Los angeles Dog and Puppy Training Separation Line

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If you need help with a dog behavior issue or dog or puppy training,
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los angeles dog separation anxiety

What is separation anxiety? Your dog becomes so stressed in your absence (sometimes even if you simply go into the next room where he can't see you) that he can't cope with being alone and tries to do whatever methods *he* thinks will get you to come back and/or to work through his stress -- barking, destruction by digging and/or chewing, peeing and pooping, or a combination of some or even all of these. He is having a panic attack.

It's a common problem with adopted dogs, retrievers, and small dogs, but other dogs can suffer -- and they *do* suffer -- from separation anxiety, too.

Please realize that he is *not* doing this in retaliation for your leaving. TREATING A SYMPTOM (barking, destruction, house soiling) DOESN'T WORK because it doesn't get to the cause of the problem -- it's comparable to putting a bandage on a broken leg because that will stop the bleeding, but it sure doesn't mend the broken leg! Punishing him doesn't work because he literally can't help himself -- it's as if he were gasping for air and he's trying to do everything he can to get more oxygen.

You may have read or tried several "solutions" to alleviate separation anxiety or even worked with other trainers, yet your dog still is suffering. Cookie cutter approaches and quick fixes do not work! Human equivalent -- you need to lose weight; the doctor gives you a program to follow; you slowly lose weight. As much as you would like to, you're not going to get to your goal weight in a week.

The first thing we need to do is to see whether it truly IS separation anxiety -- there could be other reasons for your dog's behavior.

Here's some things to think about:

  • There is a difference between SEPARATION anxiety – “I’m so stressed when you’re not here that I’m panicking” – and SEPARATING anxiety – “I’m in control here. You can’t leave because then I won’t have anyone to boss around.”
  • There's also a difference in degree – mild, moderate, or severe.
  • Or your dog could simply be bored – “No one’s here and there’s nothing to do, so I’ll just tear up the place because it’s fun.”
  • Or he could be calling you home – “I’m just going to bark and bark because I don’t want you to forget where you live, and you’ve always come back when I’ve barked before.” Alternatively – “I’ll just pee and poop because then you can follow your nose home cuz you know what I smell like.”
  • Maybe he’s sick and you haven’t noticed – “I really don’t feel good and I need someone to comfort me.”
  • Possibly he’s uncomfortable – “I’m freezing. Help!” Maybe it’s an intact male and there’s a bitch in heat – “Get me out of here so I can mate.”
  • Or he’s afraid of something – “That garbage truck makes a lot of noise and scares me.”
  • There may be other creatures outside – “Don’t you dare come into MY territory.”

Those are a few of the scenarios, and each case is unique and involves a specific program tailored to each dog. It involves substituting new wanted behaviors for old unwanted ones by working on your dog’s senses – sight, smell, sound, touch, and even taste. It involves behavior modification on his part -- and yours!

You may have even asked your veterinarian to help with medication -- but medication alone will not solve the problem. Medication may help because it changes your dog's brain chemistry so learning can take place easier. Your dog needs help with behavior modification and training so his behavior will change.

Separation anxiety is a complex issue and can be difficult but is usually not impossible to overcome. It takes time and understanding, and most of all, patience on your part. It is the most difficult behavior problem I work with because we are trying to change your dog's behavior when you are not present. You may become frustrated during the program because we're working with a new normal, both for you and your dog. Expect the frustration, and work through it. You are your dog’s best hope. If it is separation anxiety, he cannot overcome this by himself and he will not get better over time. He does not have control over his fear – it really is bigger than he is.

We at Doggie Manners have worked successfully with several cases of separation anxiety. We do a full assessment of your dog's behavior to determine whether it is separation anxiety.
We determine how severe it is because the treatment plans differ depending on the severity.
And we give you options.

Yes, there is hope.

Read what our clients have to say below, and then give us a call if you are in the Los Angeles area at
You and your dog don't need to suffer any longer.
We look forward to working with you.


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When I adopted Penny from an animal rescue, she was almost perfect. Like many shelter dogs, she had severe separation anxiety and would bark loudly and chew things up all day when left alone. I thought crating her might make her feel more secure, but after a few days of crating, I came home and found her with a bloody gash on the side of her face. She had tried to chew her way out and cut herself on the metal bars. I never crated her again.

As a lawyer, though, I had no choice but to leave her alone during the day, so I left her out of the crate and crossed my fingers. No luck. Everyday, I would come home to find stuff all over the floor and the door scratched up. My neighbors forced me to get her a bark collar for the barking, and getting a dogwalker didn't seem to help. As soon as the dogwalker left, the barking and destruction would start all over again.

When I heard about Caryl, I was skeptical as to how effective a personal dog training session would be. I felt like I had tried everything--crating, bark collars, positive reinforcement, teaching her a few commands, practicing coming and going, all the stuff you read online. But when Caryl came and personally met my dog, it made a big difference. She didn't give me generic advice that you find on the internet--she gave me specific advice about my dog, the reasons why she was behaving that way, and how I could fix my own behavior to prevent it from continuing. After sticking with Caryl's instructions and a little patience, I can honestly say that now Penny is completely perfect. I leave her at home with a Kong and come home to find her grinning at me from ear to ear, no destruction, no noise complaints. I'm thrilled to know my dog is happy even when I'm not around. If you have to leave your dog alone for work like I do, I would definitely invest in Caryl--that one session will go a long way to a lifetime of happiness with your dog.

Naeun Rim

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My Samoyed, Panda, came into my home around four months old and was the perfect fluffy little angel as long as I was around.  But when I left to go to work or go out with friends, she would bark, whine and howl away. This was despite that I made sure she was never alone for more than three or four hours.  

After several notes from my understanding but less and less patient neighbors, I decided to have Caryl come over for a private lesson.  She gave me an array of different options to try, and we talked about everything from food to toys to exercise.  After only a few days, Panda stopped with her protests and started looking forward to me being gone because it meant that she got to play with fun toys and get a chance to sleep before her next activity. 

Now almost a month later, I'm happy to report that I've only received notes from my neighbors that Panda is quiet and well behaved while I am gone.  It's given me the freedom to go out and live my life without worrying that the newest member of my family is sitting at home, either bored, scared or frustrated.  And since things have worked out so well, Panda and I have signed ourselves up for Caryl's weekend classes. 

Thanks Caryl!  -- John and Panda, the Samoyed. 

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I want to thank you again (and again and again) for helping me to expand my canine consciousness. People comment on Finny's good behavior all the time, which is nice, but what really matters to me is his comfort and how relates to the world. And that has improved exponentially. Finny used to tremble when he saw me getting ready to leave the house. Not long after we completed the tricks/agility class, his trembling stopped. I was amazed. Three-and-a-half years of that, and suddenly gone! Maybe he was just ready, but I really believe the classes had a profound impact on him and his nerves.

Michelle Solotar

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I wanted to thank you for helping me make so much progress in such a short time with Maxwell. Maxwell is a high energy rescue dog, a Pomeranian. He went from being extremely scared of everything, so scared that he’d jump into my arms when walking by other dogs. Then he became “protective”, he’d bark at everything…almost charging at whomever or whatever we walked by trying to indicate that no one or nothing should get near me. He also had a severe case of separation anxiety. Needless to say I needed some help with Maxwell.

I found Doggie Manners on the Internet, and Caryl made head way with Maxwell on the first visit (at which he was constantly barking). Maxwell stills gets excited when I have guests over, but now he settles down within the first few minutes and he’ll go to his “place” and play with a toy. And when we go for walks, everyone says how well behaved he’s become. I even let him run and play at the beach with other dogs, and he comes to me when called. He’ll lie down with the flick of the wrist, sit with either a visual or audio command, and we’re working on stay at the curb. He’s also so much better when we go on errands or car trips. He used to be almost frantic in the car, now he sits in his safety car seat and watches the world go by or just sleeps.

Thank you, Caryl, for not only helping me train Maxwell, but for also training me. I think the most difficult part for me was not treating him like a baby. I now feel more educated on canine behavior…sometimes I feel like the Dog Whisperer because packs of dogs will come up to me at the beach…waiting for direction (and probably a treat). : )

Christina & Maxwell (my precious pup)

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Dear Caryl,

I wanted to write you and thank you for your help with Brianna, our Shar Pei and Great Dane mix. We were at our wit's end and did not know what we were going to do with our 75 lbs of destruction and drool.

We adopted Brianna at 8 months from the local pound. We have adopted other dogs and been quite successful at integrating them into our household, but with Brianna we were helpless. Her destructive behavior began with eating the new sofa in the patio followed by uprooting most of the plants, the sprinkler system, and the Malibu lights in the back yard. No one could get in the door without being knocked over and covered with drool.

We took Brianna to puppy obedience class, but she only obeyed when she wanted to, and the wild behavior continued. We hoped she would grow out of it, but instead she just grew bigger and the problems increased with her size. It took us a year of trying on our own, unsuccessfully, before we looked for professional help. We did not even know if it would help, but we were desperate. My husband was skeptical, but we agreed to give it a try.

Wow, what a difference! After the first lesson, Brianna was a different dog. We were amazed, especially since in the first lesson you spent only 20 minutes with her. We quickly learned that it was the 90 minutes you spent with US that made all the difference. The signals we were giving Brianna just reinforced her behavior.

We followed your advice, did the homework, and watched Brianna grow happier and calmer -- the result we wanted. People are no longer hesitant to come over to our house, we are not covered in drool or dragged down the street on walks, and we don't have to worry what she'll destroy next. Our three cats and 9-year-old SharPei are also much happier. Everyone immediately notices the difference. Thanks for showing us how to change our lives with Brianna from stressful and aggravating to pleasant and happy.

Thanks again,

Tiffany, Pekka, and Brianna

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I am really grateful that I was able to meet Caryl through a vet I just had jumped in. I think I was longing to meet someone like Caryl for such a long time. She has made my life much easier and I believe my dog’s life, too.

We moved to Los Angeles from Tokyo with our dog for my husband to attend business school. He getting accepted to school and we moving to the States were very exciting news, but at the same time my dog had become the biggest problem of my life.

My dog, 7 years old and a male Maltese, has had many behavior problems. I had brought him up like a spoiled child. I believed that if you gave as much love as you can, he would just turn out to be perfect, in another words a well behaved dog. But he proved me wrong and his dominant behavior escalated as the year went by. He growled or barked at us whenever he didn’t get his way, and he would not do anything I wanted him to do.

But my biggest concern was that he had the worst separation anxiety and I wasn’t able to leave the house. It seemed like my dog was running my life and I was tolerating it. I had knocked the doors on every dog training schools, but all gave me the same answer saying that it was impossible to retrain him at his age. I was hopeless and clueless.

Then I was introduced to Caryl and I was thankful just after our first session because he was obeying my command for the first time. The first session, he kept on barking to get his way with Caryl and it was very embarrassing for me and at the same time I felt very sorry for my dog. I had brought him up wrong and I was all to blame for, and the dog didn’t know what was happening. But with Caryl’s patience and her experience, she and my dog were able to get to a point where she was able to communicate with my dog. I guess that my dog probably feels very secure with Caryl and trusts her, so he does what he is expected.

One thing we tried to do so hard when knowing we had to put my dog on the plane was to get him inside a crate. We tried everything, but he seemed to be so scared in the situation of confinement and darkness. The most he would do was to put his two forehands in and reach very hard to get the treats in the back corner. Till the last day of our flight we were not successful in getting him in the crate. So we were left with the only option of giving him tranquilizers and shoving him in. The medicine did not work at all and he was whining all through his flight. But Caryl gave him a treat and said “IN” and the next moment he was in the crate and through our session he stayed in there. Now he takes his naps inside the crate. What did Caryl do that was so different from my training? I haven’t figured it out, but that’s how good she is with dogs.

Another great thing about Caryl is that she counsels you. She is ready to hear your problems out and she has so many advice. I think this is very important because training your dog can be a lot easier when you understand your dog’s point of view.

It is so hard to put into words, but she does miracles with my dog. Usually when you try to force a dog to do something or raise your voice, a dog can get scared and avoid you the next time. But Caryl just has this warmth and tenderness that dogs relate to. By following her basic command training daily, my dog’s separation anxiety is starting to fade away. I regret myself in being too ignorant towards my dog, and I just wish I had met someone like Caryl a lot earlier. She is not only an animal behaviorist, but also a great dog owner counselor. Thanks to Caryl, I am able to enjoy my stay in the States without feeling guilty in leaving my dog home alone.

Ai and Yoshihide Azuma

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I recently adopted a Great Dane from a rescue and from the moment I got her home knew I was in trouble. Chloe was suffering from massive separation anxiety that led to excessive barking when I left the house. I got several complaints from a neighbor that if the barking didn’t stop, animal control would get involved.

I called Caryl Wolff and got Chloe enrolled in training classes. Chloe did great in training. I was surprised by how quickly she took to the exercises. I’m constantly complimented on how well she behaves in public and always have people asking how I trained her. I simply tell them it was Caryl Wolff and give them your number and say,Call her. It’s the best call you’ll ever make.

After a few classes and the practice we did at home and great advice from Caryl, the barking declined to just the normal bark when people were going in or around our house. That wasn’t enough for the neighbor. She didn’t want to hear her bark at all. She called animal control. I was issued citations and then a supena to appear. I immediately called Caryl. She knew exactly what to do. She dug up names of attorneys, articles, and just had amazing amounts of information and was overwilling to help with the situation. I guess all this has paid off because she canceled the animal control hearing, and they haven’t heard from her since. All I have to say is thank God for Caryl Wolff.

Thanks again,

J. Horton, J. Horton Photography

Read more about solving Dog Behavior Problems.

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If you need help with a dog behavior issue or dog or puppy training,
please contact

Training is easy when you do it right©
Start with a phone call to 1-877-7-DOGGIE today.
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© Caryl Wolff 2001-2014

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided as a free service for information only and is not intended as a substitute for veterinary, grooming, dog training, or dog behavior advice or treatment. It does not create any form of legal or professional relationship. Doggie Manners Dog Training does not accept any liability or responsibility for any action taken or avoided on the basis of information provided herein. Please consult a veterinarian in matters relating to your dog’s health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention, a groomer for grooming issues, a dog trainer for dog training issues, and a dog behavior consultant for dog behavior issues so that each professional consultation can be tailored to your own individual circumstances.



Caryl Wolff

is the *only*
dog trainer
in the world who is concurrently certified or endorsed by these organizations, having passed their examination requirements.

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

IAABC certified dog behavior consultant


National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors

National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors


Certification Council for Professional
Dog Trainers

Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers


Association of
Animal Behavior Professionals

Association of Animal Behavior Professionals


American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator

Certified CGC Evaluator


Puppy Evaluator

akc star puppy


She also is a professional member of these dog training organizations.

Association of
Pet Dog Trainers

Association of Pet Dog Trainers


International Association of Canine Professionals

IACP dog trainer

International Institute for Applied Companion Behavior




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