Please note that I am not taking on new SA clients for the foreseeable future. Please email me as I would be happy to provide a referral to another certified trainer.
Leave your dog home alone without worry
If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, you’re suffering, too. We can help.
If you can't leave your home without;
- Your dog panting, pacing or clinging to you as you get ready to leave
- Complaints from neighbours about barking and howling
- Coming home to pools of drool, destroyed furnishings, chewed up walls, doors
- Housetraining accidents
- Your stressed and panicked dog greeting you at the door
If this sounds familiar, your dog may be suffering from home alone issues.
Separation anxiety is a serious panic disorder that impacts the entire household—but relief is possible
Long believed to be untreatable, the last decade has seen huge strides in treating separation anxiety. Most dogs suffering from SA can learn to stay home alone without stress.
That means relief for you, too—no more guilt, worry, or frustration:
√ Go to work, run errands with the kids or grandkids, or play golf without guilt
√ Return to a calm, happy dog who’s napped peacefully while you were away
√ Come home to a home that’s intact—no accidents, chewed rugs, or ruined doors
√ Stop worrying about angry neighbours upset about the endless barking or howling
Separation Anxiety Private Dog Training Program
Program Type: Active, supportive coaching
Our trainer adjusts your training steps daily, maximizing your progress and support
How the Program Works:
1. Schedule a free 30-minute call with your trainer and complete the Prospective Client Questionnaire. During our call, we will discuss your situation in more detail and I will answer any questions you have about the program.
Following the call, it is up to you to choose if you want to commit to the 4-week program. There are no heavy sales pitches and no pressure. Of course, we want to help you. Our heart breaks when we hear some of your stories. But this program is not easy and does require your commitment, so you do need to be ready.
The 4-Week Program - Mission Possible
The 4-week program contains over 12 hours of trainer support, coaching and guidance!
1. You will receive an email with all the information you need to get ready for the Initial Assessment.
2. Initial Phone Consultation/assessment - You’ll meet 'virtually' with your trainer who will evaluate your dog’s case severity, talk with you about your goals, help you understand why your dog is reacting the way he is, and explain the process for treating separation anxiety. We will do a live assessment to establish the baseline.
3. Set up a Customized Treatment and Support Package - Following the initial assessment your separation anxiety expert trainer will create a treatment plan customized to your dog’s case and your lifestyle, and then she’ll be there to support and coach you every step of the way. This will include 20 customized training plans written for you and your dog and 4 weekly live re-assessments where your trainer will join you.
4. Breathe a Sigh of Relief - Go to work knowing there will be no surprises waiting at the end of the day. Enjoy dinner or a movie out without guilt. Run errands without having to take your dog along. In short, enjoy life with your dog anxiety-free for you both. Your trainer will be there for you, by your side, for the journey you are undertaking. Don't feel alone again.
Due to the unique nature of separation anxiety and it’s treatment protocols, we can work with dogs and owners suffering from this disorder anywhere in Canada, United States (or elsewhere) via Skype, Zoom or other similar technology.
Ready for Relief?
Not sure if your dog has home alone issues?
It can be challenging to determine if your dog has separation anxiety particularly when the symptoms are not severe. Sometimes we may see what looks like separation anxiety when really the dog is just bored, under-exercised, lacking mental challenge or just spending too much time alone. Dogs are social creatures, so they long to be with us. You know what they say - give a dog a job to do or they become self-employed. A self-employed dog is rarely a good thing.
Puppies can't have separation anxiety? Wrong! They can definitely have separation issues, but it is often really hard to know if we are dealing with normal puppy behaviour or the beginnings of home alone issues.
If you are not sure have a separation anxiety expert help you. Book a remote consultation and we will join you for a live, virtual-assessment.
Program Type: Behaviour Assessment
A remote coaching assessment
How it works?
Complete the Prospective Client Questionnaire when you schedule your free 30-minute call.
If you proceed with a remote consultation, you’ll meet 'virtually' with your trainer who will evaluate your dog’s case severity, talk with you about your goals, help you understand why your dog is reacting the way he is, and explain the process for treating separation anxiety. Whether the root cause is separation anxiety or boredom, there is no obligation to proceed with a program. However, if you do decide to commit to the initial 4-week Mission Possible program within 24-hours of this assessment, 50% of the consultation cost will be offset against the cost of the initial 4-week program.
Consultation Cost: $200.00 plus gst
Customized Treatment Program:
As a graduate of Malena DeMartini’s widely respected separation anxiety training program, we use an innovative program proven to vastly increase training outcomes. The best part? The training steps are easy and you can fit them in around your busy schedule.
We work together using simple remote technologies like Skype and Zoom to monitor your dog during alone time, making sure we’re moving at just the right speed. Ask her for too much too fast and we’ll lose the progress we’ve made. And why go slower than we have to? (Don’t worry—you don’t have to be a techie to use our protocols. All you need is a smartphone and a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a built-in camera.)
Each day your trainer will send you the day’s training steps via a shared online journal. You carry out the steps and record your results. Your trainer then reviews your notes and adjusts the next day’s plan accordingly. Need extra help? She’ll be there.
* Separation anxiety training requires an initial 4-week commitment. Due to the heavy levels of fear and anxiety involved, most cases do not resolve within 4 weeks. You should, however, see clear progress by the close of your first month of training. You can decide then whether to continue on your own with the skills you’ve learned or keep us on board for additional support and guidance.
Hanging With Hounds Success Stories & Client Reviews
Abby's family called me in to help them address Abby's separation anxiety. Life for families living with a separation anxiety dog can be difficult. It is upsetting to watch your dog suffering and you feel helpless to help them. You can feel out of control and guilty. It is also common to feel frustrated and angry because a normal life seems impossible. Even running a simple errand is difficult. We started Abby's behaviour modification program in October and finished working together at the end of November. Abby's family continued to work on their own with the tools that they had learned. Here is what they had to say six months later.
This is a long overdue update and thank you. We just got back from a wonderful 4-hour dinner out with friends. Abby could not have cared less that we were gone. In the last 2 months, I have had a family member in the hospital and I've been able to regularly visit her, get groceries, run errands and live a normal life because the hard work and hours you put in and the tools you gave us and Abby. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! Tara, Behn and Abby
Ready to help your hound learn to hang out by herself?
We’d love to relieve you and your dog from the burden of separation anxiety. Reach out and let’s get started today.
Hanging With Hounds Success Stories & Client Reviews
Meet Your Trainer: Sharon Labossiere, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, CSAT, CTDI
Few conditions are as tragic as separation anxiety. Dogs with this condition literally panic through every moment they’re left alone. Owners of SA dogs suffer deep guilt and worry about their dogs, and the stress of a destroyed house and angry neighbours. For these reasons, few cases are as satisfying as a closed separation anxiety case. I’d love to help you and your dog overcome this awful, life-disrupting disorder.
Before making a four-week program commitment you’ll want to be absolutely sure I’m the right trainer for you. If you haven’t already, you can read about my professional credentials, experience, and training approach here.
Separation anxiety FAQ
You probably have a lot of questions about separation anxiety and its treatment. Here are answers to some of the most common questions our SA clients have:
Won’t my dog eventually realize I always come back?
Without training, the answer is unfortunately no. SA dogs experience such deep panic that the learning part of the brain shuts down—the same way our own thoughts do when we’re deeply frightened. SA training is all about teaching your dog—slowly and systematically without ever triggering her panic response—that you do indeed always come back.
I have read or been told to let my dog just tough it out?
Separation Anxiety is a panic disorder. They can no longer control their fear of being left alone then I can control my fear of heights. They are not angry at you leaving and they just won't get over it.
I read that Separation Anxiety is not treatable. Is this true?
The internet is full of advice about separation anxiety. Leave out a food toy - that will keep them busy. Wrong! Spray lavender spray or put on calming music. Wrong again! The list is endless. While some of these things might work for some dogs some of the time, for most dogs most of the time, they won't. At best they fall into the 'might help, can't hurt' category. The trouble is quite frankly, while you are spending time and money trying all of the advice on the internet, your dog is suffering and so are you. Separation Anxiety is treatable. CSAT's all around the world have been treating dogs with separation issues and thanks to them, there are many hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs successfully snoozing away while their wonderful owners are out enjoying their life again.
Will I have to put my dog on medication?
I am a dog trainer, not a veterinarian. I can't and won't diagnose, prescribe or recommend medications. What I will do is strongly suggest that you speak with your veterinarian about the concerns you have. In some cases, you may need to speak with a Veterinarian Behaviourist or a veterinarian that specializes in behaviour. And yes, your veterinarian may prescribe medication in some situations. Many CSATs work collaboratively with a client's veterinarian throughout the process so that you have the best combination of medical and behavioural support possible.
Does this program require that I never leave my dog alone? If I can do that, then why do I need you?
So yes, this program does require that for the duration of the program, your dog is not left alone EXCEPT while practicing an absence exercise. However, the whole purpose of this program is to teach your dog how to relax by themselves, so that you don't have to be confined to your home. Living with a separation anxiety dog is hard and can be very isolating for many people. Wouldn't you like to be able to run out for groceries, or go for a hair appointment, maybe catch a movie without worrying? I am sure the answer to that question is 'Yes'. So yes, in the beginning, we ask you to commit to not leaving your dog alone While this seems daunting, it is possible. I have many clients who have done this, even when in the beginning they thought it was too much to ask for. Asking friends and family to help out, using pet sitters and doggie daycares make this very possible. It is not always easy, but it is possible.
Can't I just confine my dog to a crate?
Unfortunately, no. It is really common for dogs that suffer from this condition to have confinement anxiety. There is also a high correlation for dogs that have separation anxiety to have noise phobias as well. A panicked dog will go to incredible lengths to break free of a crate, often breaking teeth and injuring themselves in the process. But don't worry! The only time your dog will be alone will be when we are practicing an exercise and we will have 'eyes' on them at all times. Whew!
Would it help if I got a second dog to keep my dog company?
Unfortunately, the answer to this one is no, too. There have been a handful of documented cases in which a dog suffering from SA was comforted by the presence of a canine companion. But the vast majority of SA dogs, even those who actively enjoy the company of other dogs, are only soothed by human companionship.
What causes separation anxiety?
In all honesty, we don't really know why SA affects some dogs and not others. SA is an anxiety disorder that some dogs, due to temperament, are more susceptible or predisposed to than others—just as we humans have varying degrees of susceptibility to anxiety issues. SA is not a behaviour. It is not something your dog chooses. In some cases, SA is triggered by a traumatic experience. Common triggers are losing a home, a family move, a change in the family such as a divorce or death, the loss of a doggie companion, or a frightening incident such as a home burglary.
How do I know if my dog has separation anxiety?
Usually, the symptoms of separation anxiety are hard to ignore. These include howling, incessant barking, pacing, whining, over-zealous greetings when you return, destruction of furniture, walls and doors, elimination (peeing and pooping) in the house in an otherwise housetrained dog, injury and self-harm, escaping crates or trying to break out of the room, or the home. However there are instances when the dog does not have home alone issues, but still shows some of these same behaviours. Lack of exercise or mental enrichment, boredom, housetraining problems, too much time alone can yield the same symptoms but the root cause is not fear or anxiety. Your separation trainer can help you determine if you are dealing with separation anxiety or boredom and advise the right training plan to address the problem behaviour.
How long will training take?
It varies greatly from several months to a year or more for a dog with moderate to severe separation anxiety to learn to spend a full day on her own, but in most cases, you’ll be able to leave your dog for short periods of time relatively quickly. And the good news is that, although progress is slow in the beginning, done right it gains speed like a snowball rolling downhill. By the end of your initial four weeks of training, you and your trainer will have a good sense of your dog’s learning curve and progress speed. Many factors affect how long it takes to resolve the behaviour such as how long the dog has been living with the issue, the dog's prior learning history, genetics, client commitment, diligence, availability and management.
Can you guarantee that you will fix my dog?
As with all dog training, we cannot guarantee success. We wish we could but the reality is that dogs are living, breathing, thinking creatures and so many factors influence the success both during the training program and following its completion. Ethically we cannot guarantee success. In fact, I would be wary of any trainer that offers you a guarantee.
What happens at the end of the 4-week initial commitment?
As we approach the end of the initial 4-week commitment, we will discuss the next steps. Except for very severe cases, almost all clients will have seen progress. Depending on your goal, you may still have a ways to go, but by now you understand the process and you can see the first glimmers of your dog beginning to relax...sigh! Most clients choose to continue with coaching support. The price is lower as a lot of the upfront setup is not required, but the daily coaching and our weekly joint sessions continue. I will discuss the pro's and con's with you, but ultimately how you proceed is up to you. I will do everything in my power to set you up for success no matter what you decide.
You say that I will have to use technology in this process. I am not very technical.
Yes! We use technology to watch your dog real-time. You don't have to be very techie to be able to do this. With today's technology - laptop, tablets and smartphones, Skype and Zoom - a CSAT can help anyone, anywhere in the world.
Private behaviour modification and separation anxiety dog training in Calgary, AB or anywhere.