Bridget is a lovely, gentle and very loving Staffy adopted from a rescue centre by her devoted owners. Her history is unknown, but her owners quickly discovered that she found it very difficult to be left alone in the house. I was introduced to Bridget after she had chewed her way through £000’s worth of flat screen TV!
Separation anxiety is not a diagnosis as it may occur for different reasons. When dealing with this distressing condition the Animal Behaviourist needs to identify the cause of the anxiety before developing a behaviour modification plan to resolve it.
Dogs that suffer from being left by themselves may howl, urinate and defecate, destroy furniture and injure themselves trying to regain contact with their owners. It is a very stressful condition for both owner and animal. However, it can be resolved with patience, time and with the help of neighbours, friends, dog walkers and doggy day care.
With a detailed plan of ‘in view’ absences, relaxation training and a gradual desensitisation to her owners’ absence, Bridget slowly began to be able to cope with being left alone. It took dedication on behalf of her owners and weekly visits by myself in order to tailor Bridget’s plan to ensure she was never pushed over her fear threshold of being left.
It took 3 months, but at the end of that time Bridget was able to spend up to 3 hours by herself and the TV was safe!