Do you have a sweet dog in your life? Colleen has Sarah, a rescue dog who is about as sweet as you can imagine. The problem is, Sarah has been fighting separation anxiety and it has caused some issues.
When Colleen leaves the house, Sarah quickly goes into a frantic anxiety attack. Perhaps you have experienced similar with your pooch and if you have, you might appreciate the idea Colleen had to fix it.
Sarah began to exhibit separation anxiety when she was getting older. It would lead to self-injuring behavior as well as some destructive tendencies. It didn’t take long after Colleen would leave home for Sarah to start barking and panting and quickly turn to pacing and chewing on furniture.
As you can see, Sarah even rubbed her nose raw on the door to try to get out when Colleen had left.
It was heartbreaking to see Sarah in such an anxious state. She tried everything she could to ease the anxiety but crate training, CBD oil and long walks weren’t helping. She even took Sarah to the veterinarian to get tranquilizers but nothing would soothe her.
“It evolved into my having to be with her constantly, leaving her with someone else, or having to take her to doggie day care whenever I left,” Colleen said.
When talking about the problem with her cousin, an idea was formed. They should make a dummy version of Colleen to stay with Sarah when she wasn’t home.
A life-size dummy was created but she was skeptical if it would work.
She thought to herself: “My Sarah would not fall for such simple deception!” Even so, she figured it was worth trying.
She then named the dummy Dolly and started to make adjustments so that it would be more convincing.
She added clothing and glasses to Dolly and things started to look up. In order to make Dolly more reassuring, she also kept it in her bed so Dolly would pick up Colleen’s scent.
She was cautious not to move too quickly so she would leave Dolly with Sarah for a while when she left home. This would be in areas where Sarah would not normally interact with Colleen, as she felt Sara would quickly discover that Dolly was an imposter.
In most cases, Sarah would simply glance at Dolly and it seemed to do the trick. Colleen could even leave the house for a few hours and come home to find Sarah sleeping peacefully, as if Colleen had never left.
One day she came home and found Sarah like this:
“I found her curled up at Dolly’s feet!” Colleen said. “She had never slept on the floor of the bathroom until Dolly was there.”
Colleen doesn’t think that Sarah is completely fooled but it does give her a degree of familiarity. She isn’t planning to go away for any loan amounts of time but she is optimistic that Sarah will not be as anxious anymore.
“It has worked better than many other methods so far,” she said. “I’m hoping Sara and Dolly stay close.”
Sarah will always love Colleen and the two of them spend as much time together as possible. It’s nice for her to know, however, that she can leave when necessary and she doesn’t have to worry about Sarah being overly anxious.