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drharps

Distance Anxiety

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My dog is getting close to 2 years old and is generally fine when we leave the house. Recently we started teaching her nose work and it was at a person's house. We crated her and walked away and she would not stop barking. Every other dog there was quiet, but she was not. 

She does this in other situations, too. If my girlfriend and I are on a walk and I move away any distance, she stares and starts to get antsy, barking and nervous.

Any suggestions on how to remedy this? 

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Your dog knows when you leave her at home you are coming back. She has not had enough experience yet at being left in other places to know you are coming back. Just give it time and patience and don't reinforce her barking when this happens. Ignore her at the nose work lessons when she barks.

You can practice while on walks. You could walk a distance away, maybe go behind a tree. Have your girlfriend wait until she stops barking, even for one second, and then reward her --fast, before she starts barking again -- with a treat. Then she may bark again. Wait again until she stops just to take a breath, and quick reward her. This will teach her that she is rewarded for being quiet, and ignored if she is barking. After two or three repetitions of this, you came back to her again, no big greeting, nothing exciting, and off you go again on your walk. Repeat daily until she gets the idea that if you walk away and hide, all she has to do is stay there calmly and not bark or get antsy, and she will get rewarded. A clicker is very useful as a tool with this kind of training. Your timing has to be correct, so you could even practice with one another, with you playing the barking dog, so that your girlfriend gets the timing down and doesn't end up rewarding the barking. You don't think the dog ever stops barking, but she does. Just for a second, but that is enough to start the training.

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