all 100 responses on my blog post. Readers share how their dogs would benefit from iCalmDog, the natural solution to canine anxiety… anywhere!

  • at home when (no longer) alone
  • canine massage
  • car trips
  • desensitization to fireworks fear
  • hotel visits
  • overnight stays anywhere
  • replaces anti-anxiety medication
  • veterinary appointments
  • when moving to a new home

The blog comments have been remarkable. JJ Jul said, “My dog has severe separation anxiety, but when I play the iCalmDog sound samples online she calms almost immediately. That is almost a miracle as she does not calm for the myriad of things we have tried.”

Heather Schroder said, “I am a Fear Free Certified Professional, and I use my cat and dog speakers in every exam room! I have one of each (cat/dog) and a a couple of non-iCalm loaded music speakers, and the iCalms work much better! Every time I come back to work after a day off I have to track down my speakers for my use! The cat one is usually in the cat room, and the dog one could be anywhere, from radiology, to surgery, to the treatment area.”

My heart was so warmed reading the comments that it was impossible to limit this to one iCalmDog winner.

Drum Roll Please… Free iCalmDogs go to:

  1. Frank Hashek who posted this comment, We are still “old school”, using the CDs, but I am thinking about going to the iCalm. I do a lot of rescue foster work, usually hosting two or three fosters in addition to our own three rescue dogs  we’ve adopted. I work with Northern Breeds, Akitas and Herding Breeds. I take in dogs that have emotional and/or behavioral problems. Through A Dog’s Ear music has been an enormous help with the troubled dogs.
  2. Erica Seaver-Engel who shared it on social media channels and posted this comment, “An iCalmDog 3.0 would help our two rescues deal with thunderstorms a bit more calmly. In addition, I work with prison inmates training puppies for eventual service dog work – the iCalmDog 3.0 will be an additional tool we can use to work through separation anxiety, encourage calm behavior amidst excitement / distractions, and sleeping through the night. Thank you for this opportunity, and we look forward to winning an iCalmDog 3.0!”

But, if you didn’t win a free iCalmDog 3.0, don’t despair. While I’m not able to give away 100 free iCalmDogs, I really wanted all the dogs to have one, so I’ve created a way for everyone to win!

Everyone Is a Winner! iCalmDog Discounted 25% Today Only!

One day only… 5/11/17. USE COUPON CODE “EveryDogWins” at checkout to receive the fully customized iCalmDog. For today only, save $22.50! The iCalmDog Standard package is only $67.45 today, but customers tell us the value of a calm dog is priceless.

If you want to take advantage of the one-day-only discount, remember to enter “EveryDogWins” in the coupon code box at checkout. Discount applies only to iCalmDog 3.0 standard model. Ends at 11:59 PM PST 5/11.

Happy zzz’s to Buster!

 

 

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And the Oscar for Best Dog in a Feature Film Goes to…

Uggie may have gotten all of the attention at last year’s Academy Awards, but Sanchez and Gina are walking the red carpet this year!

They are overwhelmed with all of the nominations from Through a Dog’s Ear fans.

Sanchez was nominated best actor in a leading role for his appearance in Lisa’s video blog:

Nightly Rituals with Dogs

Sanchez’s movement of his eyebrows to enhance his facial expressions is unmatchable. Turns out the movie was a sleeper. In the three days since it’s premiere, the movie has already received over 1,300 views on youtube. That translates to over a thousand zzzzzzzzzzzzz’s from dogs, and their people now know about sound therapy as a remedy for canine anxiety solutions.

Sanchez is woofin’ about his second nomination, as his fans also recognized him for best cameo role in a video blog when he upstaged the human lead actor and actress (Joshua Leeds and Lisa Spector) in

The Story Behind Through a Dog’s Ear

Visually, he doesn’t appear in the movie until 7:53, but you’ll hear sounds of him off camera at 6:21. He definitely stole the show!

In the same video blog, Gina‘s fans nominated her for best supporting actress in her role as a kisser. You can view her unabashed kissing at 8:30.

Although unable to attend the Academy Awards, Sebastian (the dog from the Humane Society of New York who was later adopted by Good Morning America Host Lara Spencer) was nominated for cutest dog to appear in:

Stress Busters for Pets, as Seen on

Good Morning America

Do you think Sanchez, Gina, and Sebastian should win Oscars? Do you have any nominations of your own to add? Thanks for sharing your thoughts in a comment below. 

Delivering Calm, four paws at a time…

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from our Calm your Canine Companion music series  when you sign up for our newsletter and/or Lisa’s Blog. Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!

Sanchez and Gina’s Wardrobe by Pam Tatar. (Click to view her adorable doggie accessories.)                                                                         

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Leaving Without My Dog

Nothing permanent here. I’m simply flying cross country to celebrate my sister and brother-in-law’s 50th birthday. I’ve traveled extensively over the years, both domestic and international. I’ve had a dog many of those years. You’d think leaving a dog behind would get easier. It doesn’t.

In a normal, routine day, I am always scheduling time to devote to my only dog, Sanchez. After I spend morning time at the piano, he gets a big on leash walk down and up the very hilly road where we live. In the afternoon, he gets off leash runs along the ocean bluff tops. During the day, he greets students at my music school. And then there are the days with agility practice or class. He’s got a good life. Growing up as a puppy in training for Guide Dogs for the Blind, he became used to a lot of socializing with humans. And he also flew cross country seven times with me during his puppy training – that is right along side me in the cabin. Often I was seated in bulk head to allow him extra room.

Well, I left for Boston this morning without him, and it wasn’t easier than any other time that I’ve left him. I know that he is in very good care. A student is staying with him.  Once I board the plane, it gets a little easier. But, I don’t know who is more used to being by whose side here. Sanchez is extremely comfortable going to other people and will act like he doesn’t miss me at all.

What’s particularly funny is that everything I’ve ever told every dog sitter about him just isn’t true when I’m not in his company.

I tell them:  He’ll let you sleep in. He’ll sleep in the living room. He’s the exact opposite of a velcro dog. He’ll barely notice where you are.

When I came back from my previous trip, I couldn’t have been more wrong. He woke her up early every morning with slobbering kisses. He slept in the bedroom with her. And he followed her all over the house, even to the bathroom, never losing sight or her.

Break … guilty as charged. I just called to check on him during a layover in NY. He’s fine. No signs of missing me. I can’t say the same. But, I do know from experience that the more time that passes, the easier it gets being away from him. Music to Calm Your Canine Companion has been clinically demonstrated to relieve separation anxiety. But that’s dog separation anxiety. How about my separation anxiety?

I’d love to hear from others that have a hard time leaving their dogs and any suggestions to make it easier. Please click on “comment” below.