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Separation Anxiety Diary Part 2 – implementing changes.

So our lovely animal behaviour expert Dr David Sands visited last week with a wealth of information about how to implement his behaviour programme – a programme that will hopefully help with Annabel’s constant soiling in the house.

There was a lot to take in, but everything discussed was handed to us in written form to go over again in our own time, and were left feeling re-assured and enthused to start. Some things about the programme we were able to implement straight away, such as re-locating the dog beds and clicker training. Some things would need to be gradually introduced over the coming weeks and days. A large part of re-programming our Annabel’s pattern of behaviour, means a big lack of attention for her around the house. Let me tell you: it is EXTREMELY difficult to ignore this face:

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Attention is given at specific times and in specific ways in order to break the cycle, and not just when madam demands it.

(NB – I do realise I am being vague in my description of what exactly we are implementing, but this is with good reason. Dr Sands has spent literally decades studying animal behaviour and modyfying his techniques. Each programme is adapted specifically for individual dog – and indeed family – situations. Our programme is specific to Annabel, but feel free to look at the information on his website , here.)

SO – two/three days in and although it was tricky to remember everything, there was no denying that we definately had fewer accidents. We were doing really well.

Or so I thought.

Four/five days in and we seem to have total regression. Not only with an increase in accidents, but now with the added pleasure of her whining – something she didn’t previously do in the house when she could see us.

Our new regime means that – for now – we spend less time with her at home, partitioning them off at certain times. This is not proving a popular decision, and although she can see us . . . she cries. And cries. And cries. I guess I can understand it – it’s a big change for her. But it’s not much fun right now, and I can’t help but worry if her anxiety level has simply gone up.

I know it is key that I have to stick to my guns. Essential in fact. But because we’ve had a bad few days it makes me question all of my actions. I read and re-read the instructions, and had a lengthy discussion with David over the phone (he is so very generous with his time and keeps the lines of communication open 100% – very reassuring), but for some reason I’m not yet feeling confindant that I’m implementing everything correctly. Mostly because Annabel never responds how we expect and keeps changing the goal posts.

This is hard.

I am anxious myself about getting home from work and what might be waiting for me on the floor when I do. I guess I’ll be re-reading the notes again and hoping I’m on the right track. . . . (and putting Dr Sands on my friends and family list for cheaper phonecalls!)

Got to keep on keeping on . . . I soooo want to crack this. Come on Annabel . . .

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