Many people have seen the excellent Channel 4 programme proving just how many more dogs suffer when left alone than we realise. Here is the link if you missed it.
Separation distress can be a dreadful thing for a dog, and rehabilitation is usually a very slow, gradual process.
Rodney has been in his new home now for a month. He had lived previously with an elderly lady who died, and one can image that he spent most of the time on her lap or bed. There was another dog also, so he would never have been absolutely alone.
Rodney is now becoming very attached to his new owners, so much so that if he’s dog-sat by neighbours or family he may still cry intermittently.
The more he is cuddled and carried about, the longer they never shut doors on him even briefly, the more attached I fear he will get. You can see from his photo that he is totally irresistible!
His two main issues are the separation distress and fear of going out on walks – possibly because he’s also wary of other dogs. He runs away when the lead comes out. At present they are more or less forcing him to go and to walk, but now we have a plan in place for them to do the very opposite.
We also have a detailed plan in place for working gradually on his panic when left. The gentleman had an excellent idea – he is going to set up a spreadsheet and tick off each tiny increment as it is achieved.
As time goes by I would expect Rodney to relax and become more carefree and even playful – just as two-year-old dog living with wonderful people should be.
NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Rodney, which is why I don’t go into all exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dogs (see my Get Help page).