Book Review : Treating separation anxiety in dogs
author: Malena DeMartini-Price

This book details a very complete program for treating Separation Anxiety in dogs. Written by a trainer who has worked on many cases, and including discussion of modern tech tools that are very helpful

Book Review : Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs
author: Malena DeMartini-Price,CTC

book review by Pam Green, © 2015

This is a genuinely excellent book on the topic of treating separation anxieety. The author is a trainer with long experience in this area. While the book is addressed to trainers, it is also very suited to dog owners generally.

The book begins with a discussion of what separation anxiety is and is not, diagnostic criteria and evaluation of severity. Next is an overview of treatment, into which the rest of the book supplies the details

The coverage is very complete and very up to date (2014) and is especially valuable in its coverage of useful tech tools, which can be used to let owner and/or trainer (adviser) observe the dog remotely , and various food dispensing toys and remote controlled treat dispensers (Treat&Train TM and PetTutorTM ). Good discussion of medications and other potential anxiety reducers (eg ThundeshirtTM, TTouch, Dog Appeasing Pheromone), with appropriate cautions. The author stresses the importance of observing and interpreting the dog's body language for indications of relaxation vs anxiety, discerning increases or decreases of these.

The 5 phases of treatment are described in detail, and handouts for the owner are provided with great detail. Some dogs with milder cases may progress through these stages more rapidly. Dogs with severe cases may progress slowly, especially in the earlier phases

The chapter on the business of treatment is written for trainers by DogTec, which makes a business of holding seminars for trainers. I think clients should also read this chapter as it explains the basis for pricing . I'd add that anyone who thinks it's "expensive" to get training that saves a dog from a life-threatening problem might well compare this to the costs of veterinary care for a serious problem. Training is expensive but it's a bargain.

Several case studies are included, and at least one indicates that left untreated a really severe case could result in the dog's death.

My only criticism, and it's a small one, is that the photographs could be sharper and with more contrast. Almost all of them are adequate to show what they intend to show ; there's really only one that does not.. But a little work in Photoshop could have made the photos better (mostly adjusting Levels or adjusting Contrast).

I could also nit pick criticise that the discussion of food dispensing toys omits the classic BusterCubeTM and, more seriously, omits the warning that calories dispensed in training must be subtracted from the remainder of the dog's diet, so the dog doesn't become over-weight (yes , that's something that should be obvious, but in our era of epidemic obesity at both ends of the leash, I'd like an explicit warning whenever use of food in training is discussed)..


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 12/27/2015 revised 12/27/2015
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