Separation Anxiety hits where it hurts,
Purses and wallets, fiddy-dollar shirts.
Mangled furniture that yesterday was new,
Destroyed artwork that turns spirits blue.
She’s afraid to be alone is the rote diagnosis;
She can’t do without me; codependent psychosis.
I’d take her with me to the job if I could,
She’d lay by my feet and be very good.
I talked to the trainer an hour by phone,
He said that my sweetie must learn to be alone.
It’s not that she’s scared of the quietness and solitude
It’s that my human brain is a stewpot of platitude.
The trainer is now about to make me cry;
I should be strong, not saying “bye-bye”?
Not pleading with her in a high voice tone,
But being aloof in a leadership zone.
The trainer continues, I fuzzily see,
The problem starts and continues with me.
My sweetie worries I’ve been hunting buffalo,
It will not hurt her to continue to think so.
She must come to see that I am strong enough,
Sometimes that will call for me to be tough.
Not physically brandishing brass knuckles and sticks,
But psychologically providing a canine-style fix.
I don’t want to make her just swallow some pills;
She must believe in my leadership skills.
I’ll act out the role till it be second nature,
And I grow into true dog and pack nomenclature.
Upon your return, map out your coordinates;
Do not cast yourself as a hapless subordinate.
Enter your house with your nose in the air,
Say your ABCs—act like you don’t care.
Set up the scenes so she thinks it is happening,
Start with the simple, don’t make it too baffling.
Move room to room as you build on success,
Correcting anxiety to prevent a big mess.
(For more tips on separation anxiety training—in prose—click HERE!)
David Hay has been a Bark Busters Dog Behavioral Therapist in Houston, TX, for 5.5 years—that’s 38.5 in dog years.