How tech can help you solve separation anxietyadmin
As a self -confessed technophobe, I have to admit that it maybe took me a bit longer than it should have to see the benefit of using technology to help cure separation anxiety in my clients’ dogs.
I am embarrassed now when I look back at all the times I showed up at peoples’ houses, getting their dog all excited and then after a period of taking the history and background of the case, took the owners outside from where, back in the day, we would try to guess what their dog was doing by straining our ears for barks and whines!
The truth is though, the there has never been a better time to use tech to solve separation anxiety though as it is now more affordable and accessible than it has ever been before.
Fixing canine separation anxiety remotely
Separation anxiety is one of the few behaviour problems in dogs that most experts now admit is treated much more effectively when working remotely. Using tech not only allows you to access behaviour specialists in separation anxiety from anywhere in the world, being able to watch what a dog does when left home alone takes the guess work out of the situation, meaning we are much more likely to solve your dog’s separation anxiety quickly.
A good behaviourist won’t need to see your dog being distressed to diagnose the condition. The history gathering I used to do in my clients home can be done just as effectively on a video call and the leaving scenarios are more realistic when it is just your household involved.
You don’t need me turning up at your house and getting your dog over-stimulated when we can sit calmly on a video call and work through the steps together.
Essential separation training tech
All behaviourists will differ slightly in their approach, but these are the bits of tech I now couldn’t help clients without:
1.A smart phone or tablet/ laptop.
I actually use all three of these interchangeably – when carrying out baseline assessments, for weekly client catch ups, for observing exercises and for checking everyone’s’ exercises each day.
2. Video conferencing software.
I use Zoom to carry out initial separation anxiety assessments with clients and ask clients to add at least one device (smart phone/ tablet/ computer). A second device is recommended though so we can all see what the dog is up to when the owners leave. Any app or software that supports video and audio and allows for adding of more than one device work fine though!
3. A messaging app.
Because I work with quite a few separation anxiety dogs at any one time, it great to get updates, headsups, comments and queries throughout the day. Once an exercise is completed clients can ping me a message, or if they hit any roadblocks they can ask and I can answer much more quickly and effectively than if I had to wade through my email inbox!
Using tech to help your dog
If you are working without the help of a separation anxiety specialist, the best piece of advice I can give you is to make sure you are able to watch your dog closely when you leave them. Don’t leave it to chance that they are okay, especially if you have seen incidences where they bark, toilet in the house or are destructive when left home alone.
Training your dog to be okay when home alone takes time and attention to detail, and nothing will make this easier than having a camera or two through which you can watch your home alone pup.
This tech solution doesn’t have to be expensive, most people have a smart phone and tablet or computer, and many of us even have older smart phones knocking around that aren’t great for everyday use but will happily run an app like WhatsApp or Zoom. If you can splash out a few pounds, there are some great pet cams on the market these days which will link to an app on your phone. These can be picked up for as little as £30 / $40.
The best thing about using a dedicated pet camera is that you don’t have to set it up everything you do separation training, and many of them also have night modes, two way audio and are also motion-activated so will help you skip the many (hopefully!) boring minutes of sleeping dog, to see what they get up to when awake and moving around.
So there you have it, the future of separation training is virtual! Pair your cameras with a solid training plan and a keen eye for dog behaviour and you’ll have your dog feeling better about being home alone in no time!