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D2007-25

Dear Daisy Dog

Stella, our 7-year-old Yorkshire terrier, has had separation anxiety since she was a puppy.

As our veterinarian recommended, we leave and return home without fanfare, and we stay away for gradually increasing time periods.

We’ve tried the DAP Dog Appeasing Pheromone spray that is supposed to relax dogs, and we even adopted another Yorkie to keep Stella company.

Nevertheless, she panics when we’re gone for even short periods of time. What more can we do?

Daisy Responds

Build on your behavior modification program by frequently repeating your “departure cues,” like picking up your car keys or putting on your coat, and then remaining at home.

Interact with Stella only when she is calm.

Increase her self confidence by enrolling her in an obedience class. Teach her to “stay” while you move away, gradually increasing the time and distance, until you are out of sight.

Talk with your veterinarian about Reconcile or Clomicalm, medications that enhance the effects of behavior modification in dogs with separation anxiety.

If medication and your behavior modification program aren’t effective, ask for a referral to a veterinarian who specializes in behavior medicine.

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