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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19595
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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She won't go in anywhere that she thinks I will be leaving

Customer Question

She won't go in anywhere that she thinks I will be leaving her. She throws herself on the ground. She weighs 130 lbs so I can't pick her up. This happens at doggie day out and the groomers (different places), both places she has been going to since a puppy (she is 6 now)...she is fine staying home alone...just won't go in somewhere she knows I will be leaving her.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is this new behavior?
Customer: yes, just since May...
JA: OK. The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Co Co
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Co Co?
Customer: no otherwise she is fine. She is totally fine once she gets inside and plays with the other dogs and once she gets inside with her groomer. It's just getting her to go in the door
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

Dogs learn pretty quickly what happens at certain places. What you need to do is change her association with these places. Now each time you take her in, you leave her. So you need to start taking her to these places when she isn't going to be left there. It will be difficult but you will start with obedience training first and walking on the leash.

The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

Now she already walks on a leash but we want to encourage her to walk right next to you with her focus on you and not where she is going and the things around her. I have pre written instructions for leash training so I'll include those first and then talk about how you will use them to help with your dog's situation. It is generic but gives you the tips on holding the hotdog slivers in your hand to keep your dog interested and by your side.

***leash training****

If your dog is pulling while walking then a little retraining is in order. If your dog lays down, it's a matter of getting your dog to want to come with you regardless of the leash being attached. You will get multiple answers depending on whom you talk to as opinions differ on the best method to solve this problem. Some experts will suggest a Halti (head collar). I personally believe in establishing control over the dog with training. I use a chain collar for training purposes.

Number one, put your dog on a leash before leaving the house. Make your dog sit or lie down before leaving. You walk out first and the dog should follow you out. With a proper walk, the dog should be right at your side or slightly behind. You dog should be paying attention to you, frequently glancing at you to be sure you haven't changed your mind about where you are going. I will be using the word correction. A correction will indicate a short quick tug and release of the leash.

If they won't move or are hesitant, stopping, laying down, a stinky, tasty treat usually convinces them to follow. I use almost paper think pieces of hot dog as the oil from them coats your hand and keeps the smell on your hand. Let the dog smell the treat in your closed hand. If they get up and come to your side, feed them the treat. Put another in your closed fist and let the dog smell it as you move forward. The dog should follow. If he normally doesn't move forward, reward him with a treat and verbal praise. Gradually increase the amount of steps he must take by your side, smelling your hand in order to get a treat. Before you know it, your dog will be walking right next to you all the time, with or without treats. When you stop, praise your dog with your voice or a few pats to let your dog know how good he has done.

Important note: If he starts to stop or lays down, do not give him a treat, as this will teach him that if he does that you will give the treat. Try to time it so that he is always moving forward when a treat is given.

Once he is walking on a leash, he may start moving in front or pulling away from you. Keep your leash short, but without pressure on it. If the dog starts moving away, a correction toward you should be made. This shouldn't be a dragging, but more of a tug to get their attention. Occasional treats help with this phase too. If they stay where they belong for a time, reward them. Once your dog is pretty much always walking at your side, you will want to make a correction any time they stop paying attention to you. For instance, they are looking at a cat in a yard, give a correction so they look at you. They are busy looking ahead and haven't glanced at you for awhile, give a correction and reverse your direction. Do not stop and wait for the dog, just a quick correction and reverse and walk. They learn to keep an eye on you as well as on what else is going on.

***end of leash training***

Once your dog is used to having those tasty treats in your hand, you will start practicing walking close to doggy day car but not into it and as long as she remains standing, give the treat and leave. Go around the block or somewhere else and then back again. Progressively get closer to the door until eventually you are going in and immediately leaving with her. Do the same exercise for every place she is sometimes left. The idea is to keep her guessing as to when you are leaving with her and when you are not. Don't forget to give her treats each time she acts appropriately. If she lays down, do not coax her with the treat or she will learn to lay down to get you to offer the treat.

A dap collar may help as well. They help with anxiety which may be contributing to her issue of being left. Pet stores and vet offices carry them as well as being available online. They are proven to help with separation anxiety.

I think you will find training will make all the difference.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.

Just a quick followup to see if you have had a chance to implement any of my suggestions to help CoCo with her separation issue or not. Checking to see if you found my suggestions helpful.