Meet Bentley, a 2 year old Lab mix that is spending the holidays with us for a 12 day Jumpstart Boarding School program. Bentley has a pretty severe case of separation anxiety. He will break out of any kennel he’s in, then destroy anything keeping him from his owners - walls, doors, trim, etc. Bentley chewed through the wall at the owner’s front door, and destroyed the wiring to the doorbell. He has a pretty serious case of separation anxiety!
During Bentley’s stay we put a ton of self control work into him. Spent hours every day working on getting him comfortable with his kennel. We worked on him being in his kennel with people home, in his kennel with the door open, as well as establishing a solid foundation of obedience and off leash training. We had several successful attempts at leaving him for short periods, 30-90 minute intervals. We set up a “nanny cam” to watch him, and we experienced no whining, no barking, and definitely no breaking out!
Bentley will experience a transition period when returning home into the same home he’s used to breaking out of his kennel at. He will be spending some time during the day at doggy daycare, and working on in kennel relaxation when his family is home during the evenings and weekends. We are working towards Bentley staying at home for longer periods, to eventually all day while his owners are at work.
One of the things I like to tell clients when dealing with this type of behavior, is the following analogy: if a child is so afraid of the dark, that he screams and screams when the lights go out, and you tell him to stop screaming or he’ll be in trouble, he may stop screaming. It does not mean he’s no longer afraid of the dark, he just doesn’t want to be in trouble. You still have to work through the actual fear. When dealing with separation anxiety that leads to destructive behavior, the first thing we have to do is stop our dogs form breaking out and hurting themselves or destroying the house. But it’s equally important for us to fix the way our dog is feeling, it’s not fair for them to be afraid every day.
If you’re experiencing separation anxiety or destructive behavior, please feel free to contact us to schedule your free consultation. Serving Rochester Hills MI, Troy MI, Birmingham MI and surrounding.