The Facts and Data
Yes, Cesar Millan has an amazing new audible book explaining, defining, and offering tips to help eliminate separation anxiety in your dog. The book recaps the studies conducted comparing results from three stimuli. A group of dogs were each exposed to being left alone with the popular human substitution, the television, or music. The last group were introduced to audible books. The dogs that listened to the audible books showed positive results in separation anxiety as compared to the typical modes using tv or music. Why? The results coupled with the psychology will amaze you. Even if your dog does not exhume bad behaviours when left alone you're going to want to try this. It's literally a comfort zone for your dog.
Audible vs. TV and Music
Eliminate separation anxiety with an audible book yields better results than leaving the TV on or playing music because the tone and the volume stay consistent. An audible book may have minute shifts in tone and volume but they stay mostly monotone. The TV adversely shifts in tone and volume depending on the content throughout the day. A TV show with guns and fight scenes can easily trigger a dog’s bad behaviour, the same holds true with leaving music on for your dog. Even classical or orchestrated musical content has powerful crescendos with peaks that can trigger separation anxiety.
Try this at Home
Now that you see why eliminate separation anxiety with an audible book is the best choice, let's walk through the steps to achieve this at home. Step one is to get your dog to a state of exhaustion. Separation anxiety triggers 'fight or flight', a high alert state for many dog's. Dogs are pack animals and are triggered when they are separated from the pack. It's an instinctual behaviour designed to teach the dog that there is strength in numbers. If a dog in the wild is separated from the pack its instinct is to panic and reunite. You are the leader of your dog's domesticated pack, at least you should be...When family members leave their dog behind he is temporarily separated from his pack. Anxiety coupled with a surge of bad dog behaviours ensues. Step one is to deplete that energy level before it can take over. Walk, jog, play ball, walk the treadmill, do whatever it takes to deplete your dog's energy before moving onto step two.
Now that your dog is incapable of utilizing all that energy introduce them to their quiet place, This should be a familiar place that your dog typically goes too, like a crate, a dog bed, couch, or favourite rug. Familiar surroundings result in less stress. This will be the location of your audible device. Place the speaker right where your dog can see it and start the book you've chosen. How do you choose that book? Great question, let's move on.
Choosing the story is key, not because your dog understands the plotline but because he will soon relate to the narrator as being a member of the pack. The voice of a relatable human depletes the release of ‘fight or flight’ by mimicking a pack member. So why be choosy with the book's content? Let's say your dog is a high energy alpha, finding a children's book typically has a happy, calm narrator. This voice should be soothing for a heightened energy dog. A children's book is less likely to have high energy narration like a murder mystery might encounter. To eliminate separation anxiety with an audible book chose a book that is less likely to trigger bad behaviour. The duration of the book should also be lengthy so that it’s still playing when you return home. Check out Cesar’s top picks for dogs here.
Practice Makes Perfect
Repeating this pattern with your dog daily should eliminate separation anxiety. Make sure once the audible is playing you leave the house without interacting with the dog and disrupting the audible book.
Recap the steps to eliminate separation anxiety with an audible book
Exhaust the dog with exercise
Then immediately put him or her in their quiet place
Introduce the speaker and start your audible book
Finally, leave the house
Cesar Millan’s Guide to Audiobooks for Dogs walks you through the ways you can eliminate separation anxiety with an audible book.