If your puppy whimpers or barks excessively when they’re not with you, or scratches your door when you’re in your room, or if you come back home after spending the day at work and find a chewed up object, the chances are that your dog has separation anxiety and they act out when you’re not around.
Separation anxiety develops when your dog gets extremely attached to your presence and lashes out when you’re not around. According to veterinarians and dog experts, separation anxiety is a behavioral issue that results in your dog feeling nervous, as a result of which, they begin displaying abnormal behavior.
Several signs suggest that your dog may have separation anxiety. If your dog nervously walks around your house, starts barking as soon as you close the door, lashes out and destroys furniture, or relieves themselves inside the house, these are all signs that your dog has separation anxiety and acts out when you’re not around. Such behavior should be viewed as warning signs instead of reckless behavior. Your dog is trying to tell you they need your constant attention, and if the problem persists, it’s best to take them to the vet.
On the bright side, you can actually help your dog overcome their separation anxiety. If they have been used to staying alone in the past, then it’s fairly easy to teach them again, but if it doesn’t seem to get better, you can always implement the following steps and ease them into a routine.
If you notice a pattern of aggressive or irregular behavior in your dog whenever they’re left alone, start by reintroducing them to the concept of being by themselves. The first time around, try to leave them alone for 15 to 20 minutes. Communicate with your dog and tell them you’ll be gone for 20 minutes. Repeat this multiple times a day and try to let them learn to be on their own.
In the next few days, keep increasing the time you leave your dog alone by gradually extending the intervals. From 20 minutes, move them up to one hour, to two hours, and so on. Slowly work your way up to leaving your dog alone for the entire day.
Getting your dog a crate helps them develop a safe space for themselves, which lets them get comfortable in their environment. They might get fussy at first if you leave their sight, but the more time they spend inside the crate, the more comfortable they’ll get. Being in a dog crate that has ample space for your dog to move around helps them stay calm and keeps them out of trouble. Consider leaving them for a few hours first and keep extending the period they spend inside. If they behave well, then reward them for being a good boy!
Separation anxiety stems from panic when your dog sees you leave the house. All they want to do is be around you all the time, and when you’re not, they get agitated and lash out. If you feel like the symptoms of anxiety are severe, consult your veterinarian about drug therapy which will help calm your dog down.
If you have a fun-spirited dog who enjoys the company of other canines, then taking your dog to a daycare facility will help them relax when you’re not around.
You can also distract your dog by leaving toys and things to keep them distracted. You can also leave your dog with a neighbor or family member who can take care of your dog while you’re away. Keeping your dog distracted is key when it comes to overcoming separation anxiety.
Now that we’ve understood the steps we can take to cure our pooch’s separation anxiety, let’s talk about what not to do.
Never punish your dog when they’re misbehaving. This will not help them cope with the stress; instead, it’ll make things worse. If you think that distracting your dog by keeping the television on or turning up the volume of the music will help your anxious dog, then you might want to reconsider this tactic. Leaving the TV on or playing loud music won’t help. However, if you want to play music to reduce your stress levels, studies have proved that typically soft rock and reggae music can reduce your dog’s anxiety.
Lastly, if you think getting another dog to be the existing one’s companion will help, think again. Your dog has developed separation anxiety because they want your attention, and getting another dog may leave them feeling more alone and unwanted.
Dealing with your dog’s separation anxiety can be challenging and confusing for both, you and your dog. By using positive reinforcement and implanting tips from this article, you can easily learn how to help a dog with separation anxiety. You can begin by leaving your dog alone gradually.
You can also try creating a safe space for your dog with toys and a blanket to help them stay calm when you’re not around. If your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, then leaving them at a doggie daycare is a good option. If the problem persists and you can’t seem to figure out how to deal with your dog’s behavior, consulting a behavioral specialist or taking your dog to the vet might help.
by Bobby J Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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