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DEALING WITH DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY
Separation anxiety is a heart breaking syndrome of behaviours that causes profound distress to dogs and owners alike. It results in damaged furniture, indoor toileting, barking and howling, and can even lead to dogs hurting themselves in their panic at being left alone. It takes away freedom, and taints the otherwise joyful experience of owning a dog. But it can be fixed, and I would like to show you how.
“THERE IS A SOLUTION, AND IT IS SIMPLER THAN YOU THINK”
Meet your Dog Separation Anxiety Specialist
Hi, my name is River McDonald and I am a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist with a master’s degree (MSc) and over 20 years experience working with dogs. Me and my team of dog experts are here to support you tirelessly to free yourself and your dog from the misery of separation anxiety. After helping hundreds of dog owners just like you, I am confident we can get you on the right track. So confident in fact, I even offer a money back guarantee.
Like many owners, you have probably already spent a lot of time and money on your dog’s separation anxiety. You just want to help them, but with so much conflicting advice it is hard to know whether you are making any real progress. Owning a dog you can’t leave is exhausting, expensive and isolating. But you don’t have to do this alone: there is a solution, and it is simpler than you think.
We have worked with so many people whose journey to freedom started right where you are now. If you are ready to stop googling and share your burden, we are ready to design your BESPOKE SEPARATION TRAINING PLAN AND GIVE YOU ALL THE SUPPORT NEEDED TO PUT IT INTO ACTION!
TRY MY 4 WEEK DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY TRAINING STARTER PACKAGE
With my 4 week package, you will enjoy the benefit of a programme individually tailored to you and your dog. You’ll get a professional assessment of your dog’s condition, weekly video calls and Whatsapp support, and most importantly, bespoke training exercises designed to progress your furry friend at a pace that sets them up for success! All of these benefits are included for the bargain price of £480.
Dog separation anxiety is a tough problem to solve, and whilst it is incredibly rare to fix the problem in just a few short weeks, my 4 week package will give you the tools and confidence you need to keep making progress and get back to the life you’ve been dreaming of!
Best of all, I work the package through video link and online support, so wherever you are in the world I can help. Simply click the button below to get started, or read on if you would like to know more.
YOU LOVE YOUR DOG BUT YOU FEEL LIKE THEY ARE RUINING YOUR LIFE
First of all, I would like to say I know where you are at right now. You love your dog but you feel like they are ruining your life: stressing you out, and costing you a small fortune in treatments and care for the times when you just can’t be around.
If they’ve got it really bad, going to the next room or taking a shower in peace have probably become distant memories – something other dog owners can do but not you.
Even pre-lockdown, you’d long since said goodbye to spontaneity, big nights out, and nipping to the shop for that missing ingredient or a pint of milk. And as the world starts to return to “normal” you are dreading leaving your dog more than ever. You know the past few months will have made things worse, not better.
You may even be amongst the large group of dog owners who didn’t see a problem before lockdown, but you know your dog and you know how much they have loved having you home these past weeks. You are desperate to get back to normal life – meeting friends, going to the pub or a café, even seeing work colleagues again. You need to make your dog understand everything is going to be okay – so how are you going to do this? And what if it doesn’t work?
BEFORE you waste any more time or money on quick fixes, books, herbal remedies or pheromone treatments, AND
BEFORE you spend another minute beating yourself up for not being able to solve this problem, I need you to know TWO things:
IT. IS. NOT. YOUR. FAULT.
The reasons why a dog develops separation anxiety can been many, and complex, but despite what your friends and family tell you it is not because you “love them too much” or “spoil them”. And it is definitely not because you are refusing to use a “tough love” approach and let them cry it out.
IT’S A REALLY TOUGH PROBLEM.
It would be dishonest of me to tell you there is an easy way out, BUT I do strongly believe that by being your ally and creating a tailored training experience for you and your dog, we can get you quickly and painlessly on the right track, Then all you need to do is keep going!
You’ve been putting in a great deal of effort to try and make things work so far, and that alone takes strength and courage. Separation anxiety owners tend to be some of the most dedicated owners and by applying that commitment in the right places, I will show you what progress really looks like.
HOW MY 4 WEEK DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY PACKAGE WORKS
When you’re dealing with destroyed furniture, pee or poop on your carpet, or upset neighbours who are threatening to call the council over your poor pooch’s howling, it can easily seem like there is no possible way out of the situation you are in. But I can promise there are MANY, we just have to find the one that is right for your dog.
It may not seem like it, but all of these behaviours show just how much your dog needs your help. They are suffering just as much as you and research has shown us time and again just how damaging it can be when an animal (or human!) suffers chronic stress. It is very rare for separation anxiety to cure itself, and sadly many dogs not receiving the right treatment deteriorate and start showing cracks in their behaviour outside the home too.
With my help, in the first 4 weeks Cleo achieved enough home alone time for Claire to pop out to the local corner shop. By month two they were well on their way to an hour of stress free, relaxed time apart!
“Cleo had lots of issues when she arrived from Cyprus, including separation anxiety. I started to do some of the training on my own but found I was guessing a little and struggling to keep motivated. I felt a bit hopeless to be honest, and it was hard to see how my little shadow would ever be left alone, given she initially couldn’t cope well even for short periods of time like taking a shower!
The best bit about River’s method for treating separation anxiety is her patience she is very sympathetic and always reminding me of the end goal and giving me lots of confidence it is achievable. River brings the discipline I was lacking without putting me off. She loves Cleo even though she hasn’t met her and she wants to see us succeed as much as I want to be able to get out long enough to go to the shops!” Claire & Cleo, Edinburgh 2020.
Is it possible to “Cure” dog separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety, also known as “separation distress” or “separation related behaviours” is an umbrella term, meaning it is used to describe a wide range of symptoms but does not provide a definitive “diagnosis” as to the source of your dog’s problem. Because separation anxiety talks about symptoms and not any one underlying condition, we don’t focus on a “cure” as it were, but rather on measurable improvements in behaviour over time.
If you arrived on this page because you are looking for a quick fix for your dog’s separation anxiety, I am afraid I have to be honest with you and say there really is no rapid cure for this condition. Anyone promising to cure your dog’s separation anxiety immediately is either going to advocate punishing, frightening, or even hurting your dog, or try to sell you an expensive remedy. Possibly both. They also probably don’t understand what canine separation anxiety really is.
I appreciate why you would want to look for a quick fix though, and I am ready to work with you even if you are reading this and thinking time is not on your side. You need your life back, and you need your dog to be okay, and together we can work through the overwhelm and get things back on track.
The “cure” for separation anxiety is not a “cure” at all, but a gradual process of exposing your dog to the thing they fear the most – being left alone. By working in small, careful steps following your tailored separation anxiety training plan, we will teach your dog there is nothing to be afraid of. By addressing the underlying causes of your dog’s problem behaviours, we remove the need for them to engage in them – and voile! No more howling the house down or chewing through the walls and furniture!
TREATING SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS: WHAT
If you have spent any time on the internet, or asking friends and family you will probably have come across many of these treatments for separation anxiety in dogs. You may even have tried some but feel less than confident about the results. THE TRUTH IS: SOME OF THESE ARE GOOD TACTICS, AND SOME ARE GOING TO CAUSE YOU TO FAIL. Some will work for other dogs, but not yours. Some will make the job harder and others easier. By working with a dog separation anxiety specialist like me, you can ensure you are on the best training programme for your dog, and kick start your separation anxiety training with confidence!
Ready to get started?
Book your 4 weeks package for only £480
MONEY BACK GUARANTEE
Like many other behaviour counsellor, I do what I do because I care. I don’t do it because it is easy money – it isn’t! I am right there with you and your dog. I feel for you and work hard to help you support them in learning to feel safe and calm in your absence.
Besides this, I have every confidence that the programme I use really works, and will give you the tools to combat separation anxiety going forward. If at the end of the 4 weeks, after fully engaging with the programme and completing at least 12 exercises, you do not feel that it has been of help I will be happy to refund your money.
Over the course of your 1 month programme you will receive:
- Your initial 1 hour video assessment call (via Zoom), to evaluate the level of your dog’s problem and appropriate starting point for their programme;
- A recording of your initial video assessment and recommendations;
- Your personalized training exercises (the total number provided will depend both on my recommendations and on how many you want to do – we usually aim for 4-5 per week, so around 16-20 over the course of the month but it is entirely up to you – and of course your dog!)
- Three half hour follow up calls (via Zoom) in weeks 2, 3 and 4 of your programme (so we can catch up and keep everything on track!);
- Monday to Friday Whatsapp support – ask me any questions or let me know when you’ve done your exercises!
- Supporting notes, handouts and references where appropriate to the individual case.
Because I am so confident you will want to book the month’s package, but I know you’re probably torn about where to invest your money, I offer a full no-quibble refund if you don’t feel confident after our first video call.
On booking your initial call, you pay ONLY for your initial call. If you are not completely satisfied afterwards there is no obligation to continue and you can request a full refund, no questions ask (although feedback is always welcome!).
On receiving your first exercise you will receive an invoice for the remainder of the month’s programme. You then have 48 hours to pay the balance and activate the rest of your package.
The COVID lockdown has allowed me to appreciate just how much more effective remote support packages are! In the old days, if I was visiting your house to assess your dog, we would have a chat and then we would either leave and watch your dog on camera or I would factor this into the training plan. So this way we can much more quickly and effectively assess the situation without my presence potentially influencing your dogs behaviour. I get to see them as natural and as close to their normal setup as possible, which is of huge benefit!
If you need extra help getting set up for video calls, we would be more than happy to help. On booking you will receive setup instructions and our contact details should you require further help getting things ready. Don’t worry, we’ve got you!
There are very few situations in which SA will “just go way” and in those where there isn’t a concerted effort from the owner my suspicion is always that it was never truly separation anxiety in the first place (boredom can easily be mistaken for SA, for example). Our initial assessment call will pick up if there is a problem other than separation anxiety, and I will advise if this is the case and provide if requested an alternative treatment plan.
Sadly, more often than not I see a delay in treatment resulting in a delay in recovery, and in many cases it becomes harder for the dog to recover, recovery is unpredictable/ unstable or is a much slower process. These cases are still treatable but take so much more time and energy and we often have to substantially lower our expectations for what the dog will ultimately be able to handle.
Anxiety is horrible, as you will know as you are living it alongside your dog. The quicker we can start providing relief from that anxiety the better it is for everyone
To say whether we can meet a target we first have to set one, and part of our initial process will be what we decide will be a “win” for you and your dog. We will set our targets together, so that we all know what we are aiming for.
When talking about “fixing” separation anxiety, it is easy to think of being able to leave our dogs without a care for several hours. And whilst this may ultimately be something a dog can learn to tolerate; we also have to understand that such a situation will naturally bring anxiety at a certain point (as you will know if you’ve ever waited uncertainly for a loved one to return home).
Lockdown has given us all a taste of how stressful it is to be trapped indoors with no hope of social interaction, no enriching activities, no freedom, and no constructive routine. We have video games, the ability to prepare snacks, connect to our friends remotely and even to access a toilet when we need to, however our dogs can do none of this and must await our return to once again have access to all of the things that give their lives comfort and meaning.
This is a huge ask, and dogs being wonderful creatures, can learn to tolerate our absence but they are never going to love it.
When I talk about “fixing” separation anxiety, I am mindful of the individual situation, and I like to celebrate each milestone as we meet them. The kind of targets I like to help people meet range from having a shower in peace (at home “absence”), popping to the corner shop (5-10 mins absence), leaving the dog until dog walker can come (30 mins), popping for a pint at the local (45 mins), catching up with a friend for coffee (1 hour), or coming home from work after the dog walker has dropped them off (3 hours). Obviously all of these are dependent upon individual needs and wants, but I hope you can see that it’s less about “fixing” separation anxiety, and more about helping the dog learn that these absences are normal, inevitable and nothing to worry about.
Starting with an intensive month means that I can pass on lots of useful knowledge and skills and give you the confidence to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to give you as much of my insight as possible to maximise your success, and the minimum amount of time to do this in, I have discovered, is a month!
It is so great that you are asking this question! You have probably realized that “Behaviourist” is not a protected title in the United Kindgom and what this means is that basically anyone can call themselves a behaviourist without even so much as doing a 2 hour course they found on Groupon!
To put your mind at ease, I can tell you that I hold a BSc (Hons) in Zoology and an MSC in Applied Animal Behaviour & Animal Welfare , and I am a provisional member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC). I am awaiting assessment for my clinical certification, which would give me the highest honour of being a Clinical Companion Animal Behaviourist (CCAB), but I am not there just yet (cheers Covid!).
Even more important than the bits of paper though, is the fact that I have worked on hundreds of behaviour cases and have extensive experience not only with separation anxiety in dogs but also with aggression, which is an area of behaviour work I am also very passionate about. If you have any questions about my qualifications and experience feel free to ask me at our initial video consult!
One of the most frequently asked questions and an area many approach with trepidation is whether their dog will need medication for their separation anxiety. I am not a veterinarian, and this is very much a discussion I encourage clients to have with their dog’s vet if we feel it is appropriate to their case. However, I do encourage clients to remain open minded as the right medication can be extremely helpful in giving a dog with separation anxiety the best possible chance at beating it. I won’t push you towards medication for your dog if I don’t think they need it, but I might suggest that we explore the options if I think it will help.
Many separation anxiety dog owners express regret that they didn’t get their dog on the right medication to start with, but I do understand the hesitations (and indeed lived it with my previous dog, an extremely anxious little collie). We will have thorough discussion about it as part of your package, and you can rest assured I will never judge you for any of the decisions you make about your dog. I am here to find what works for you.
The best way to start treating separation anxiety is to stop leaving your dog. I get that this seems counter intuitive, however triggering your dog’s fear response again and again only makes things become more ingrained.
HOWEVER, I do appreciate it is hard, if not impossible for some people not to leave their dogs, and so although this is not ideal, it is life and we work with what we get.
There are many creative solutions to suspending absences, so all I ask is that you do the best you can and understand that progress is likely to be slower if it is not possible to completely suspend absences. I know you are doing the best you can and I want to help you see as much fruit from your labour as possible.