Today has been a good day for separation exercises. I went out this morning for 6 minutes. Spencer watched me go, but didn’t bark once! However, I forgot to take my handbag, so he might have thought I was just going to the mailbox or something.
When we came back from our midday walk (which went quite well apart from the cat incident, but that’s another story), I gave him a stuffed toy (this is how he gets lunch every day to make him work for what he eats) and then picked up my gear and left.
I’m not even sure he noticed me go. When I got back 6.5 minutes later, he was still working on getting the food out of the toy. This is excellent. In the past he would stop eating as soon as I got anywhere near the door and wouldn’t start again until I returned. Next time, I’ll give him the toy and try to stay away longer.
This gives me hope that the severity of his problem is due to a lack of practice and not an inherent pschological problem. After all, he’s gotten really good about my being upstairs for hours on end, and he used to whine and cry at the bottom of the stairs and occasionally try to come up.
Interestingly, although he didn’t bark while I was away this morning, when I subsequently went upstairs and closed the baby gate, he cried a little bit, which he hadn’t done in a long time time. But he quickly settled down.