Four the past four weeks, 6-year-old Black Labrador Jemima has lived in her new home. She lives with three other rehomed Labradors. All four are female and they all get on famously.

An elderly lady adopted her a few years ago. She had been brought over from Ireland in a severely neglected state.

They bonded. She very likely will have been with the lady twenty-four-seven.

Sadly, the lady could no longer care for her.

With no human company Jemima panics.

Jemima panics when there is no human at home with her. Leaving her with the three other dogs doesn’t do the trick. She is very distressed.

It has to be a person. Her preferred human is the lady, but any human will do.

While the other three dogs have a routine of going into their beds at night time. Jemima goes upstairs to sleep in their bedroom. She starts in the living room and usually going upstairs a ten minutes later. They would like her to sleep downstairs  but very wisely are giving her choice.

I suggest they go through the motions of settling her in the living room, giving her some fuss and attention. They can build on that ten minutes. When she  does come upstairs, they should not interact with her. 

Able to leave the room

Leaving her alone without human company begins with being able to leave the room without Jemima stressing.

They need to build a ritual. They can merge this with the existing ritual they have for the other dogs.

All four will be together in the kitchen, well away from any noises from the front of the house. One of the dogs, Hattie, would bark and that may unsettle Jemima.

They will get a camera. In order to succeed it’s important that Jemima isn’t left alone for one minute longer than she’s okay with. This is the challenge. 

Not left for longer than she can cope.

This is probably not to leave her at all initially.

To quote Julie Naismith early on in her book Be Right Back: ‘Training Separation Anxiety takes time. and one of the most critical aspects of getting a dog over the condition is that he must not be left for longer than he can cope.’

When she alone is at home, the lady will try walking around the house from room to room. She will stop a short while in each and ignore Jemima as she follows her. I wonder how long it would take for Jemima to give up following her!

An encouraging sign

While we were having our Zoom session Jemima wandered off into the garden alone. She could see them through the window. It’s different if she is the one to leave, particularly when she knows she is watching the only entrance!

The car

She also barks in panic when they leave her in the car. The lady has had to take her out with her to avoid leaving her at home barking. She may need to go into a shop.

What they’ve not tried is one of the other dogs to keep her company in the car. It has to be human company in the house, but another dog may help her in the car.

Early days

So they are only four weeks in so far. In all other respects Jemima has settled in beautifully with very experienced Labrador owners and their three other rescued dogs.

Four the past four weeks, 6-year-old Black Labrador Jemima has lived in her new home, with three other rehomed Labradors. All four are female and they all get on famously.

Jemima was adopted a few years ago by an elderly lady. She was brought over from Ireland in a severely neglected state.

They bonded. She very likely will have been with the lady twenty-four-seven.

Sadly, the lady could no longer care for her.

No human company and Jemima panics.

Jemima panics when there is no human at home with her. Leaving her with the three other dogs doesn’t do the trick. She is very distressed.

It has to be a person. Her preferred human is the lady, but any human will do.

While the other three dogs have a routine of going into their beds at night time. Jemima goes upstairs to sleep in their bedroom. She starts in the living room and usually going upstairs a ten minutes later. They would like her to sleep downstairs  but very wisely are giving her choice.

I suggest they go through the motions of settling her in the living room, giving her some fuss and attention. They can build on that ten minutes. When she  does come upstairs, they should not interact with her. 

Able to leave the room

Leaving her alone without human company begins with being able to leave the room without Jemima stressing.

They need to build a ritual. They can merge this with the existing ritual they have for the other dogs.

All four will be together in the kitchen, well away from any noises from the front of the house. One of the dogs, Hattie, would bark and that may unsettle Jemima.

They will get a camera, because in order to succeed it’s important that Jemima isn’t left alone for one minute longer than she’s okay with. This is the challenge. 

Not left for longer than she can cope.

this is probably not at all to start with.

To quote Julie Naismith early on in her book Be Right Back: ‘Training Separation Anxiety takes time. and one of the most critical aspects of getting a dog over the condition is that he must not be left for longer than he can cope.’

One thing the lady will try, when she alone is at home, is to spend time walking around the house from room to room, stopping a short while in each and ignoring Jemima as she follows her. I wonder how long it would take for Jemima to give up following her!

An encouraging sign

While we were having our Zoom session Jemima wandered off into the garden alone. She probably could see them through the window. It’s different if she is the one to leave, particularly when she knows she is watching the only entrance!

The car

She also barks in panic when they leave her in the car. The lady has had to take her out with her to avoid leaving her at home barking. She may need to go into a shop.

What they’ve not tried is one of the other dogs to keep her company in the car. It has to be human company in the house, but another dog may help her in the car.

Early days

So they are only four weeks in so far. In all other respects Jemima has settled in beautifully. She’s with very experienced Labrador owners and their three other rescued dogs.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete report. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog, you can do more harm than good. Click here for help