Mouth work can also be very important for this behaviour. To calm the emotions you need to lightly rub the gums; dampen your fingers if the mouth is very dry. Again doing this from behind and to the side is best, with your hand placed under the dog's chin for support without restricting movement, but many dogs need to have an intermediate step before accepting this TTouch. If your dog can take treats gently, take a small chewy treat and hold it between your fingers and thumb, stand to the front of your dog and allow them to sniff and nibble at the treat while with your other hand you can lightly rub the gums, swap hands to do the other side. Please note this should only be attempted if the dog has a gentle mouth and won't snap at your fingers, and should only be done for short periods initially.
The tail can often feel very stiff and releasing this tension can be key to the dog's confidence. Once your dog is happy to have the Clouded Leopard all over the tail, gently support with your hand at the base and move the whole tail in circles, these movements need to be tiny and within the normal range of movement; practise on your finger first to see how little movement is needed before it becomes uncomfortable and then apply the gentle rotation to your dog's tail. At first it may be very hard to move and wooden, you will probably need to dip in and out as your dog will show reluctance for you to touch him in this area but after a while the range of movement should improve and the dog becomes happier with this TTouch. If in doubt, go back to the Clouded Leopard.
A body wrap is an essential tool for anxiety of any kind; this is a stretchy bandage which we place around the dog, providing the feeling of comfort and security, a bit like a portable hug! A T-shirt can have the same affect, but if a human shirt is used, make sure it goes on upside down i.e. the clothes tag is under the chin not at the back of the neck. If using the body wrap, let the dog sniff it first and then find the middle of the bandage. Place the mid-point on the dog's chest, just below the collar, and bring each end up over the shoulders and cross them over the back so it looks like a cross over their shoulders, pass each end under the belly and bring them back up to the top, tie a double knot just off the spine. The section where the knot is can then be slid a little further down the back towards the hind quarters and should sit maybe three quarters of the way down the back. Make sure the tension is the same at all points by placing your hand under the bandage at several points; if too tight in one area rob Peter to pay Paul until it is the same all over. The bandage or T- Shirt shouldn't be tight. Feed your dog some treats or play with him for a while until he forgets about the wrap. If he shows a lot of interest in it, take it off and do more TTouches before trying again. This can be left on for short periods at random times but should never be left on when the dog is unsupervised.
You can perform TTouch sessions on your dog for short periods every day or every other day; twenty minutes daily in total is more than enough. Do the work when you are calm and can pay attention to what you are doing. Avoid doing the work directly before leaving as you don't want your dog to link this work with you going out. The work will be effective for many hours so working with them an hour or so before leaving will still help. You can also use it just prior to a training session to help calm and focus your dog and even during training if he is finding it hard to cope. Doing TTouch will not reinforce the behaviour but be careful not to do other things that might, like talk to him in an overly reassuring way.
For 'alone' training, work must start with you still inside the house. After calming your dog and body wrapping him, you could supply a really nice treat that takes some time for him to eat. Once engaged with the treat quietly leave the room and shut the door but return almost immediately before your dog panics. Repeat several times and over several sessions if your dog is still concerned at this stage. Once you can walk out and return with ease, stay out for a few seconds, slowly increasing the length of time. What you want to avoid is the dog barking or pawing at the door. If at any time he does this reduce the length of time left back to where he was happy and work up from there again. Ideally, train this in different areas until he is happy to be left in a room anywhere in the house with you in another part for a good length of time. Once this has been achieved, start from stage one with going out the front door i.e. walk out and straight back in again, increasing the length as your dog starts to cope. Be warned: do not make too large a leap. The most common mistake is people think their dog is ok for ten minutes so next time I'll try thirty minutes, but this will set you back.
Another method I have used is an object to symbolise you leaving. This is good for really clingy dogs that you can't even leave the room for a second without them panicking. Pick an object that the dog doesn't know, like an ornament which you normally keep out of sight of the dog and place it in his view. While the ornament is on display, totally ignore the dog, don't look at, talk to or interact with him at all, even if he touches you. Then put the ornament away and make a fuss of him. Increase the time length until the dog is comfortable and knows that when the object is out he will have no interaction with you and will settle down. Only then can you start placing the object and leaving the room, going through all the stages in the 'alone' training already described. The ornament isn't usually necessary but for extreme cases it can get you on the first rung of the ladder.