HOW TO HELP A DOG WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY
It’s common for dogs to whine a little before you leave the house and exhibit some naughty dog behaviors while you’re away. But when they show signs of stress when left alone, they might be suffering from separation anxiety.
Canine separation anxiety is a common problem, especially among puppies and dogs rescued from being abandoned. They become hyper-attached to you or a family member, and experience mild to extreme stress when they’re left alone. This is a serious issue that dogs don’t just grow out of. Addressing it is crucial to avoid a host of health and behavior problems down the road.
SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG HAS SEPARATION ANXIETY
HOWLING & BARKING
DROOLING & PANTING
HOW TO ADDRESS SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS
Follow these steps to help dogs with separation anxiety:
STEP 1: OUT-OF-SIGHT STAYS AT AN INSIDE DOOR.
STEP 2: OUT-OF-SIGHT STAYS AT EXIT DOOR.
STEP 3: OUT-OF-SIGHT STAYS WITH DEPARTURE CUES.
STEP 4: COUNTERCONDITIONING
Part of helping them get over the fear of being apart from you is giving them ways to enjoy their solitude. One of the best ways to do this is to leave a toy in their bed or crate before you leave. For extra excitement, use a toy stuffed with peanut butter before you leave. Avoid bones altogether and make sure you use a durable toy that’s safe for them to play with even without supervision.
Having a special treat or toy to play with while you’re gone won’t just keep your dog occupied but also help stimulate their excitement. If you do this consistently, they’ll understand that they have something to look forward to whenever you leave.
Remember, you’re not meant to do this all at once. Treating separation anxiety takes weeks or even months. Observe your dog for stress cues and only do what they can comfortably handle.
Once you’ve gone through all three steps, all there is to it is consistency. Try to make every day the same as sticking to a routine will help manage their anxieties.
OTHER TIPS TO HELP DOGS WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY
ENGAGE IN CRATE TRAINING.
LEAVE SOME PUZZLE TOYS.
EXERCISE BEFORE LEAVING.
LEAVE YOUR SCENT.
SEEKING HELP FOR YOUR ANXIOUS DOG
CERTIFIED ANIMAL BEHAVIORIST
Naturopaths can offer non-pharmaceutical ways to calm anxiety, including natural herbs and supplements.
It’s normal for dogs to want to be around you all the time. If they show signs of separation anxiety, however, they’ll need help with learning how to cope. Depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, treating separation anxiety might take a lot of time and effort. But, helping them become comfortable with being alone is crucial to raising a healthy and happy dog.