Imagine you’ve recently relocated to a new city, devoid of friends or family who can assist with your dog suffering from separation anxiety. Or perhaps your work schedule doesn’t align with the typical 9-5 routine, and you find yourself working overnight shifts when pet sitters or doggie daycare services are unavailable. You might be questioning the feasibility of gradual desensitization training, given that your dog will likely exceed their anxiety threshold when left alone.
Decoding Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety Threshold
Before we delve deeper into this issue, it’s essential to comprehend the term ‘over threshold’ within the context of separation anxiety. In this realm, “over threshold” signifies the stage where a dog’s anxiety escalates beyond a point where they can respond to training or calming methods. It’s a phrase used to depict a state where the dog’s fear or anxiety has exceeded a level where they can remain composed or acquire new behaviors.
A dog that is “over threshold” might display behaviors such as incessant barking, destructive conduct, pacing, or other distress signals. At this juncture, the dog is too agitated to respond to commands or training techniques, and the primary objective should be to help the dog relax and alleviate their anxiety.
The Importance of Training
So, is it worthwhile to train your dog even if you can’t always prevent them from going over threshold? The answer is a resounding yes. Training lays a foundation of learning for your dog. Although it may take a considerably longer time to overcome separation anxiety if your dog consistently exceeds their threshold when alone, each successful home-alone training session contributes to teaching your dog that being home alone isn’t frightening.
Consider the alternative: allowing your dog to exceed their threshold without making any effort to alleviate their anxiety when left alone. This approach is destined to fail, whereas even infrequent training, perhaps only once a week initially, is better for your dog than doing nothing at all.
The Role of Medication
While medication alone won’t resolve your dog’s separation anxiety, it could aid in reducing your dog’s anxiety when you have no choice but to leave them alone, potentially exceeding their threshold. If you’re contemplating this, it’s advisable to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of medication with your dog’s veterinarian.
In summary, while managing a dog with separation anxiety can be daunting, particularly if your lifestyle doesn’t permit constant supervision, training remains a valuable endeavor. It may not eradicate the problem entirely, but it can significantly contribute to managing your dog’s anxiety and enhancing their overall well-being. Remember, patience and consistency are the cornerstones of any successful training regimen.