Virginia Tech® home

Dogs sought for study on separation anxiety

From: College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

The Applied Animal Behavior & Welfare Lab is partnering with Companion Labs to investigate whether a remote training device can improve treatment outcomes for dogs with separation anxiety. Dogs will be enrolled in one of three treatment groups, all of which include the current best practices treatment. Some dogs will additionally receive training on the Companion device, which uses artificial intelligence to train dogs with food rewards to engage in different desirable behaviors (like sitting, or lying down) while the owner is away.

We are currently recruiting dog participants! To be eligible, the dog needs to show excessive vocalization and/or destruction when the owner is gone (it can show other undesirable behaviors but it must show vocalization and/or destruction as well). The dog must engage in this behavior regularly when the owner leaves and begin showing problem behavior within 10 minutes of the owner’s departure. Dogs must be able to eat kibble or treats while the owner is away, and not have any medical issues that would prevent the dog from sitting or lying down often (these are the behaviors we train with the device).

To find out more information, please contact Erica Feuerbacher at or go to to fill out our initial survey that we use to screen for eligibility.


Share this page