dogobediencetrainingtoday.com Dog Separation Anxiety: Causes and Solutions
Dog Separation Anxiety: Causes and Solutions • Dog separation anxiety is one of the most common problems that new pet owners face. Ever had your dog bark and bark and bark when you leave the house, leaving you wondering if they’re doing this endlessly for hours while you’re gone? (Your dog may even mess with things in your home, destroy, or worse, possibly endanger himself or herself while doing so.) • Knowing how to deal with dog separation anxiety is one of the most important aspects of any dog training plan, and the first step to deal with this behavioral issue is finding out what’s behind it.
What causes separation anxiety in your dog? • Dogs are pack animals, and there is a direct attachment between them and their masters. Because of this, when you leave your home, your dog may feel nervous at the thought of your impending absence. • When you give your cute and cuddly friend too much attention before leaving the house, and then give them lavish attention once again upon your arrival back home, and this routine goes on day after day, over and over, this can actually reinforce separation anxiety in your dog. Why? Because your dog associates this type of lavish affection with you leaving him all alone, probably for hours at a time.
REDUCING YOUR DOG’S SEPARATION ANXIETY •
To reduce such anxiety in your dog, you will first need to start changing your morning routine. Case in point: if your dog starts to exhibit anxious ehavior when they hear your alarm going off, it means that they have associated the sound of your alarm with the fact that you will soon be leaving the house.
To prevent your dog from making this association, for the first while during their dog training or re-training, try deviating even slightly from your normal routines.
Wake up at slightly different times… dress earlier than usual… take your keys down before you leave and then wait for a couple of minutes instead of immediately heading out the door… These little deviations will often reduce your dog’s anxiety.
REDUCING YOUR DOG’S SEPARATION ANXIETY • Many people are surprised to learn that petting their dog before leaving and upon arriving home only encourages separation anxiety. As tempting as it may be to shower your new puppy with hugs before you leave the house, you must avoid this routine in order to disassociate your dog from your coming and leaving. This way, your dog will not take as much notice when you leave. Take 10-15 minutes to ignore your dog when you get home and, as tough as this may be to do, do not give in when they’re making sad noises.
REDUCING YOUR DOG’S SEPARATION ANXIETY • If your dog grows restless the moment you step out of your door, practice leaving the house for a short time and then come back. Seeing you coming back shortly after you leave changes your dog’s expectations of how long you’ll be gone and when you’ll return. This begins to ease their anxiety until they become used to you leaving the house for longer periods of time. • Some people may think that this kind of training is a bit harsh as it involves withholding some affection from your dog even if they are practically begging for it at times. • However, the complete opposite is true. Only by using this type of dog training technique from the very beginning can you really help your dog ease his anxiety and experience emotional comfort while you are away. • And remember that reducing or eliminating dog separation anxiety is one of the healthiest gifts you can give both your dog and yourself.
REDUCING YOUR DOG’S SEPARATION ANXIETY •
An important note: prolonged, severe, and stubborn anxiety problems need to be addressed with care and given special attention – most preferably with the help of a professional such as your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer. Many times, though, by following the simple techniques above and sticking to the concept of reducing your dog’s feelings of abandonment when you leave the home, the issue of dog separation anxiety can be resolved very effectively.