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Canine Behavior/Separation Anxiety Questions

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Dear Madeline, I have read you biography and I promise to read and rate your response within three days.  I understand that your time is valuable, that you are most likely spending at least 45 minutes of your time in response to my question, and I understand too that when questioners read and rate your responses fairly that you make random donations to animal shelters to help homeless animals.  In the interest of being appreciative of your time AND helping shelter dogs and cats, I agree that I will rate your response and give you fair feedback. - I think it's fantastic that you are donating to animal shelters, I do that pretty often myself, so I most definitely will rate your response, thank you so much for doing that. : )
Anyway, we rescued a 1 year old chinook, german shepherd, lab mix (we know her exact lineage because we had her DNA tested)
She has some separation "issues" when we leave the house for any length of time. We would love to allow her to be out of her crate eventually when we leave for work so she can move around as she pleases, but we are just not at that point yet. So right now she gets a kong filled with special treats (salmon skin roll, and other very healthy non-filler type treats) when she is in her crate. This is usually for about 6 hours a day. She gets walks 4-5 times a day as well, we don't have a yard so this is most of her daily exercise. We have tried leaving for small increments of time but we have found that 15 minutes is her maximum time she can be alone before she starts to tear up the house. Being a 60lb dog, she can be quite destructive in a very short period of time. I think its important to mention that we did have a reputable trainer come to the house, he confirmed with us that she is an anxious dog by nature (she was a stray before we adopted her so we know very little about her history). He wanted us to practice "Stay" drills with her so she can gain some trust and confidence being on her own. We can walk into another room while she is in the "Stay" command. But this skill has not transferred over to us being able to leave her out just yet. I wanted to know if you had any advice or suggestions on other training tips we can try with her. We are extremely dedicated and will do whatever it takes to get her into a healthier state of mind. We just want whats best for her.

Answer
Hi, Ashley,

Thanks for your question submission and for noting the Virtual Contract. Since you mentioned you worked with a reputable trainer, and it sounds to me as if he did what you also believe is a valid assessment of your dog's behavior as well as start you off in the correct manner with what sounds like the proper training skill(s), I would suggest you continue with him. Behavior modifying separation anxiety in dogs is a step-by-step process which can go quickly with some dogs, or take many months with others. In any such cases, there are too many variables to control as well as necessary frequent follow-ups at each crucial phase of training that would be impossible to appropriately address in this venue, particularly with so few details. Thanks again for your submission, I hope you understand why I've responded as I have as a professional. This is the fairest answer I can provide based on the limitations of this venue, which is no fault of this wonderful venue itself; what I know about the details of your situation (not that much); and, is also the fairest response for the reputable trainer who has put in some intelligent effort working in your behalf.   I do believe from a training standpoint that 'too many cooks spoil the broth.'. That is, too many training techniques from more than one trainer can confuse both the humans and the dogs, even if all the techniques are positive reinforcement based.  I do hope you continue with the trainer who does, indeed, sound reputable from the few details you've provided. Best of luck!

Madeline Friedman, M.A.
Delray Beach Dog Trainer. com
Ny-njDogTrainer.com

Canine Behavior

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Madeline S. Friedman, M.A.

Expertise

I respond to public questions only. I'm not a veterinarian & do not respond to medical questions.Suggestions: Submit a question in one area of priority, as what I am able to address in this venue is limited. Provide as much detail re: the behavior & issue as you can. Tell me how & if behavior is a change from previous behavior & when the changes occurred. Let me know what you think may have triggered such changes & what you have tried so far to resolve it, & what the results were. Let me know what you want help with & what are your concerns & questions about the behavior. I have set up a payment/donation to myself for responding to questions. I donate most of it to animal shelters & rescues. I keep a small portion for my time. The minimum donation is $25.00 on PayPal. When I see that a donation has been made, I will respond to your question. You will be prompted to make the donation before submitting your question. When you have read & rated my response fairly, which must be at the time you read it, I will refund $5.00 back to you IF YOU REQUEST that I do so in your rating comments. If I ask for more details, please respond as a "follow-up" & not as a new question. If I don't respond to your question, I will refund your donation less $5.00. DO rate me fairly at the end of our exchange. I will be pleased if you DO nominate me for volunteer of the month - why not, if I was generous in my response? I may suggest something you were not necessarily ready to hear, but I am honest in the interest of helping your dog, & that is my goal. Please keep that in mind. Please do NOT contact me privately about Allexperts questions through my e-mail or website unless I have invited you to do so. That is an invasion of my privacy - thank you for respecting it. If you would like to contact me for actual dog training & behavior consulting, you may contact me through my Web site.

Experience

Own & operate dog training & behavior consulting businesses, Hoboken Dog Trainer, and ny-njDogTrainer, in the NYC & NYC Metro areas since 2002. Work with thousands of dog owners & their dogs, & shelter & rescue dogs. Active volunteer in dog shelters and rescues (rescues being "no kill" and shelters being municipality-run urban shelters that can and do euthanize dogs). AllExperts volunteer in "Dogs, Category 701" and "Dog Training" and "Canine Behavior" since 2006. When you submit a question, please make sure it's being submitted in the appropriate category as I volunteer in two different categories. Make sure you agree to the Virtual Contract (the instructions I outline for question submissions) and agree to read and rate my response when I answer in the body of your question. I make donations to various animal non-profits based on YOUR ratings. If you don't rate my response, or rate it unfairly, you have just denied a dog rescue org or shelter a donation. Keep that in mind.

Organizations
Professional Member of APDT for five years Founding Member of Animal Behavior Associates Behavior Education Network Former Board Member of IAABC, appointed by Founder Former Member of IPDTA in Canada Founding member of Behavior Education Network

Publications
Chronicle of the Dog (APDT, peer publication, numerous articles) Popular Dog Series magazine, numerous entries AOL in Everydayhealth.com Tonowanda News Morris County News Vermont News Boston NOW New York A.M. Polo Trace Newsletter The Dodo AOL

Education/Credentials
Counseling Psychology, Caldwell College Animal Science, Rutgers University Master of Arts Degree Permanent New Jersey State Teaching Certification (teach public school and university level) Numerous workshops, lectures, and seminars on dog training and behavior Ongoing self-motivated study in my area of expertise

Awards and Honors
Best Canine Coach Award, 2006, Rondout Valley Instructor's Training Course Society of Illustrators, second place international competition Jellybean Photographics, second place international competition Fashion Institute of Technology "Commitment to Illustration" award

Past/Present Clients
Testimonials from a number of clients appear on my Web site at www.ny-njDogTrainer.com under "Reviews." My customers include: Puppy owners wanting to get their puppies off to the best start; owners of mature dogs who want their dogs to have more obedience skills; fosters and owners of rescue dogs or shelter dogs; customers with special needs who need to train or retrain their dogs; housetraining and housebreaking; owners who have behavioral issues with their dogs such as house accidents, aggression towards humans, aggression towards other animals, inattentive dogs, unmotivated dogs, overly-exuberant dogs; and, more.

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