A Barking Good Read – I’ll Be Home Soon!

I’ll Be Home Soon! – Patricia B. McConnell

Whenever a something interests me (whether fact or fiction) I first turn to our old friend Google to see what’s out there, and then I go devour all the books I can. A world of knowledge really is at our fingertips at all times!

I especially turn to the bookshelves and online articles for help and guidance with Phoebe. This time I was on the lookout for information on Separation Anxiety.

In many of the blogs and resources I’ve checked there is often a reference to Patricia McConnell and how great her techniques and books are. I found her short book titled I’ll Be Home Soon! and knew this would be a good place to start.

A great "beginner's" resource!

A great “beginner’s” resource!

The reason I specifically got this book was as a result of a phonecall from my neighbour telling me how for the past 6 weeks Phoebe apparently howls all morning long once I leave for work. As someone who lives in the middle of suburbia this is a major problem as my neighbours all run different businesses from their home – meaning the Phoebe Conundrum was no longer just my problem, but theirs too! And to be fair, I am lucky enough to have understanding neighbours, but the distressed howl must come to an end if I want them to continue being happy and understanding neighbours!

This actually came as a shock to me because I truly believed she had stopped this behaviour and was perfectly happy. I guess it was wishful thinking, but she didn’t show any other signs of distress when I left, and she seemed excited – but not frantic – whenever I came home. What to do?

Step 1: Find out what you are dealing with and what’s causing it.

I contacted the Behaviourist I work with immediately and we are working on some interventions (which I’ll blog about as we go along), but the big question here was what was the cause of this? Were these symptoms of true Separation Anxiety? Was she just bored? Was she just ‘acting out’? Where to start?

This book was a good starting point to logically organise and categorise dog behaviour to identify if Phoebe has true separation anxiety, or just “bad behaviours”. It helped me to discuss the problems and possible solutions with my behaviourist and vet in a more structured and direct way.

It clearly and succinctly identifies what Separation Anxiety is (so now I know what I’m dealing with!), it gives a range of tips to try (though most focus on getting a petsitter/hotel involved, which unfortunately is not within my budget :-().

There really are some great ideas in here that can be used to build up your dog to the point where they can recover from this anxious state. I however must be at work everyday, and there is no one to petsit her during the day, so I can only focus on a few of her suggestions.

So would I recommend this short guide? YES. It clearly informs and educates, so if your dog fills the criteria for Separation Anxiety, you now know where to begin, and that though there will be more work lying ahead of you, all is not lost.

With the help of books like these, my supportive network and LOTS of Kong’s, I’m sure we’ll get to “OK” one day!

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Phoebe’s Effectiveness Summary:

Issue Addressed: Separation Anxiety

Tool(s) Used: Book Resource

Cost: I got the kindle edition from amazon.com for $8.36

Ease of Implementation: Difficult to ascertain. The tips are really useful, but what you implement will be up to you. Costs like a ‘doggy daycare’ or daily dog walker will become high.

Phoebe’s Effectiveness Rating: 3/5

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Have you ever read any of Patricia McConnell’s books or tips? Do you recommend her?

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