When Being Alone is Scary
Separation anxiety can be heartbreaking for human(s) and dog(s) alike. Anyone with a dog who can't be left alone quickly becomes desperate for answers. Unfortunately, there is so much outdated advice out in the world: use a crate, let them cry it out, maybe try a calming supplement, leave them with a Kong ... you may have tried one or all of these and your pup still panics when you run out to the grocery store.
I am a Certified Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer™, personally trained by SA expert Julie Naismith, author of Be Right Back! How to Overcome Your Dog's Separation Anxiety and Regain Your Freedom. Utilizing many of the same up-to-date and scientifically proven techniques psychologists use to treat phobias and fears in humans (SA is a panic-inducing phobia of being alone), PPD can offer hope to dogs suffering from SA and their humans.
My Separation Anxiety Story
I know first-hand how hopeless it can seem. Seven years ago I brought home an adorable little rescued Dorkie (Dachshund / Yorkshire Terrier) Jasper. He seemed to adapt to his new life quite nicely ... until I left him alone for the first time. I only made it to the parking lot of the apartment complex before I heard him howling.
He howled and barked for hours whenever he was left alone. I left the house less and less, finally leaving just for work. Being held hostage in my own home by an admittedly very cute 14 pound fluff-ball was not what I had bargained for. Every time I got home from work, I expected to see a notice from management on my apartment door.
I enlisted the help of a very respected trainer near me. They had me pick up my keys and put them down, put on my shoes and take them off, reach for my coat, randomly walk out the door then back in throughout the day. When I left I was to put Jasper in his crate and let him cry it out. None of that made a dent in Jasper's distress.
Over the next year, we handled Jasper's SA as best we could. We basically randomly threw things at the proverbial wall to see what might stick. Eventually we got Jasper to the point where he felt safe being alone, but it was a long process filled with anxiety and stress for both of us. I knew there had to be a better way.
The Better Way
Several years later, I became interested in pursuing dog training as a career. I attended the 2021 Geek Week, a five-day virtual conference presented by the Pet Professional Guild. I signed up for a presentation by Julie Naismith, one of the most internationally recognized experts on separation anxiety. Her presentation was truth bomb after truth bomb. She invited us to shadow her as she worked with a real-life client (SA training is all done virtually, so we hopped onto her Zoom calls). Watching her work was a revelation. I instinctively knew hers was the better way I had wished for.
Zoom ahead, I got my VSA certification and then was able to apply for a spot in Julie's 2022 SA Pro Trainer™ class. I was accepted and had eight weeks of mind-blowing instruction and mentoring with Julie and her amazing team. My Certified SA Pro Trainer™ (CSAPT) title is one of my proudest achievements.
SA Training the CSAPT™ Way
Coming Soon. Under Construction.