#32: Separation Anxiety Explained with Malena DeMartini (Pt. 1) – Transcript

In this dynamic interview, renowned Separation Anxiety expert Malena DeMartini explains what separation anxiety can look like, and most importantly, feel like, for our dogs.  Are you worried that their anxiety is your fault? Coddled them too much or did you let them sleep in your bed? Didn't crate them or leave the house enough? Find out answers to these questions and more with this interview!

Want to dive in and learn much more? Our guest gives our listeners an exclusive and generous discount on the at-home Separation Anxiety program for pet parents!
Self-Paced Course: Mission Possible The online, self-paced course, Mission POSSIBLE is the perfect place to start your separation anxiety journey.  Moderated by CSATs, you’ll learn the ins and outs of Separation Anxiety so you can get started.

Sign Up For Mission Possible at https://malenademartini.com/for-owners/separation-anxiety-in-dogs-mission-possible-online-course/ 

Use code “doodle22” for 50% off

Listen to Part 2 on Episode 34 where Melena DeMartini outlines what works and what DOESN'T in treating Separation Anxiety.

I submit my Aussiedoodle Bayley for Doodle of the Week. I would say one of the cutest things she does that everyone loves is her head tilt. Bayley goes to the park every morning where she plays with a group of neighborhood dogs and one of her besties is Sebastian. At home if we mention Sebastian, sometimes she roams the house looking for him or this morning she started crying (she hadn’t seen him for a few days 😂) Bayley is a dog who loves dogs, and her Sebastian.❤️

– Kristy Gomez

Submit YOUR Doodle for Doodle of the Week!

Read Full Transcript:


[00:00:00] I have to tell you I was super fan-girling over today's guests. I could not wait for our interview to come. She is one of my training heroes and the expert on separation anxiety training. And today's episode, we're going to discuss what is separation anxiety and what it is not 

[00:00:20] Did the pandemic create an epidemic of pandemic puppies with separation anxiety? Or did it actually give those dogs a unique advantage? 

[00:00:30] In this episode, we're going to discuss what prevents separation anxiety from starting, what doesn't cause it, that you might've heard. Have you ever heard of sleeping in bed with your dog? We'll create it. bust the myths that are common about what causes separation anxiety. 

[00:00:48] And help us understand what your dog is feeling like when they're quietly or loudly expressing distress about being home alone. 


[00:01:48] Congratulations to this week's winner of Doodle of the week. 

[00:01:53]  Hi, my name is Christie Gomez and I'm from Chula Vista, California. We have an Ozzie doodle named Bailey. I would say one of the cutest things that we love and everyone loves is her head tilt. It's like her way of communicating with us, trying to figure out what we're saying. She does have a bestie named Sebastian.

[00:02:15] We do meet at our neighborhood park with a group of people that have other dogs, and she gets to socialize every morning. But Sebastian has a special place in her heart. If we say Sebastian's name at home, you'll either get her doing that head tilt or she'll roam the house looking for. It's very cute, very adorable.

[00:02:37] It's been a couple days that she hadn't seen him, so this morning I said his name and she started crying. So she missed her Sebastian, but luckily she was able to play with him this morning. 

[00:02:50] Congratulations. 

[00:02:51] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: If you think your doodle deserves to win this award? Make sure you go to that. Doodle pro.com/doodle of the week. And let me know why they're so deserving. 

[00:03:04] I am thrilled to share with you one of my dog-training heroes today. I shared with her earlier I am fangirling over here. I am so excited to introduce Malena Demartini, and she  is the author of both Bibles of Separation Anxiety, her most recent release,  Separation Anxiety in Dogs. The Next Generation of Treatment Protocols and Practices is amazing.

[00:03:33] If you're watching on video, you can see like all my highlights and notes and tabs. Just it is the best. So if your dog has been experiencing separation anxiety, the book really explains how it's not your fault and what works and what doesn't. And then if you're a trainer, it really gets down into what good plans are. 

[00:03:57] Stay tuned to the end for an exclusive discount from Milena 

[00:04:01] on her program where you can work independently at home. On your dog separation anxiety.

[00:04:07] Let's dive in. This is a fantastic interview.

[00:04:15] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And Mena, I'm so happy 

[00:04:18] Malena DeMartini: to have you here. Thank you. Thank you, Karen. I am thrilled to be here and what you are doing in the dog industry and community at large, but specifically also as the Doodle Pro is incredible. So I'm fangirling back, so maybe this is mutual. Okay. We're not gonna be blushing.

[00:04:40] Thank you. , 

[00:04:41] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: can you share with us you have a breadth of experience with dog training, but you are the expert on separation anxiety. If we go to refer to other experts, you are, who taught them? You run the separation anxiety certification program. We call them SATs. There's over 200 of them now worldwide, and if somebody's experiencing separation anxiety for years I've been referring them to CSATs and I just would love to know with all of the issues that are out there that our dogs could experience.

[00:05:15] Why was separation anxiety 

[00:05:17] Malena DeMartini: you're calling. I oftentimes say separation anxiety chose me. I did not choose it. And I've been working in the dog industry almost exclusively with separation anxiety now for over 20 years. And my very first case that was referred to me as a brand new graduate of Jean Donaldson's Academy for dog trainers was a separation anxiety case.

[00:05:49] Oh. And I was a newbie. I was as green could be. Yeah. And I, will never forget that experience because the woman first of all, she called me like, literally my phone rang. That doesn't happen anymore. Who does that?

[00:06:11] and and she said, hi my name is such and was referred to you because I really need help with my dog, Guinness, who has separation anxiety. And my immediate reaction was, okay who can I, refer her to? Because there's no way I am too new. I don't wanna touch this at all. And so I talked to her for a few minutes and then I said, listen I, really appreciate you reaching out. I think it's best because I'm a brand new trainer, and while I do understand and have been taught the basic principles of working with separation anxiety, I don't have the experience yet.

[00:06:51] And so I think it would be best if I referred you. Suddenly I hear. Start to ball, like literally start to cry. Oh. And through her tears, she said, I understand, but could you at least refer me to someone that will work with separation anxiety? Because you are the seventh trainer that I have spoken to, and all of them say I do everything but not separation anxiety.

[00:07:21] And that still happens today. It still happens. It's better today as it, than it was 22 years ago, but it, does still happen. Fortunately we now have people who specialize in separation anxiety, and so there are much better resources Yes. For people to, to locate. But I will never forget her and what I said after talking her through her tears.

[00:07:48] was you're right. I'm probably gonna give you two or three names. And all two or three people are gonna say, I work with everything except for separation anxiety. And so I said if, you're willing with full transparency that I am brand new and that we're gonna have to figure this out together, I am more than happy to work with you.

[00:08:14] And if it gets over our head we'll, figure out resources from there. And so I started working with her and Guinness and at the time we were using confinement areas and we, taught Guinness. Go to the pub. Guinness. Go to the pub. Oh, adorable. . That was his li that was his cue to go to his confinement area.

[00:08:36] Uhhuh, . And and we were very successful. There's a big butt that follows the very successful, so yeah. I was like, look at me, brand new trainer. I'm hot stuff, I think. Yeah. Anxiety dog and suddenly everybody I lived in the San Francisco Bay area and it was a very tight-knit training community. And everybody was like, great. I hate separation. I'm someone to send 'em to. . Now we're sending them to Mena. And it was interesting because I was high on my own success falsely cause the very second case that I took on where I applied the same thoughts and principles, crashed and burned, just crashed and burned.

[00:09:31] And I realized at that time, having all of these inquiries coming in, that I had a choice to make. And I had to choose either to say, you know what? I actually really don't know what I'm doing. That first case was a fluke. Yes. Or I had to really educate myself and really learn how best to help the dogs that were suffering with this condition.

[00:09:58] And that's the choice I made. And it's the, reason I say separation anxiety chose me because I would never have pursued this specialty just out of my own thought process. It took me 10 years and in those 10 years, hundreds and hundreds of dogs that I worked with, and all of them, every time I said in full transparency, I'm not exactly sure what will work, but we're gonna figure out what works for your dog, Uhhuh , and there may be some trial and error, but we can do this.

[00:10:31] And that took 10 years of basically research on on people's dogs , right? Consensual research. But and it was finally after about 10 years of working with, exclusively separation anxiety that I said, I think I get this. I think I get what, really is helpful and what really is not helpful.

[00:10:54] And things just grew from there. I published my first book and started moving forward and, doing many other things, including starting the separation anxiety certification program, 

[00:11:08] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: which we are so grateful for because as I am not a trained csat, I look to the CSAT s and the people that you've trained in your program as my resources to refer people to.

[00:11:20] And for those not in the dog training world, it is one of the cases, one of the categories that people say, I work with everything, but not that because it is such it's just a different approach and it's so distressing the dogs that are in this severe panic that it's just so different. And what I really love about your work, even in this second book, you base it on the data.

[00:11:46] There's not some woo-hoo whisperer 

[00:11:49] Malena DeMartini: thing. 

[00:11:50] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: You say in this book? We've learned since our next book, now that we have the ability to have these easy cameras that we can stream to our phones, our trainers can stream to their homes while the family members set it up. We have data that we didn't have before.

[00:12:07] All of your 200 plus trainers, they compile the data and you're able to learn from that. So the science geek in me just loves that this is based in research and facts, so we don't have to each dog guess where should we go with this? But there's some real methodology to it. . 

[00:12:26] Malena DeMartini: Yeah. And I'm a geek for the data and I'm a geek for the science.

[00:12:31] And and I, feel really strongly that there is so much, not just the experience that I had over the course of 10 years and, while that's very much worth something and then the following 10 years of additional experience. But also we have literal peer reviewed research that is in very much in support of the way that we work with dogs that have separation related behavior problems.

[00:13:06] There was 

[00:13:06] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: a lot of articles and little segments on TV that would talk about with pandemic, puppies, and separation anxiety. And 

[00:13:15] Malena DeMartini: people often have a vague 

[00:13:18] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: idea what that means. If you were to describe to a doodle parent what these sort of issues actually look like, how you 

[00:13:25] Malena DeMartini: define it, could you share that?

[00:13:27] You bet. And this is so important for a number of reasons, which I'll share after. But first and foremost, separation anxiety is a kin to a phobia. And by definition a phobia is completely irrational to those that are not experiencing it. Yeah. But incredibly real to the individual that is, which is which in this case is the dog.

[00:13:57] And so I'm very commonly asked by pet parents that will say, But I come home every single time, like, why does he not? Or she not understand that I always return and I just have to lean into. It may not be rational to you, but this is so very real to your dog. And one of the reasons that I think it's so important that we understand the incredible distress, fear, and anxiety that the dogs are experiencing is that as a dog guardian. It's very easy to say I'm really annoyed because my dog chewed up my carpet.

[00:14:43] I'm so angry because the neighbors keep leaving notes on my door and shoot. I just cannot clean up one more pee and poop mess when my dog is home. It's easy to throw our energy into frustration and anger. And we don't get it right. We, particularly when we don't get it.

[00:15:02] And that's why I want people to really understand that this is involuntary behavior. There is no spite involved. There is no cognitive I'm gonna get back at her because she left me. None of that. And if we understand that level of panic that the dog is experie. in an involuntary way. Maybe we can see all of those angers and frustrations and while they'll still exist, we can move that over to empathy. Yes. Empathy for our dogs because they are not trying to give us a hard time. They are having a hard time. And you share that empathy also for the pep parents. Oh, very much. That you didn't love 

[00:15:45] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: them too much.

[00:15:46] You didn't. And I definitely highlighted that in mine as like thankful So this isn't your fault. And there is such a genetic component that you have found in the research that's they come out of the womb 

[00:16:02] Malena DeMartini: this way sometimes. , they certainly can, and we don't know enough about the genetic pieces of it.

[00:16:11] We know a lot about what does not cause separation anxiety. We don't know as much about what does Yes. And that genetic piece is relatively recent, maybe about 2016, something around there where they discovered a haplotype. So for, general sake, a like a genetic marker that was associated with separation anxiety.

[00:16:37] And the thing that is interesting is while yes, they can come out of the box with separation and anxiety, they can also have this influence of what we talk about with epigenetics. Where they have, let's say, this genetic marker, but it will take a certain amount of environmental influences in order to turn on that predisposition that exists.

[00:17:06] So they don't necessarily have to start out as a puppy. They could be just fine for several years. And then some sort of precipitating event or combination of events could bring about the actual problem. And most doodle 

[00:17:19] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: parents get their dog from a breeder. Correct. And that makes it even more significant that you're going with an ethical breeder who is using something like poppy culture, et cetera.

[00:17:31] If you go to the nearby pet store, you can guarantee the amount of stress they've had, like since 

[00:17:38] Malena DeMartini: birth. 

[00:17:40] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And the deck is stacked 

[00:17:41] Malena DeMartini: against them even more. That's right. That's right. And it's amazing to me, the not just separation related, but the, research and information that is out there about pops that experience fear and anxiety while in the womb and how that impacts them going forward.

[00:18:04] And I, hundred percent agree with you that finding an ethical and strong understanding breeder is really what you need for any breed, but certainly yes. Yes. For doodles. Of course. Yes. It's so important. 

[00:18:23] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: You mentioned the causes and what causes and doesn't cause separation anxiety.

[00:18:28] Can 

[00:18:29] Malena DeMartini: you dive into that a little for us? You bet. So one thing that I want everybody to remember and for those of you out there that are science geeks like, both Corinne and I correlation does not equal causation. And really all that means is that things that are associated behaviors and environmental influences that are associated with, in this instance, separation anxiety, just because they're associated doesn't mean they're causational.

[00:19:02] And so we have a lot of interesting data about associated behaviors and associated instances in, environmental influences that are correlational. But that doesn't mean these are the causes and we have so little about causation. Yes, we know a little bit now about this genetic predisposition, but all the other things remain a little bit ambiguous, a little bit blurry.

[00:19:30] Here's the good news though. We know so much about what does not cause separation anxiety, which is really, it almost as important as knowing what does, right? Yes. And in 1991, there was a research paper done by a group of individuals and someone named Mc Crave and that was the first research, or to my knowledge anyway, that really dove deeply into do spoiling behaviors cause separation anxiety, things like sleeping in the bed with you, letting the dog snuggle on the couch with you, taking the dog on errands with you, giving them lots of treats and thing.

[00:20:18] All of these what, they umbrellaed under spoiling behaviors. They literally researched even bizarre, nuanced things like having birthday parties for your dog. I'm, it's so funny what researchers came up with, right? And they found that none of those were causational for separation anxiety.

[00:20:42] And what is so important about that research? . Not only has it been replicated time and time again, which is incredibly important for scientific research it's also so important because how often is your average guardian told you are spoiling your dog and therefore his or her separation anxiety is all your fault and you just need to stop babying.

[00:21:10] You need to stop codling, you need to stop spoiling, and that could be no further from the truth. And People really need to understand that because it's so important. Our dogs need secure attachment. They need us to be able to support all of their, not only physical needs, but physiological and enrichment and fun and affection and all of this.

[00:21:42] And that's what creates a secure attachment. And not the other way around. I just recently did a presentation for the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. And it's funny cuz you mentioned the pandemic and, it was about is this the epidemic in the pandemic and why are and, for that spoiler alert, why is it actually not And one of the things I talked about was attachment theory. Oftentimes we are told that the dog is hyper attached to the guardian, and that is as if we've damaged them, as if we've damaged them somehow. And if you take that even one step further, if we're saying the problem, the reason this dog has separation anxiety is that he or she is hyper attached, we'll go take that down the road aways and you say, then I have to break the bond between me and my dog in order to not have this hyper attachment.

[00:22:43] And that is absolutely not true. As a matter of fact, we have pretty solid research that shows that removing attention, affection, and in all the other physiological and psychological supportive needs actually leads to problematic behavior, including potentially separation anxiety. I 

[00:23:06] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: think that should come as such a relief to loving pet parents that all the things you listed that were told is 

[00:23:14] Malena DeMartini: your fault.

[00:23:14] That's how you caused it, are reasons why we got a dog 

[00:23:18] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: That's right. To have that relationship and that bond and that we didn't do something bad by creating that attachment. These are things I hear from my clients all the time that they've been told by a trainer that doesn't specialize in this.

[00:23:33] Again, this is a unique specialty. This is your fault because they slept on your bed. And that causes it. This is your fault cuz you let them follow 

[00:23:41] Malena DeMartini: you around the house. 

[00:23:43] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: It really models some older school thinking about children, which I always see dog training follow just behind.

[00:23:52] Malena DeMartini: Correct. Of don't pick 

[00:23:55] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: them up if they cry, versus creating that attachment so they feel secure and you talk about that a little bit in the book 

[00:24:03] Malena DeMartini: about puppies 

[00:24:05] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: coming home and there's a difference between a me noise from a puppy versus panic. 

[00:24:14] Malena DeMartini: And That's right. People can say, let the puppy bark it out.

[00:24:19] And honestly, that is one thing that is just so important to me because it's still pervasive that people talk about Cry it out. And you're right, both Attachment theory and Cry It Out are both based in the literature, the old literature for child rearing. And they somehow were just slapped across, over to the dog world haphazardly, and they really don't apply.

[00:24:49] And honestly, they don't really apply to children either. That was a, long ago way of thinking. Yes. And so it is so elemental that people understand bringing your puppy home Yes, it's a puppy and therefore you're gonna hear a little wine here and there that is evolutionarily appropriate behavior.

[00:25:12] Yes. However, it is not appropriate to let a puppy or an adult dog for that matter but particularly a puppy let them sit in their panic for minutes or hours right in under the guise of training that we're letting them cry it out and learn how to not be distressed. That is quite frankly the opposite.

[00:25:41] We're actually letting them rehearse their anxiety over and over, and thereby solidifying that fear. Oh, I thought it was bad before, but now it's been an hour. I think it's even worse now. So, we have to, we just proved to them that our absence is scarier. That's right.

[00:26:05] That's. 

[00:26:07] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: You mentioned that presentation you did and the spoiler alert. So we have tons and tons of listeners who have quote unquote pandemic puppies, and that definition has definitely spread and included more and more dogs where it almost is Yes, some came home during isolation time, but many are, we just work from home now and are working remotely.

[00:26:28] That's right. So what do you see as correlation, causation, or not with separation anxiety? 

[00:26:37] Malena DeMartini: It is interesting because since the pandemic, we have seen a fairly large increase in inquiries about separation, anxiety dogs. And so that begs the question, the pandemic, did this cause this problem or is it Yes.

[00:26:59] Currently still causing this problem? And the question further is, If we're not leaving our dogs alone, are they therefore never going to learn That alone time is something that they have to experience and I, have really good news about this. And there's, a number of aspects that I do feel has contributed to the increase in separation anxiety that we've seen.

[00:27:32] So here's the really good news. We have something that we literally call our secret sauce for separation anxiety. And that is stopping leaving our dog alone for longer than make and handle.

[00:27:49] So that is a component of management and we often refer to it as suspending absences. And what that does is immediately allows for us to implement behavior modification without. Exposing and rehearsing in that dog, those fears and anxieties. The immediate result of that is that we can start to teach the dog that alone time is safe because we're not leaving them alone for longer than they can handle.

[00:28:27] So when we're all worried about, oh, we haven't left our dogs for a year or more for during this pandemic, guess what? We can actually look at that and realize we've set our dogs up for tremendous success. The interesting thing about that, I will say there is some literature, some recent research that was published in 2020 that did show that people that were in lockdown not leaving their dog and then returned to life at large outside the home, , they did show a 10% increase in the presence of separation anxiety.

[00:29:11] However, they had a really big here's the limitation of our study and the limitation of their study was that they did not differentiate between those individuals that didn't leave their dog for six months and then on Monday went to work for eight hours, which is not what you instruct for, not what I would want any right to do.

[00:29:41] So they didn't differentiate between that group of people and those others that didn't leave their dog for six months and then gradually started to train them about alone time being safe. And so we don't have a division there, and I suspect that a lot of that 10%, it was like 9.89% were the people that just didn't for do any l alone time for six months or more.

[00:30:08] And then suddenly returned to extremely robust absences and, of longer durations. And what's interesting about that is that I suspect, and we've already seen this as a result of the pandemic, and I would say the pandemic is exactly over. So we're gonna continue to see much of this. I think we have two

[00:30:32] for lack of better term, two buckets of alone time, that as a result of not leaving our dogs alone for an appreciable amount of time and one will indeed be separation anxiety for not the reason of not leaving them alone. But we know that minimally 17 to 22% of dogs will suffer from separation anxiety in their lifetime.

[00:30:57] So that means that we should see 17 to 22% of pandemic dogs that have this issue. The other bucket is really just. lack of experience and exposure to alone time. Yes. If that puppy or that adult dog has been in the home for six months or more and has never been left alone, there's no knowledge of what alone time is about.

[00:31:26] And I do feel, and I know we're gonna talk about this a little later, but I do feel that it is important to teach dogs about alone time. And it's important to help them acclimate to alone time. If, we haven't left them for, a long duration if over months or more. And here's the good news about that.

[00:31:50] It doesn't actually matter cuz we won't. . It doesn't actually matter whether your dog falls into the separation anxiety bucket or the acclimation bucket. What does matter is that we start to implement appropriate training. And for those dogs who just need acclimation great 2, 3, 4 weeks down the line, they're fine with alone time.

[00:32:16] Yes. For those dogs that actually do suffer with separation anxiety, 2, 3, 4 weeks down the line, we're like, okay, they're still struggling. We need to be really careful with our training, but that gives us 2, 3, 4 weeks. The head starts, we already got started, right? Yes. So that means if 

[00:32:34] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: your supervisor lets we're going to be moving to some more days into the office, they usually give some notice so people can arrange their childcare, et cetera.

[00:32:45] And that gives you notice to start incrementally adding some more alone time in a gentle, purposeful way for your dog.

[00:32:54] Malena DeMartini: Very, much and I love that you say gentle and purposeful. It is a very intentional process. When we go on the internet, oftentimes the recommendation is leave your dog in small and increasing increments and small.

[00:33:13] on the internet tends to be like 10 to 20 minutes kind of thing. But I don't recommend that we start there with most dogs. We need to teach them that. When I step out that door, nothing bad happens. And look at that. I'm, back in a few seconds or a minute or so. And then intentionally with purpose, build upon that based on the pace that the dog is setting, not the pace that you think should, the dog should be living up to.

[00:33:45] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: and I actually see much more significant absences suggested of an hour for every month. They are plus one 

[00:33:54] Malena DeMartini: or something where it's just doing that. Yes, 

[00:33:56] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: we're just talking about bladder capacity, , and even ambitious in that direction. So when you're hearing Mena say 10 to 15 minutes when you're starting is too long, really take that to heart and you can have more empathy with your dog as to why when you went to go to that soccer game, you came home and they were really distressed.

[00:34:20] Malena DeMartini: And we have to remember, we only get one first impression one. And so that first time you leave your puppy or adult dog home alone, let's not make it a bad first impression. Let's make it the best and most optimal first impression that we possibly can make, which may mean a 30 second absence or less depending on the dog.

[00:34:48] And that's okay. It's not like you'll, be stuck at a few seconds for, the rest of the dog's life. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. But let's make sure that the association between alone time is, a safe one. So we're associating safety with alone time. And I think that's just so important because, Our time clock is not, we wanna think in biological time clocks as opposed to our 5G world that we live in.

[00:35:24] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. And how long it takes to go out for dinner in a movie. Exactly. Don't correlate the same thing. They, know I am a fan of gentle crate training especially with doodles as they need to go to the groomer at about once a month. That's right. And groomers utilize crates to keep them safely separated when they're rotating them on and off the table.

[00:35:48] Or if your dog gets injured or sick, they need to be able to feel comfortable in a crate at the vets. That's not the time to pile on they're in distress and not feeling well, and now they're having that contained 

[00:36:02] Malena DeMartini: Yes.

[00:36:03] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: But that said, there's a lot of lore that you need to do crate training to prevent separation anxiety, or that it is an essential part of the treatment plan for separation anxiety.

[00:36:18] And you address that a bit in the book. Can you share more? . 

[00:36:21] Malena DeMartini: Absolutely. And I could not agree with you more about gentle introduction to crate training and to crates in general. I've always felt that this it's an ideal training process as long as we go about it very gradually and gently.

[00:36:42] But it's ideal for many purposes. Like you said, the veterinarian, transport, I think it's a safer transport dogs in a crate in the car. Yes. And I actually had this even more solidified in the last several years. I happened to live in Northern California and we have fire season here now.

[00:37:04] And a couple of years ago we were on standby evacuation due to the fires that getting closer. And we had researched and the evacuation centers. would not allow you to bring a dog or cat for that matter, but they would not allow you to bring a dog if your dog wasn't appropriately behaved in a crate.

[00:37:31] And what is your option if you cannot bring your dog to the evacuation center? That's, not that's, a life or death type of a scenario. Yes. And I realize it's it's a little fantastical, but that's how I felt like fortunately. I have trained both of my dogs to be comfortable in a, for me it's a little Sherpa cuz they're little dogs.

[00:37:53] Create confinement. And and I do think it's very, I. Having said that, I want people to understand that there is a difference between using a crate appropriately and training gradually, and using it specifically for alone time, particularly if the dog is either A, not yet comfortable in the crate for any appreciable duration, or B, if they are showing signs of confinement anxiety.

[00:38:26] And the reason I mentioned confinement anxiety in particular is that it is comorbid with separating anxiety. In other words, a large percentage of separation anxiety. Dogs also suffer with confinement anxiety and vice versa. A lot of confinement anxiety dogs also suffer with separation related behavior problems.

[00:38:51] And so I think it's. really concerning that, continues to be like the go-to information on the internet. Like you gotta cra 'em if they've got separation. One of the reasons I think it is still prevalent is that we have this conception that will I have to create my dog because he chews on the doorframe when he's alone. And I understand that, right? You don't want your house destroyed. You don't want him peeing or pooping on your living room carpet or injuring themselves. Yeah. Or injuring themselves. Absolutely. Although injury rates are significantly higher when in the crate versus when

[00:39:35] eight. 

[00:39:36] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I used to own a top dog walking company in Denver. And so I got to go into lots of people's homes and work with their dogs in their own setting. And we would see things called impact 

[00:39:46] Malena DeMartini: crates, and those are like boxes of steel 

[00:39:49] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: that no matter how strong a bear is, couldn't get out or people zip tying the crate.

[00:39:56] Because their dog would have a history of breaking out of something that you wouldn't even think they could. And sometimes dogs where they would've rubbed their nose raw and were bleeding, trying to get out 

[00:40:07] Malena DeMartini: because of their teeth. So can you tell us 

[00:40:11] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: why that's happening for their dogs in a different way?

[00:40:16] Yeah. 

[00:40:17] Malena DeMartini: We talked about how this is a phobia and how dogs are panicking. and I, wanna bring it in into a human analogy. If you were having a panic attack over, whatever makes you scared. For me it's spiders like, don't even go there. Yeah. If you were having a panic attack and I put you into a small closet, do you think that panic would somehow dissipate?

[00:40:50] No. For, 90 plus percent of people in, these this case dogs, the panic is still super prevalent. It's just now confined to a very small space. And in the case of impact crates and zip ties and Alcatraz crates and all the other brands, yes. In, in those cases, we are actually. Forcing the dog to be in a small space with no means of escape, with no means of expression about their panic.

[00:41:28] And it can very, much psychologically damaged dogs. And in the case of zip ties and, metal crates and stuff the, amount of injuries that we see that are frightening. Not just while I agree, it's terrible when we see the scraped up nose, but imagine if you are over these years I have seen more than one incidents of death in a crate due to trying to escape over through panic.

[00:41:57] And I don't, I'm not trying to be alarmist, I'm just saying like it can be very serious. And I have seen lacerated eyeballs and broken teeth and. and broken nails in all, in attempt for dogs to escape. They're, crate. And imagine if you are already panicked and then you broke a tooth, which is incredibly painful, would you now not be even more upset about alone time?

[00:42:27] So I think we just have to remember that. Let's, look at the dog in front of us. Yes. Let's understand that his or her behavior is involuntary. And how can we fix it in a way that is best for the animal that will also, of course, support our needs and our concerns. Do I want the dog destroying staff?

[00:42:53] No. Is that one of the reasons why we lean into this temporary suspension of absences? You betcha. Do I want the dog distressed and causing landlord complaints? No. Yet another reason that we lean into the suspension of absences crates will not fix it, period. Are there dogs that love their crates and sleep in their crates, but then panic during the day when left alone?

[00:43:17] Absolutely. Many dogs still love their crates, but cannot be confined during alone time. So we, really have to work with the dog in front of us to support their welfare. And I see 

[00:43:31] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Confinement anxiety sometimes being built up when being used with separation anxiety where, even the dog isn't showing like clinical separation anxiety, but , I only create my dog when I'm leaving.

[00:43:45] So you've added this departure queue of when I confine you, I'm absent and Right. 

[00:43:53] Malena DeMartini: Yeah, and it's very, that's unfortunately, very common. And what we start to see is dogs that are refusing to go into the crate. And then unfortunately, the typical reaction to refusal to go in the crate is, I'm gonna pick you up and manhandle you and put you in the crate.

[00:44:14] And that's adding to the level of distress. And just it escalates and escalates. And it is a real welfare issue. And we, have to do better as trainers, as well as, pet guardians because these little furry beings have all of, they are sentient. They have all of the emotion and, concern and joy and everything. They're, woven of a beautiful fabric that we absolutely have to care for. . I 

[00:44:52] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: completely agree. 

[00:44:53] Malena DeMartini: Nothing to remember, but let's go back to the secret sauce. If I am not going to leave my dog alone for longer than he can handle, then my dog has a piece of this bargain as well. The dog will not destroy, not vocalize, not urinate, not defecate and so on and so forth, because they're not experiencing anxiety.

[00:45:20] Those behaviors are involuntary based on the distress that they are experiencing. But if we are managing the dog's absences so that they're not going into a state of panic then we don't have to worry about that destruction and all of the other behaviors that we think that we need a crate for.

[00:45:37] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: you have a discount for our listeners if they want to enjoy your program mission possible.

[00:45:45] Can you share that 

[00:45:46] Malena DeMartini: for us? Yes. And I think it's easy to remember. It is Doodle22, as in the year doodle22, and that'll be available for you. It gives you over a little, over 50% off of our program. It's already really affordable, but it makes it extremely affordable. And, remember there's lifetime access.

[00:46:11] It's not a recurring fee, and you can still ask questions and comments if you're struggling a month or two into it. 

[00:46:19] In our next episode. Milena is going to bust some common myths on what works or what doesn't for treating separation anxiety. She's going to talk to you about the strategies that do work and what you can expect. By the way sneak peek separation anxiety is fixable. 


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corinne the doodle pro

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I’m Corinne, The Doodle Pro™


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