Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Separation Anxiety Training Progress

I haven't talked about it recently, but Emmy is getting much better.  I have been working with her on and off the last few months for her Separation Anxiety (SA) whenever I have time.  On Saturday I found myself home alone with her, which rarely happens.  There is always someone in the house.  It makes it really difficult for me to do SA training with her when she knows that there are people around even if I have them hiding in their rooms or Christopher is still asleep at noon.  We finally had some one on one time so I snatched up the opportunity.  We started at her being alone for 5 minutes and then we tried 10, 20, and 45 minute segments afterwards.  I even went to CVS during the 20 minute segment to get my mind off of her.  I worry about her when she is in the house by herself and always look at the clock when I'm waiting in the car.  I'll post the things that I just happened to purchase while I trying not to think of Emmy in a different post.  I also went to get gas at Costco during the 45 minute session, but the line was so absurdly long that I turned around and left.  By the time the 45 minutes was up, she was a little huffy and stressed when I came back in, but she was fine.  I knew after the last session that she had reached her limit.  She was in her "Don't ever leave me again" mode.  There were no stress poops and she hadn't torn any bags.  She loves tearing cardboard and plastic bags, which I'm fine with because it keeps her away from furniture (with the exception of the bathroom, but she was trying to escape that time).  I was feeling pretty confident about her being home for 45 minutes with no signs of damages and what appeared to be minimal stress on her.

The next day we planned to leave her home so that we could go out to pho.  Usually we take her with us and leave her in the car, but with summer approaching, I really need to get her ready to stay in the house because the car will be just plain deadly.  I have a feeling I was just as stressed out about her being home alone as she was, if not more.  She had two Kongs stuffed with peanut butter, her While You Were Gone: Music Pets Love cd on, full bowls of water, and free reign of the house.  I had taken her to the park for some fast-paced frisbee throwing too.  While we were at the park I noticed that all the peanut butter from the training the day before had given her the runs.  I was so worried that she would get stressed out and poop in the house.  When I got back after a little more than an hour, the house was perfect.  There was no poop, no torn bags or boxes, and all of our door jams were intact.  Whew.  My parents were out doing stuff together so my plan if she pooped was to Resolve the heck out of the carpet (if she stress poops it's always on the carpet) before they got back.  Being her mommy, I took one big inhale when I walked in and knew she didn't poop anywhere.  I could pick out the scent of her poop out of a pile.  Gross, I know, but after picking up your pup's poop for so many years, you start to recognize the smell.  I comfort myself in thinking that it will make me less squeamish for when I have to change diapers if that ever rolls around.

My priority now is to get her at least used to being home for an hour or two while we go out to our weekend lunches.  Leaving her for more than that isn't even in the works right now.  We will take it slowly and see what becomes of my problem dogter.  From what I've read though, it seems like once you get your dog used to being home alone you can gradually build up the time that they stay at home.  We used to leave Emmy home alone all the time in NY and she got into minimal trouble.  I rented then though and didn't mind as much if things got ruined.  Heheh.  But now, being that we live in my parents house, I don't want her to ruin any of their stuff.  So for so good!

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