Author: Veronica Blanco

A black and white photo of a lonely medium sized dog looking outside the window.

There are various reasons why dogs develop home alone issues. We often think that we have caused it by the way we treat our dogs. Maybe that’s because we’re constantly being told “you spoil him with so much attention! No wonder he has separation anxiety.”

Is it because I spoiled him? Because I let him sleep on the bed? Maybe it’s because we treat him like a person.

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A close up photo of a black and white zebra.

Separation Anxiety seems like a buzzword these days, doesn’t it? It’s like all dogs have it to some degree. Heck, I have it with my own dog and he’s just fine at home alone! We don’t want to “over-diagnose” and we especially don’t want to “mis-diagnose”. We have to figure out if your dog is truly suffering from a panic disorder before we embark on a training program.

What might cause dogs to show similar symptoms?

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Won’t she just “get over it”?

Habituation is the technical term for “getting over it” and unfortunately, when it comes to separation anxiety, many dogs don’t do this very well. Instead, they sensitise; they become more sensitive.

Our goal with this program is to desensitise your dog to alone-time so that they can tolerate longer and longer absences without the anxiety they are currently experiencing. It is a gradual experience, as opposed to a similar (but also VERY different) technique called flooding.

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Dog choke collars, chains and shock collars used for reactive dog training laid out on a table

We are in the age of social media and opinions galore, and it can be overwhelming to try to wade through the mounds of advice on various tools and products to help us “fix a problem”. Reactive dog guardians are not immune to this! It seems like every day there is a new tool or gadget that promises to have a magical effect.

While I know that no one tool is going to work for all dogs in all situations, I certainly have my favourites. As the co-founder of our Cranky Canine program (est.2011) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, I’m happy to share them with you.

Here are my top 10 tools for handling a reactive dog:

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Drooling Dog

Now that we know why our dog is barking at other dogs/people on walks and we have an idea of the best tools to use, let’s talk about what we actually need to DO to make it stop. Because the root of your dog’s reactivity is most likely fear (if it’s not, it’s frustration and that’s a bit of a different story), we have to get to that root, that emotion and change it before the outward behaviour can change.

This is where Pavlov comes in. It’s so simple, you might read this and smack your hand to your forehead.

What is it?

Counter conditioning is a simple, effective training technique to change a dog’s association with an object, animal, or person from a bad feeling to a good feeling.

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