Isolation Distress Part Two

Day two:

I woke up late today with a headache and was short three hours for training, which I kicked myself for later… It’s so important to commit to the plan and be consistent and not skip a day or miss an opportunity. It’s more important than I can even explain.

Even with a headache or a stomach flu, we’re still training.

I had to teach two classes today 1:30pm and 3:00pm and was starting to feel panicked. I called my parents and they agreed to come out and hang out with Mandog until I got home from teaching but they were going to be later than 1pm which meant he’d have to hang out alone for a little while, regardless.

I set up my Skype, did a few rounds of departure cue desensitization, gradual departures, left a surprise stuffed, frozen Kong on his bed when he wasn’t looking, and then took off. By the time the door was locked, he had found the Kong and was settled nicely on the bed without a care in the world. I got to work and he hadn’t moved. Five minutes later, the whining and pacing started.

The sound is awful. It’s a deep, mournful whine that sounds like what a heart would sound like if it were breaking in half very slowly. It continues intermittently for about 60 seconds and I debate going home but then he goes to his bed and resumes the Kongfest. Not a peep for the rest of the time I’m connected by Skype. Students start arriving and I hang up and hope for the best. My parents should be there in 20 minutes.

After class, I race home in a taxi (because clearly I have separation anxiety) to find out that my parents arrived and he was fast asleep on his bed.

Imagine my relief! This is great news. He’s starting to self-soothe and his stress is very short lived.

I have most of the day tomorrow to work on this even more, and then class and clients in the evening, so I’ll be recording him then to see what he’s up to.

Three stuffed Kongs in the freezer and fingers crossed!


About Caryn Charlie Liles
Caryn is a Toronto-based “people-trainer for dogs” and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). She is the founder of Whatta Pup!, a pet dog training company established in 2008. Seeing a growing need for specialized training due to an increase in aggression in Toronto, Caryn co-founded The Toronto Centre for Canine Education, specializing in “the socially-challenged dog”.

One Response to Isolation Distress Part Two

  1. enviromo says:

    Mom had stomach flu (or food poisoning) too this weekend. I’ve never seen anything so terrifying. Hope you’re feeling better!

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