Helping Overcome Separation Anxiety in Dogs | Mission: Possible

Mission Possible Course Helps Overcome Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Animal Innovations Show Episode 55: MISSION: POSSIBLE

Helping Overcome Separation Anxiety in Dogs | Mission: Possible

Did you know that separation anxiety affects about 20%-40% of dogs that are brought to veterinary behavioral specialists?

In fact, according to Malena DeMartini, a dog training world-renowned author and Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer,

“This isn’t new, not at all. As a matter of fact, it’s interesting because separation anxiety in dogs has been rather prevalent, more so than I think people realize. And then we’ve had a tremendous push in an increase in its prevalence just since the pandemic began. So, we’re looking at about 50% of the pet dog population suffering with some sort of separation-related problem. And I always tell people, ‘Well, yeah, that sounds like a big number. But, just to even take that further: in the U.S. alone, that would be 44 million pet dogs.’”

It made Malena realize that there is a tremendous need for appropriate and valuable information about separation anxiety. This is particularly true for those who can’t afford or don’t have the means for a one-on-one trainer.

This encouraged her to develop Mission: Possible, a digital, self-paced course that people can walk through to learn how to put together their own separation anxiety protocol for their dogs.

Developing the Mission: Possible Course

Drawing from her over two decades of experience in the field, Malena outlined the Mission: Possible course lessons in a way that will help dogs with separation anxiety learn to be alone successfully.

“Many dog guardians are challenged by this behavior. And the Mission: Possible course allows them to create their own protocol to gain successful alone time with their dog. We monitor student progress regularly to see the incredible progress that the dogs are making,”

Malena said.

Mission Possible Helps Overcome Separation Anxiety in Dogs

The course has lifetime access, with over 30 lessons to learn from. She also makes it a point to answer all questions and comments daily, which has led to a very interactive and supportive community.

Malena shared,

“You know, it’s interesting because one of the reasons that I think increased numbers in separation anxiety is the advent of technology… People get surprised to see that their dog is experiencing tremendous anxiety when alone, and they may not have been aware of it prior to having this ability to monitor alone-time activity.”

Adding to that is the fact that many of the pets acquired post-pandemic may have little to no exposure to being left alone. Because of this, Malena believes that it is the pet parents’ responsibility to help their animals acclimate slowly and positively to being on their own.

This is also one of the reasons why they designed Mission: Possible – to give the best information to pet parents who need it.

About Mission: Possible

As per Malena, separation anxiety may manifest differently for each and every pet. For instance, some dogs may bark incessantly, while others may lean towards the path of destruction.

Consequently, the Mission: Possible course provides solid instruction and a detailed training roadmap to help modify the anxious dog’s behavior.

“So, the course walks them through, sort of start to finish, every little detail of how to put together a protocol… We use the same process as in the 1950s to treat human fears and phobia – which is gradual and incremental exposure… We expose the dog to increments of alone time that are still within that dog’s ability to handle… So, it starts pretty slow. But then it starts to accelerate rather quickly. We have to go at these dogs’ pace so they really can get better over time.”

Mission Possible Helps Overcome Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Despite this, Malena and her team were straightforward in saying that results may still vary for each dog’s case.

As with any other behavior modification program, several factors may affect the results of each dog. These factors include lifestyle considerations, compliance with the training plan, general anxiety, and medical conditions, among others.

Still, Malena remarked,

“It’s been a really exciting time because now, it’s not just me…it’s a collective group of smart, smart people. And we’re having a really exciting and powerful impact on the industry so that people are now taking separation anxiety very, very seriously. And knowing that there is indeed hope.”

To get lifetime access to the Mission: Possible course at 50% off, visit their website at and use the code “Doobert50” to redeem your discount.



Learn more about the Mission: Possible course:

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Well, hello, everybody. My name is Malena DeMartini, and you are listening to The Animal Innovations Show.

Excellent introduction, Malena. So, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals.


I have been working with separation anxiety for a little over two decades now, and it’s been a long haul. It’s been a lot of research, a lot of work, a lot of tweaks, and updates, and so forth.

Over the past 10 years or so, I realized what a tremendous need there is for appropriate and valuable information about separation anxiety, particularly for those that can’t afford or don’t have the means for a one-on-one trainer.

So, we developed an online self-paced course called “Mission: Possible.” It’s basically a do-it-yourself course so that people can walk through the 30+ lessons and learn how to put together their own separation anxiety protocol.

And there’s a lot of big benefits in the sense that, it’s lifetime access, and you can post questions, comments, photos, and I reply to those every single day so people are not alone in the course.


So, maybe break it down for people. I mean, what are the symptoms? How do you know if your pet’s got separation anxiety?


Oftentimes, people will say,“When my dog barks, or howls, or wines, or urinates, or defecates when alone, or destroys the carpet or the door frame…”

And many people will say, “Gosh, my dog is so naughty.” But quite frankly, the reason the dogs are doing these sorts of behaviors is not because they’re naughty dogs. It’s because they’re terrified.


What are some of the things that people need to think about that the course would walk them through?


The course walks them through, sort of start to finish, every little detail of how to put together a protocol. Just to give a brushstroke overview, we use the same process that was developed in the 1950s to treat human fears and phobias.

Okay, so it is gradual and incremental exposure, and it’s going to be dependent on the individual dog.

For some dogs, 5 minutes is, like, way too long, for them to be alone at this point in time. And for others, as long as it’s under 15 or 20 minutes, they’re fine.

And for some dogs, we literally have to start at—I exit the door, count 1 to 1000, and come back in, kind of thing, right?

We expose the dog to increments of alone time that are still within that dog’s ability to handle.


You said you’ve been doing this for two decades. I mean, how did you come to get into this?


Well, 21 years ago, I had a radical change in my thought process. I was a statistician in the wine industry, and just one day, I decided: I can’t do this for the next 40+ years or 50 or however many it was going to be.

So, I took a sabbatical and really sat down and thought about what really brings me joy. What is the one thing in my life that just makes my heart smile? And to me, it was the dogs.

I went and got my advanced education in animal learning and behavior, and I started out working with all manner of dog behavior. So, aggression and whatever, all different things.

The very first case that called me needing help, was a separation anxiety case, and I was a little worried. I wasn’t particularly prepared. But the woman was desperate for help, and she couldn’t find anyone else. And with full transparency, I said, “Gosh, I’m a really green, green trainer, but I’ll do my best to help you.” And we had really great success.

I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and the moment I had success with that case, it spread like wildfire.


So, tell people where they can go, how they can sign up for the course. How do they do that?


The course is available on my website, which is MALENADEMARTINI.COM. Everyone puts an ‘I’ in there, but it is an ‘E.’ Currently, if you go under the ‘For Owners’ tab, that’s where the ‘Mission Possible Course’ is located.


Well, it sounds really cool. I’m really excited to see what you’ve done in the last 20 years, and you’ve turned this into something.

And as you said, it’s an active form, and you’re trying to help people, and you recognize the bond that they have with their dogs, and this is a really important subject for them to consider.

And as we wrap up, I’ll just remind our viewers and listeners, if you are an international expert like Malena is, in something that’s helping people help animals, let us know about it. Come on the show.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW, and we’ll get you on the show and talk to you.

So, Malena, thank you again for coming on. It’s great to talk to you.


Likewise. Thank you, Chris.

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