What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a panic disorder that is very similar to phobias in humans. It is estimated that about 17% of dogs suffer from the disorder. It is a common reason dogs are surrendered to shelters or euthanized.

Much like phobias in people such as a fear of spiders or flying, fear of being alone is not rational — after all, you always come home to your dog!  Yet the danger feels all too real to your dog. Many alone-time problem behaviors like destruction and barking are possible expressions of your dog’s discomfort or panic with being left alone. Your dog is not in control of their feelings of fear or the resulting problem behaviors. Unfortunately, separation anxiety is not something that will resolve itself and in fact, can worsen over time. At it’s worst, dogs become so engulfed in anxiety that they can cause serious harm to themselves and your home as they frantically attempt to escape the perceived danger. 

The good news is we can help! No more worries about destruction, neighbor complaints or your dog being stressed out while you’re away.

How is it treated?

It is essential that training happens at the dog’s pace. If progress is pushed too quickly with this panic disorder, the dog will typically regress. Because of this we do require at least a 4-week commitment to start. Our 4-week Separation Anxiety Training Package is $900 and includes:

  • Initial assessment to determine your dog’s starting place
  • Individualized daily training plans
  • Weekly live reassessments via video conference
  • Email and phone support, problem solving help and supportive coaching

Click this button to request a free 30 minute phone or in-facility meeting to discuss your dog and the protocol for resolving this issue.

Separation anxiety is treated by systematically breaking down absences into steps that your dog can handle, and building up to a normal routine while keeping your dog relaxed the whole time. Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, Rhea Northcut, CPDT-KA, CSAT will provide easy to follow, custom daily training plans as well as the tools and support you need to help your dog succeed.

Because separation anxiety is triggered by you leaving your house, it is most efficient and effective to treat it remotely in your home, in a typical day scenario with your dog. This means you do not have to be within our normal service area! As long as you are in North America and have an internet connection, we can work with you! For those living in the Dallas area, you have the option of having your initial consultation in person if your prefer.

What clients are saying about this program

“I had the great pleasure of working with Rhea for my dog’s separation anxiety. Prior to working with Rhea, I had tried several online self guided lessons but was still only able to be away from my dog for 15 min. Rhea did a thorough assessment to understand both me and my dog and align on what’s possible. The sessions were done via zoom and I appreciated how every session was custom tailored to my dog’s progress and needs. After working with Rhea, I was able to be gone for several hours comfortably without worry. I gained a new level of freedom and a huge weight was lifted knowing my dog was completely at peace at home while I was gone. Rhea deeply understands dog language and was organized and methodical to achieve outcomes. She truly cares about her clients and I felt fully supported the whole way. Highly recommend Rhea for anyone wanting to grow deeper in their relationship with their dog and achieve peace (for human and dog) during times of separation. 

– Georgia Green with Asher

“When we realized there was a problem with our Weimaraner being left alone while crated, we tried everything we knew to do without success. We felt trapped, and worried she could hurt herself trying to get out of her crate, not to mention the destructive results of her efforts. After an initial phone evaluation, we began the extensive program for separation anxiety. Rhea communicated with us daily and always had Darby’s best interest at heart. We followed the instructions to the letter and now we have a dog who views her crate as a safe, happy place. We can’t thank Rhea enough for giving us our freedom back!”

– Carl Ludwig with Darby

“Our sweet mini Goldendoodle came to us during the Covid lockdown. She attached herself to me (us) since we did not leave her on her own, ever! We have a list of puppy sitters! What was concerning, during the times of leaving her, the pacing and general anxiety symptoms did not diminish, in fact, tended to increase. While out of town several times, our girl stayed with the breeder attaching herself to Ralph. He noted when he left the house; pacing, jumping on the door, barking, all signs of anxiety and unhappiness.

After 6 weeks of working with Rhea, see the comments that were sent to me after spending a week at the breeders!:  “Our congratulations to whomever is working with C, as she is a completely different doggy, wonderful! Of course we loved her before but she is just so much happier. C is so much improved that it is amazing! Ralph and I were just talking about it last night. She is such a good girl.”

We have noticed such a difference in our girl’s confidence, thank you, Rhea!”

– Anne MacDonald with C

“Could not be happier with Rhea and her training program when it came to working with my puppy’s separation anxiety. Her methodical approach, and advanced knowledge were instrumental in resolving the issues my dog had with being left home alone. Beyond that, she was a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend.”

– Chase Conly with Boban

We would crate her and she would panic.  Immediately.  We would go in the yard, panic.  I would take a shower, panic.  It was awful seeing her like that and it only got worse.  She would scream, dig at the crate, bite at the crate, eventually she would get so worked up she would poop everywhere and then trample through it.  It was a mess. We were already so attached to her that rehoming her wasn’t an option.  A neighbor recommended WAGD, so i went to the website and starting looking through everything.  That’s where I found the SA program.  We had a consult with Rhea and she could not have been nicer.  She was so understanding and compassionate with our concerns and frustrations.  We engaged her and she wrote daily plans for us and we started the work.  It was a lot of work, but after a lot of time, Ruby started to improve slowly.  

She changed our lives.  Seriously.  I don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t found her.  Ruby is still neurotic, but she doesn’t panic anymore when we leave the house.  This program works.  It does take work and dedication, but if you love your dog, it works.  I can’t say enough about Rhea and WAGD.”

– Cher Cope with Ruby

Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer

  • Separation Anxiety, Nose Work & Senior Pet Manners Trainer

    Rhea Northcut CPDT-KA ABCDT CSAT
    Rhea Northcut, CPDT-KA ABCDT CSAT is a Senior Trainer with What a Great Dog! She joined the WAGD family in 2016. Rhea teaches Pet Manners and Nose Work in both group classes and private lessons. She also provides a training program aimed at resolving issue with Separation Anxiety. Rhea is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and an Animal Behavior College […]