Check out the below video. My vet is really cool. Her name is Dr. Meyer at the Veterinary Behavior Clinic in Maryland. I have a link to her website on the Resources tab. She was kind enough to film her “Happy Mat” training exercise.
Now, this may seem pretty simple. Like Obedience for Remedial Puppies simple. But there’s a lot to it. Dr. Meyer provided several pages of instructions for the very detailed work she’s doing on the video. My human provided a PDF that describes the exercises. Please check out the link below:
Relaxation Exercises (adapted from Overall. K. Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, Mosby 1997).
This is how it works for me: my human plays really soothing music. She places a mat on the floor so I know where I’m supposed to lie down. And then she acts really weird. She jumps up and down, moves around me, and I’m supposed to just lie there. Yeah, that’s it! I just lie around and get a treat.
Okay, not so simple. I get agitated easily when my human starts moving around, picking up keys, getting her bag – I think she’s going to leave me! Alone! Leave me alone! It’s scarey.
But after doing these exercises for a few months (that’s right – it took a long time), I’m okay with all of this movement. Maybe it was the music or the treats. All I know is my human didn’t leave me for several hours after doing the training, I got plenty of treats, and all I had to do was lie around and look pretty. I do look pretty, don’t I?
Don’t worry that it takes so long. It’s totally worth the work. And the treats. That’s what I’m talking about. I had fun. And my medications were decreased. Now you may not get results right away and you may end up on some medication for the rest of your life, but that’s just part of the coping resources you need to feel okay when you’re alone. And you’ll notice that you’re relaxed and not even thinking about your human when he or she is gone. You’ll just feel relaxed. And that’s the point of all the work.
So now that you know what’s involved in dealing with separation anxiety and / or PTSD, please get your human to take you to the vet. You know, the special vet that gives you treats and watches you while you play with toys.
Okay, that’s about it for now. I’ll keep you up to date on my progress on my blogs. Hope you enjoyed the video. Also check out the guided meditation on the Mindfulness tab. That’s really relaxing! And leave comments on the blogs and ask questions. I may not have all the answers, but I try. We’re in this together and I love talking with other dogs who are working hard to get better.