Remote training isn’t new in dog training. In fact, decades ago, separation anxiety trainers would drop camcorders off at their clients’ homes so they could record their training. Thankfully we don’t need to do that anymore thanks to technology improvements over the years!
And today, not only does separation anxiety training happen remotely but many training services are now better done remotely (even in non-Covid times!). Before Covid-19, I had already started doing fear and aggression consults remotely. There aren’t many qualified trainers who specialize in fear, aggression and reactivity, so I structured myself to be able to provide services to anyone for these issues, so allow people worldwide access to qualified, professional training. I was even featured in an AP News article about it!
The reality is, most of dog training is teaching the humans how to manage, live with and train their dog, since they’re with the dog all the time. Some services like puppy socialization is better done in a group setting but for fear and aggression, I do not need to see your dog growling or barking to be able to help them or help you help them.
So why does separation anxiety training always happen remotely? Well, while it might not be obvious, because your dog needs to be truly alone. Since separation anxiety is your dog having a panic attack when they’re left alone, in order to help them, and to see what their true behavior is, they need to be alone. If a trainer were to show up to watch your dog being alone, then the dog would know that person was there and the dog wouldn’t be truly alone.
Separation Anxiety is most effective when done remotely, within your own home, with the use of easy to use video technology. Video allows us to monitor the dog in a real-life absence. And in most cases, you likely already have all the equipment you need. You can use anything from your laptop, smartphone, tablet or an inexpensive, standalone Wifi camera. Don’t worry! It’s all really easy and you don’t have a to be a tech wizard to do it!
Separation anxiety, like other fear based behavior issues, isn’t just about training an obedience behavior like stay on a mat. Separation anxiety is a panic disorder, similar to when humans have a panic attack. It is not something that will naturally resolve on its own. We need to address the underlying phobia and teach the dog that absences aren’t anything to be afraid of. This will not be accomplished by crate training or teaching the dog to target a mat and lie down.
It’s also important to note that separation anxiety training is a speciality. Not all trainers have the qualifications or credentials to help you. I am a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, a CSAT, and only CSATs or SA Pro trainers have completed additional training specific to sep anx, so when seeking out a trainer – look for those credentials. You can see all of my education and credentials here.
If you and your dog are struggling with alone time anxiety, there is help. Separation anxiety can be treated. For more information on separation anxiety check my page here. You can also download some free separation anxiety resources here. If your dog has separation anxiety, you both deserve some relief, so schedule your initial assessment today!