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Separation Anxiety explained.

Seperation anxiety is a personal growth journey for the dog owner to learn how to put the dog’s growth and needs above the human’s.

It is not about the dog thinking the human will never come back. It is a symptom caused by an addiction to being together with the dog’s obsessive possession, namely, the human. This unhealthy addiction is often conditioned by how the human has lived with the dog.

Very often, if we really observe carefully, separation anxiety can be seen in both parties — the human and the dog.

The human feels anxious when he/she cannot be very close to the dog. This unstable energy will induce and validate the anxiety felt by the dog when the dog cannot be close to the human.

Anxiety rehab is a rehab for the human as much as it is for the dog.

We are our dog’s influencers.

We can influence the dog positively or negatively whether we are doing it intentionally or not, and there is no mid ground.

How do we know which one are we?

The dog will tell you.

If the dog is thriving, you are a positive influencer. If your dog is getting worse, you are a negative influencer — even though you may think you are doing all the right things.

Many owners are unintentionally influencing their dogs negatively — and these are usually people who really love their dogs.

Do you always allow your dog to invade your personal space and reward this invasion with affection?

For example, do you always pet your dog whenever he puts his head on your leg, rest his butt on top of your foot, or insert his body in between you and your loved ones? Once you see your dog in the morning, do you always put your face very close to your dog and let your dog kiss you? Are you always snuggling, hugging, kissing and petting your dog reflexively and even compulsively?

Behaviours such as these can often turn the human into an object of obsessive possession in the eyes of the dog.

A lot of dogs who live like that will have to Velcro to the human at all time, they will guard their human from other human and dogs, and will have a meltdown once they are alone.

The human is the dog’s emotional crutch and vice versa. They influence each other negatively even through they deeply love one another.

When both of them are addicted to each other in such a relationship, they cannot stop, and often don’t want to stop, so they will both drag each other downhill until the human gives up the dog, or they are both imprisoned in their own little world.

Not everyone who treats their dogs this way will end up like this. There are many other factors and there are many kinds of dogs.

But if you notice that your dog is displaying separation anxiety, may be some protective/guarding behavior around you, perhaps reactive/aggressive towards other dogs or strangers, then you should really look into how you view your dog and how you have been living with your dog.

You have probably been influencing your dog negatively.

The good news is, there is hope. Once you change and become a positive influencer, things will improve and you dog can thrive under your guidance.

A positive influencer is one who will ask, “if l do this to my dog, is it going to help my dog to become better or worse?”

A positive influencer is someone who always has the best interest of the dog in mind.

They don’t just use the dog to satisfy their own emotional needs; they want to help their dogs to be the best they can be — even if it means they need to withhold those unearned affection, misplaced freedom, and excessive humanization.

When the human truly puts the best interest of the dog first, the relationship will become very constructive and productive — It is all about helping the dog to become the best he can be; it is all about creating something better.

In such a relationship, the dog will deeply trust and respect the human. A respectful dog will not look at the human as his possession and guard. A dog who is not obsessed with owning the human will not become severely anxious once the human is out of sight. That is how we can stop separation anxiety.

It is not only about seperation anxiety though — when the human is influencing the dog positively, the dog will thrive, and the human will have a wonderful time sharing life with such a reliable and well behaved dog.

It is a win-win for everyone.

Hope this makes sense.

Thank you.

Reactive dog board and train dog training with Vancouver dog trainer behaviourist Richard Chan

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