Separation anxiety, Pulling + Resource guarding

Separation Anxiety

Dealing with separation anxiety is a slow but steady path. Crate training can help with this, if the puppy starts as soon as possible with crate training. Putting the dog away for a minute to start off with. When the dog is quiet let it out and act as if nothing special has happened, the dog may get excitable but just ignore it until it has calmed down. This needs to be repeated until you can put the dog away for a good period of time without it crying. Using a toy and some treats to keep it busy while it is in the cage, or another room will distract it from the stress of being alone which will help. Some people also leave the TV or radio on so there is some noise for the dog. Not making a big fuss when coming home or leaving will also reduce the separation anxiety.

 

Dog food and puppies
puppy

Resource Guarding

Can be difficult to deal with particularly with older dogs, with a puppy it can be nipped in the bud quickly and effectively. Most dogs will respond well to the following training. The following example is with food but can be done in a similar way with toys and other resources.

Overcoming food aggression, can be fairly simple with puppies. With adults it can be much more difficult simply because of the potential damage an adult dog could cause. The ASPCA recommends ‘desensitization combined with counterconditioning’. This would be my recommendation for dealing with an older dog. Dealing with a puppy one could start by simply sitting next to the puppy and dropping small amounts food into it’s bowl. Once the puppy finishes what is in the bowl drop a little more, and as the puppy becomes more comfortable with your presence you can start adding the food while the puppy is still eating the last bits. Once puppy is comfortable with this you could skip to stage six of the ASPCA recommendations.

They go on to say that this is fairly complex and detailed. The ASPCA gives the following instructions:

Stage One

Stand a few feet away from your dog while he eats dry kibble from a bowl on the floor. Do not move toward your dog.

Say something like, “What have you got there?” in a conversational tone and, at the same time, toss a special treat toward the bowl. Continue to do this every few seconds until your dog finishes eating his kibble.

Repeat this exercise each time you feed your dog until he eats in a relaxed way for 10 meals in a row. Then you can move on to Stage Two.

During your exercises, if your dog leaves the bowl and moves toward you to ask for more treats, just ignore him. Wait until he goes back to his bowl and starts eating again before tossing more tasty treats.

Stage Two

While your dog eats dry kibble from a bowl on the floor, say “What have you got there?” in a conversational tone. At the same time, take one step toward him and toss a special treat toward the bowl. Then immediately step back. Repeat this sequence every few seconds until your dog has finished eating.

Each day, take one step closer to your dog before tossing him the special treat. Continue at this stage until you come within two feet of the bowl. When your dog eats in a relaxed way for 10 meals in a row as you repeatedly approach and stand two feet away and give him a treat, you’re ready to move to the next stage.

Stage Three

While your dog eats dry kibble from a bowl on the floor, approach him saying “What have you got there?” in a conversational tone. Stand next to your dog’s bowl and drop a special treat into it. Then immediately turn around and walk away.

Repeat this sequence every few seconds until your dog has finished eating. When he eats in a relaxed way for 10 meals in a row, you’re ready for the next stage.

Stage Four

While your dog eats dry kibble from a bowl on the floor, approach him saying “What have you got there?” in a conversational tone. Stand next to your dog, holding a special treat in your hand. Bend down slightly, holding the treat out just an inch or two in your dog’s direction. Encourage him to stop eating the food in the bowl to take the treat. After he eats the treat from your hand, immediately turn around and walk away. Repeat this sequence every few seconds until your dog has finished eating.

Each day, bend down a little more when you offer your dog the special treat so that your hand moves an inch or two closer to his bowl. Stay at this stage until you can bend down and hold your hand with the treat right next to your dog’s bowl. When your dog eats relaxed for 10 meals in a row as you repeatedly approach to bend down and offer him a treat next to his bowl, you’re ready for the next stage.

Stage Five

While your dog eats dry kibble from a bowl on the floor, approach him saying “What have you got there?” in a conversational tone. Stand next to your dog, bend down and touch his bowl with one hand while offering him a special treat with your other hand.

Continue to do this every few seconds until your dog has finished the food in his bowl. When your dog eats relaxed for 10 meals in a row, you can move to the next stage.

Stage Six

While your dog eats dry kibble from a bowl on the floor, approach him saying “What have you got there?” in a conversational tone. Stand next to your dog, bend and pick up his bowl with one hand. Raise it only six inches off the floor and drop a special treat in the bowl. Then immediately return the bowl to the floor so that your dog can eat from it.

Continue to do this every few seconds until your dog has finished all the food in his bowl. As you repeat the sequence, raise the bowl slightly higher off the floor each time until you can lift it all the way up to your waist and stand upright.

Repeat the sequence, but when you pick up your dog’s bowl, walk over to a table or counter with it. Then put a special treat into the bowl, walk back to your dog and return the bowl to the same place on the floor.

Stage Seven: Making It Work for Everyone

The last stage is to have all adult family members go through stages one through six. Each person needs to start at the beginning and progress through the steps the same way, always making sure that your dog continues to look relaxed and comfortable during exercises. Don’t assume that because your dog is okay with one person approaching his bowl, he’ll automatically be comfortable with another person doing the same thing. He has to learn that the rules work the same way with everyone. The entire treatment program above is gradual enough to help your dog relax and anticipate the special treats rather than feel threatened and become aggressive when people approach him while he’s eating. Through the exercises, your dog will learn that people approaching his food bowl bring even tastier food—they’re not coming to take his food away from him.

leash pulling

Leash Pulling

Is another issue that takes time and patience to deal with, with older dogs that have learned to pull, you need to work extra hard. The way that leash training can be done is by starting in the yard or a low distraction environment. Walk the dog and as soon as it starts pulling on the leash stop walking. If the dog moves and the leash goes slack again, carry on walking. If the dog pulls and keeps a steady tension on the leash walk in the opposite direction until the dog is walking loose leash and then reward. Verbal praise will help the dog understand what you are expecting a treats will help the dog stay close to you. So using these techniques constantly and patiently you will get your dog walking loose leash for longer and longer on walks.