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Separation Distress Presented by Alexandra Santos

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018
  • 1:00 PM
  • Monday, July 11, 2022
  • 2:30 PM
  • GoToWebinar


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Presented by Alexandra Santos

CEUs: PPAB 1.5, IAABC 1.5

This presentation is about separation distress in dogs.If, on one hand, separation distress has an evolutionary function, on the other hand it becomes a serious problem when a pet dog is afflicted. Separation anxiety has repercussions on the dog's and owner's quality of life. It can be resillient to behavior modification mainly due to the fact that the protocol itself can't always be carried out under controlled situations.

we will discuss the characteristics of separation distress,its various causes (biological, behavioral and environmental), its symptoms (physical and behavioral), how to distinguish it from virtual separation distress and social isolation phobia. The presentation briefly mentions treatment options and emphasizes the importance of referral to a veterinary behaviorist. Then it will focus on a behavior modification protocol that entails: environmental enrichment (different kinds of exercise, rest, training,toys, olfactory stimulation);what to do when the dog is left alone; environmental changes that will make him more comfortable; relaxation protocol;owner behavior adaptations;preparing the dog for being left alone.


Attendees will learn the causes of separation distress in dogs - biological, environmental and behavioral.They will also learn the differences between separation distress, virtual separation distress, and social isolation phobia. I will share with them the importance of environmental enrichment and what it is, and the importance of olfactory stimulation.Finally, they will learn the protocol I use for solving separation distress, issues that hinder the dog's progress, and how food dispensing toys given only prior to the owner's departure may actually represent an instance of backward counter conditioning.

Your Presenter


Alexandra Santos

Alexandra Santos is a professional canine behavior consultant and trainer, with formal education through The Animal Care College in the U.K. where she graduated with honors for the Diploma of Advanced Canine Psychology, and through The Companion Animal Sciences Institute where she graduated with distinction for the Diploma of Advanced Dog Training.

She is the author of the books “Puppy Problems” and “Puppy and Dog Care” and has also authored and co-authored several articles for the Journal of Applied Companion Animal Behavior and for the International Institute for Applied Companion Animal Behavior. Alexandra lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal, has been a lecturer at several seminars on positive reinforcement-based training, regularly presents webinars for the Pet Professional Guild, is a professor at Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias and provides individual coaching for dogs and their people..

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