Rovers Return Training Academy

Separation (Anxiety) Related Behaviours - The evil that are predictors of abandonment

Your dog will constantly be aware of your behaviour and the environment and try to predict if you are abandoning them. I say this in jest (except it is true) Your dog believes that you are abandoning them! 

But you have to go out or leave the room. You can’t spend all day every day with your dog.

My dogs try to guess when it may be dinner time, if it gets to about the time when they think that they should be fed, they watch me like a hawk and any movement I make might just mean I am going to the fridge to get their dinner! They understand the lead = walkies! And they get excited. The picking up of the lead cues the behaviour as they get excited as they predict a walk. It is the same when you get ready to go out.  These are predictors.

Think about what you do before you go out, you will have a routine. It’s what humans do, we are creatures of habit. Your dog will know this inside out. 

So by the time you actually leave they have worked themselves up into a frenzy. The behaviour begins before you even leave the house. 

Think about your departure cues. These can start when you get up.

Which can be changed, or avoided? And which do you have to do?

Watch or video your dog and watch for the cues that go from coping to being aware to being worried. 

Working on the predictors alone won’t solve SRB or reduce anxiety.

A full behaviour history looking at whether anxiety overall plays a part, or a lack of calmness, as well as what, overall is driving the dog’s threshold of coping and putting a plan into place to build confidence and optimism, promote calmness and nail down and change the predictors will create an effective plan to work through.

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