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  • Liz MacHaffie

Building Confidence with Barriers




Helping our dogs to cope with being divided by a barrier is a great first step to helping them feel more relaxed about separation.


On a daily (or every other day) basis, you can have this as a part of your dog's routine. Making it routine can help to normalize it for them!


Steps

  • Create a space that your dog will be in (somewhere they're already comfy) while you are on the other side of a barrier. You can use a pet gate in a doorway, an x-pen as a pen, or an x-pen/gate as a moving "wall" that sections off part of a room.

  • Provide a new/favorite toy, enrichment, chew, etc. in the spot.

  • Start by briefly sitting or standing just on the other side of it. Let your dog engage with enrichments or just relax while you do your own thing. (They may also watch you, and that's okay!) You'll begin with just a few seconds.

  • After the time is up, return to their side of the gate. Greet your dog calmly.

  • If at any point your dog panics, return to them. Make the next one shorter.

  • Aim for 2 to 3 successful repetitions at the same duration and distance before making it longer.

  • While you're on the other side, you can work on a computer/tablet, read a book, fold laundry, all the normal human stuff you need to do!

  • As your dog improves, you'll work on extending the TIME you are across the barrier for as well as the DISTANCE you are from the barrier.

The goal is for your dog to practice feeling okay when you’re separated by a barrier. It should feel low-key and almost boring! (If it's not boring, your dog is being pushed too far :) )


If you're having trouble making progress, let your trainer know so we can help!

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