What to Do When Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety The techniques in this article will give you a proven separation anxiety cure for dogs. This totally works, so follow the steps exactly and remember that persistence is the key to any successful dog training regimen. Separation anxiety in dogs should NOT be ignored. It's a major gateway into other dog behavior problems. If your dog shows signs of resentment or anxiety when you leave him, there are vital actions that should be taken as quickly as possible. When I first adopted my dog Duncan from an animal shelter, I couldn't be any happier. He was just the cutest little guy - Only 5 months at the time. I had really lucked out with such a healthy young pup. Duncan was just the happiest little buddy. He would follow me EVERYWHERE. He slept at the foot of my bed every night. He ran excitedly to me every time I walk through the door. He was my shadow and a loving one at that. All the time, I overlooked just how overattached Duncan was getting. He would cry relentlessly whenever I left him to go out. Additionally, he would display resentful behavior whenever I would leave him for an evening out. I'd come home to chewed up shoes, a ripped up floor rug or an accident on the carpet somewhere. The fact was, none of Duncan's behavior was incidental. He was trying to give me a message. He was saying "don't leave me lady, or you'll come home to chaos." Duncan was secretly trying to train me not to abandon him. I had read about dog separation before but this was my first challenge experiencing it firsthand.
What is Dog Separation Anxiety? Dog separation anxiety is a behavior shown by dogs where they become panic stricken at the first sign you're leaving the house or leaving their side for any period of time. Your dog is so attached to you that the idea of abandonment is thrust into their brain the moment you become out of sight.
Dog separation anxiety is usually exhibited by the following symptoms...
Symptoms of Dog Separation Anxiety
Signals of resentment o Chewing up things when you're out or away o Urinates or defecates inside your home when you're out o Barking, whining, crying or howling at your departure
Shows no guilt over the destroyed items from your time away o leads to further disobedience o changes the pack hierarchy relationship o Can create anxiety induced aggression over time
Wild when greeting you at your arrival o leads to jumping up on guests o Can lead to behaviors like leg humping
Your dog is excessively clingy and refuses to be ignored o can create hostility with other dogs o may create an overall dog anxious behavior with strangers
Cries continuously when not sleeping right next to you o sleepless nights o leads to long-term health problems o interferes with you quality of life
Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety Don't feel guilty if your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety. It's not your fault. Realistically, most dog owners will experience some degree of dog separation anxiety at some point in their puppy adoption. Most often, puppies will cry at night when they're first separated from their mother. A nice cure to this is wrapping a ticking clock in a thin blanket and putting the clock into the puppies bed during sleeptime.
The ticking clock creates a calming sensation of the heartbeat of your puppy's mother. This can work well if implemented consistently from the moment you adopt your puppy. Understand that just because your puppy shows symptoms of dog separation anxiety, you don't necessarily have a big problem on your hands. Suffering from severe separation anxiety in dogs is what has most likely led you here, so don't assume that your sleepless newborn puppy is a giant red flag. More likely than not you're experiencing some of the more troubling signs detailed above. So what's causing dog separation anxiety in your pet? It could be a number of factors. The most common are listed below...
Boredom: Your dog may be restless. Perhaps he's not getting enough exercise or dog training during the day. If you've been slacking in giving your dog POSITIVE attention, he'll make sure you give him ANY kind of attention. More often than not, he'll rebel and you'll be forced to give him attention for negative behavior.
Confinement: Before you start crate training your pet, find out if the breed does well will this type of confinement. Some dogs will panic inside the crate, tear up their sleeping quarters and rebel against you the moment they get out. Monitor your dog's response to your training and adjust accordingly. Some dogs are better trained in a closed off room rather than a crate.
Not Being Properly Socialized: If you don't bring your puppy around other pets and people often, he may shy away at the first sign of strangers. Dogs who are not properly socialized don't understand their place in the pecking order of outside animals and people. This can lead to general anxiety outside the home and confusion when left alone with strangers or other dogs. They may feel protective need to be overbearing around newcomers.
Trauma: If your dog is from a shelter and abused or mistreated by previous owners, he may have trust issues with you. The first sign of your abandonment will send him into a fury of confusion and panic. Trauma doesn't have to be as cut and dry as this either. Perhaps your pet is terrified of thunder and lightening. The trauma of being scared in a storm by himself can lead to further fears of being alone.
Changes to the Usual Routine: I've said it again and again. When you start a dog training routine with your pet, consistency is key. Your dog learns through repetitive lessons and rules. When these rules change, your dog will feel confused and anxious. Know your training routine before you adopt a puppy. Routine should include the times of the day when you feed your dog, take him out for a walk, train him, put him to sleep, crate train...everything.
Separation Anxiety Cure for Dogs The strategies below should help you out quite a bit in eliminating this dog behavior problem…
Create a Comforting Environment: Ensure that when you leave the house, your dog has plenty of water and warm comfortable bedding. Leave your dog a blanket or article of clothing with your scent on it. Make sure it's something that your dog can chew up without concern.
Food for Thought: When possible, try to feed your dog just before you leave the house.
Relaxing Sounds: If you normally have the tv or radio on when you're home, try leaving it on when you leave the house. This can be soothing to your pet and give him a sense of normalcy when you're away.
Exercise away Anxiety: It's important that your dog is stimulated with exercise and training regularly. Take your dog out for a long walk, playful exercise or a long training session prior to leaving the house. He'll be worn out and tired when you leave and won't suffer from boredom induced separation anxiety. Tucker him out and he'll rest in your absense.
Adopt a Buddy: Although it's not guaranteed to get rid of dog separation anxiety, buying another pet to keep him company will more than likely reduce his boredom.
Downplay your Departures: NEVER make departures a big deal. Pay very little attention to your dog when you're about to leave. This tactic is best implemented when you first get your puppy but it can still be very effective if your dog is a little older. It sounds mean, but ignoring your dog for 10 minutes and then slipping out the door creates a better transition for your separation.
Greeting Etiquette: I know it's hard but avoid over the top greetings when you come home and see your dog. Try to remain calm and warm. Positive reinforcement or enthusiasm should be saved to praise your dogs good behavior. I'm not telling you to be cold to your dog but if separation anxiety is a problem, these are the steps you'll need to take.
Practice Time Apart: Try putting your dog outside, in the backyard, during scheduled times of the day. Prevent him from following you around the house. Force some alone time between the two of you.
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Published on Sep 9, 2009
Published on Sep 9, 2009
The techniques in this article will give you a proven separation anxiety cure for dogs. This totally works, so follow the steps exactly and...