Six months ago they had to go away. They left their easy-going young Samoyed, Rex, in the care of a dog trainer.

They came home to a terrified dog.

Panics when the lady disappearsThe don’t know what happened. Now the previously friendly dog is very reactive to people coming to the house. He panics if dogs get too close to him when out.

Most of all, he panics if his lady owner is out of sight.

We experimented with various ways to help him relax in my presence and to stop barking.

They are dealing with his emotions – not the barking itself. Punishment and ‘No’ aren’t effective or appropriate when dealing with anxiety or a dog that’s disturbed in some way. Someone had advised a water spray. This may put a lid on it temporarily, but how can inflicting something that panics him further not make how he feels worse?

We will concentrate instead on the behaviour that they DO want.

When the lady gets out of the car, Rex panics

Getting out of the car is an ordeal both for the lady and for Rex. She has him hooked to the seat belt on the passenger seat beside her with their other dog in the back.

As soon as the engine stops and she gets out of the car, Rex panics. The lady may disappear round the back of the car for a few seconds. She can’t unhook him before she gets out or he would leap over her and may have an accident.

This is what I would do:

  • Seat him in the back beside their other dog – on the driver’s side (not in the front beside her).
  • When they get to the destination, turn the engine off. Open her own door but don’t get out. Feed the dogs. Shut the door again. Do this a few times
  • Now get out, and open the door Rex’ side, behind her, before shutting her own.
  • Then shut the drivers door.
  • Now get him out. Fingers crossed it works!

This is merely management and doesn’t resolve the issue itself. Rex panics whenever the lady is out of sight. She will work on that.

I wonder what happened to the sensitive Rex when the lady was away.

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 dogs it can do more harm than good. Click here for help