Where's that Chance?I’ve dying to tell you about the progress of Blaze and her separation anxiety with Chance. She has went from having straight panic in her eyes that has turned in pure excitement. It has been so much fun working with her. Before I get too far ahead here’s a little background:
Chance and Blaze grew up with related families and their bond is one of the strongest I have ever witnessed. They were both abused and only had each other. So when one is gone the other is in a constant worry. Blaze's anxiety is stronger than Chance's and so when Chance leaves, say to go for a walk with Daddy, Blaze would fly into sheer panic.
I had heard to try and let the dog work it out for themselves. The anxiety only intensified, so I began with clicker training and had her sit, click and reward. I did this for some time, building on the commands. Eventually she began to come to me and sit on her own when Chance would leave. I was quite amazed at this progress. I added in talking in a soothing voice, brushing, and petting to give her the security she needed while also making it a game of waiting and watching for Chance to come back.
One day I was in the middle of a project that I could not stop and when Daddy and Chance left, Blaze wandered around a bit then laid at my feet. She wasn't whining or crying or pacing. I couldn't believe it. This was such great progress!! She was alert but her body and eyes were calm. She was confident and secure, not the manic mess I was used to witnessing. Something was working.
Chance, Shamance...Where's my treat?
Then we even took it a step further:
Daddy and Chance left, I was in the basement. I came up when they left. We did our clicker training thing for a minute. I told her I believed in her and that she could do this, I left telling her I would be right back. I went back downstairs to finish stacking wood and when I heard her start whining a little I talked to her through the floor and told her "just a minute." (a trusting phrase the dogs know) So when it was quiet, I went to say hi, talk to her for a minute, then repeated everything again. I can't remember when I have even seen her so confident and secure with herself. She was truly beginning to believe in herself and her pride was showing. It was awesome!
And it doesn’t get any better than that!