Review: Separation Anxiety/Aggression

separation anxiety in dogsHello, our names are Kevin and Lucinda.  The dogs are Toby, Maggie and Roxy.

This is just to say that we have had very good progress with our animals after speaking with Jim Burwell and having 3 lessons with him

We have issues with aggression displacement as well as anxiety issues and barking at the door when somebody comes over.

The progress we have made has been substantial to a point obviously there is additional work to be done which is always our part but the progress that we’ve made so far is a good mark and that something that we can work forward with.

Just like to say that we appreciate it.  Thank you.

Listen to their testimonial Landreth Memo

Review: Separation Anxiety in Dogs

separation anxiety in dogs

Separation anxiety takes work, but the training works

We were at our wit’s end with our Brandy when we found Jim.  I just googled “best dog trainer in Houston” and there he was!  Brandy is our older rescue Boxer girl who suffered from severe separation anxiety.  The fear in her eyes when we left her even for a minute was heart-breaking, plus she had unacceptable behaviors that we simply could not abide when she was left alone, even when left in her kennel.
When Jim had his first visit with us, he was totally prepared with written information for us to read and exercises for us to do with Brandy every day.   He was so kind to Brandy (and us), and she took to him immediately.  We were so afraid that whatever had caused Brandy’s anxiety was so ingrained that she might not ever lose the fear that enveloped her whenever she was left alone.  But  Jim was always positive with us and assured us that this problem could be overcome.  

Jim was very up-front about the need for us to follow his protocol and do our daily homework with Brandy.  Plus, he was available to us between visits if we had questions and problems which made us feel so much more comfortable with the process.
Our final meeting with Jim was today, and we could not be more pleased with the results.   Everything in Jim’s plan worked just like he said it would  and Brandy is a completely different dog than she was just a few short weeks ago. 

It’s just an amazing and wonderful situation for us all.   Jim is simply the best at what he does, and I recommend Jim Burwell’s Petiquette to anyone who has dog training needs.

Separation Anxiety in Dogs – Causes and Cures

There are multiple reasons dogs can develop separation anxiety. Two of the most common are:

1) A dog is not allowed to learn “alone time.” This is usually the result of a member of the family constantly being with the dog or taking the dog with them whenever they leave. Dogs need to learn how to be alone. This alone time training should begin immediately when you get your dog or puppy. Most people get a new dog or puppy and plan to spend an entire weekend or a week’s vacation consumed with making the dog feel “part of the family”. This is all well and good, but you must allow the dog to be alone. Start out by crating the dog and leaving the room for 5 minutes. Do not return unless the dog/puppy is quiet. If you return when the dog or puppy is barking, whining or crying you have just told the dog that behavior works – it gets you back in its sight. The dog is now controlling your goings and comings.

Begin extending his alone time, incorporating actually leaving the house for extended periods of time. Do NOT make a big fuss when you either exit the house or return home. Departures and arrivals needs to be low key so you dog does not attach any “special” meaning to them.

2) Another factor in dogs having separation anxiety is lack of structure in the home. Dogs are very much like children, they do very well when they know what is expected of them, the rules never change and they need to say “please” for the things they want that have high value. Basic obedience such as simple sits and downs can work wonders in adding structure and leadership role into your relationship with your dog.


Dog Training: Your dog and your emotions

Here are some facts about relationships with our dogs other trainers are most likely not teaching or sharing with you that, if known, could change your perspective about your dog and your approach to training:

  • 99% of what goes on between us and our puppies and dogs is emotional. There is very little intellectual exchange between us.
  • When you think about it, if they weren’t so sensitive to our feelings, we probably wouldn’t have them as pets.
  • Puppies and dogs do not do well with emotional energy. Too much love and affection can nurture their insecurity. On the other end of the spectrum of emotional energy is anger, panic, excitement, yelling and screaming.  This energy only provides your puppy or dog with an unstable environment filled with anxiety and tension.
  • When puppies or dogs feel emotionally insecure about their  relationships with us, they become frustrated and anxious.
  • Your puppy or dog then tries to relieve the tension caused by the frustration in his relationship with you and that’s when behavioral problems occur.

Understanding how to become a strong leader emotionally is important to having a well balanced puppy that will stay balanced into and throughout adulthood. As we look at how we interact with our dogs on a daily basis, remember this: *  Your feelings are emotions and translate to energy – your dog interprets your energy.

  • Your energy translates into actions – your dog responds  to your actions.
  • When you train or correct your dog, he connects the emotion of that energy you cause him to feel in that moment to that specific behavior or correction.
  • Dogs are less reactive to calm, emotional energy.
  • Your calm energy helps to relieve the anxiety and tension in your home environment.
  • Teach your children to help provide your puppy or dog  with a tension-free environment which will in turn alleviate  many dog problems in the future.

Here are some of my “trainer tips” that will help you on your way to becoming an expert on emotional leadership:

  • Don’t involve your dog in excited departures or arrivals. This tends to cause him to have emotional highs at important, critical times of the day which in turn can lead to disorders such as separation anxiety.
  • An added complication is that dogs who demand, and get,  free pets and praise all the time will tend to miss their  owners more when owners leave home. Do ignore our dog for  5 minutes prior to departure and upon arriving home.
  • By consistently doing this, you will level out your dog’s emotional highs as they tend to contrast too sharply with his alone time while you are gone. After 5 minutes, simply and quietly ask for a sit – then greet your dog with love and affection.
  • Don’t “bark” (yell and scream) at your dog with anger or frustration when correcting him.
  • Do decide what you would prefer your dog do instead of what you are correcting him for and then train him to perform the good behavior.
  • Don’t placate your dog’s insecurities by feeling sorry for or coddling him (i.e. during thunderstorms.)
  • Do “happy your dog up” – that is, changing your emotional  state can change the emotional state of your dog through mood transferences.
  • Work your dog through happy sits and downs praising and  treating him for a job well done during his stressful  thunderstorm episodes.
  • Couple your calm energy with quiet redirects to appropriate behaviors like sits or downs followed by simple praise for doing a good job.
  • Engage your dog in 2 minute sessions of sits and downs 3  times daily to give him a sense of working for leadership  rather than being responsible for it himself as this is  a difficult emotional burden for dogs to carry living with us humans.

Behavioral problems occur because your puppy or dog is trying to relieve the tension produced by some frustration in his relationship with you.

“Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog, as you are the teacher of your children.”    And remember:  OPPORTUNITY BARKS!

Jim Burwell

Dog whining means dog insecurity

I had someone email me the other day with this question. “My dog whines all the time, everyday, everywhere, but she will not cry when she needs to go outside to potty so she pottys inside.” Further comments in the email revealed the dog whines on walks, the dog whines when she sees her owner, the dog sits at the door and whines. And she proceeded to go on and on. It was quite evident she was frustrated and becoming resentful of the dog.

My response to her was very simple. Her dog was insecure. Dogs that are very insecure in their “sense of place” in your home will mark territory to feel more secure and they will whine because they have no other way of dealing with their anxiety that is produced by no leadership on your part.

Here’s what I told her to do:

  • require your dog to earn everything that she wants from you i.e. food, toys, love and affection by giving you a sit.
  • require her to sit before getting on beds, sofas, etc.
  • require her to sit before walks
  • do daily regimens of 2 minute training session to give her a sense of working (because you as her leader requested the behavior)instead of feeling responsbile for it herself.

90% of what goes on between us and our puppies and dogs is emotional.  Very little is intellectual.  Keep your own emotion in-check by following these guidelines:

  • don’t involve your dog in excited departures or arrivals.  This tends to cause her to have emotional highs at important, critical times of the day which in turn can lead to disorders such as separation anxiety.
  • ignore your dog for 5 minutes before departing your home and 5 minutes after arriving at home.
  • don’t “BARK” (yell and scream) at your dog with anger or frustration when correcting a behavior
  • do decide what you would prefer your dog to do instead of what you are correcting her for and then train her to perform the good behavior.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children.  And remember—-“Opportunity Barks”