How to Relieve Separation Anxiety in Your Dog
How does your dog behave when you leave him/her alone?
We have all seen little children who panic and cry their eyes out when mom and dad are leaving, they are feeling separation anxiety, which they usually outgrow within a period of time. But did you ever think that your dog could be feeling the same type of anxiety and distress when left home alone?
Not only is your pup feeling a bit of anxiety and fear, but she could be feeling boredom as well…there’s no one to follow around from room to room, no one to pat their head, offer treats or play fetch with…sounds kind of boring to me!
Separation anxiety can happen to any type of dog and at any age…
Keep in mind, dogs are very social, so it’s understandable why they might behave like this, but it’s up to you as their “pet parent” to teach them proper behaviors, which in turn will give them security and a feeling of well being.
Some of the behaviors you might notice are:
- Constant howling or barking (your neighbors will probably be your source of information on this one)
- Destructive chewing – this can happen to something as small as your shoe or something as large as your sofa.
- Doors and door frames gouged by claws.
- Urinating or defecating on the floor, even though your dog is well-trained.
- Being overly excited to see you when you return home.
It’s nice to be missed, but this is a bit extreme!
What can you do to ease your dog’s anxiety?
- First of all, don’t make the fact you’re leaving such a big deal, keeping your good-byes matter of fact helps Fido understand that it’s no big deal, and just part of everyday life. Your comings and goings could be practised with your dog so she gets used to the idea that you leave and you return.
- Whenever possible, take your dog for a bit of exercise, so when you return home, she will be ready for a nap, and your leaving won’t be as noticeable.
- Leave plenty of her favorite chew toys available to keep her occupied and relieve stress.
- If you are able, getting a 2nd dog for companionship can be a lifesaver.
- You may need to crate your dog during your absence…especially if she is a young dog, still going through training. Provide a crate that is large enough to stand and move a little bit, provide soft bedding and a favorite toy. Don’t keep your dog in her crate any longer than necessary…make it a pleasant place to be and she will soon feel right at home in her own space.
- If you have the space in your home, a nice quiet dog-proofed room, such as a laundry room, set up similar to the crate is a great way to create her own space also.
- If you must leave your pup for hours at a time, such as 8 hour work days, consider taking her to a doggie day care where she will have plenty of company, exercise and opportunity for naps.
You might be surprised at what goes on while you’re away…watch this brief video for a little preview:
My training techniques are based around one simple question:
What do you want and expect from your dog?
We believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are, under given circumstances and situations.