Dog separation anxiety happens when dogs are stressed after being left alone, a little bit like what happens to people when they are missing their loved ones after being separated. It is fairly emotional. For example, children can often display behavioural signs because of one of their parents being away for a period of time. The same thing happens with dogs, although not all dogs react in the same fashion. You will probably see your dog rush to the window when he sees your car pull up, wagging his tail and when you leave, he will get that puppy dog look in his eye.
Dogs who are affected with dog anxiety separation will bark a lot, hoping their owner will return. This even happens to dogs who are loved and adored with the greatest affection. When it gets really bad, dogs will start to scratch on the doors and windows and even chewing the carpets and furniture. If your dog has this behavioural problem he doesn’t know anything about time. Every time you leave the house he will start to whine, whether you are gone for a couple of minutes or a couple of hours.
Some people confuse this anxiety with boredom. A dog may be bored and will do things like chew at the furniture and ruin the garden, but this will happen every now and again. It may happen when you are home and when you are out. This is something else that needs to be attended to.
A number of different people have come up with strategies which have been proven to be successful.
- Just by having some background noise like the television or the radio, your dog will feel there is company.
- Give him exercise before you go and make this a regular thing. Focus more on playing with him. Do this every day.
- Another good way of dealing with the situation is with dog treats. This may be a bribe, but it has worked. Also make sure there is plenty of food there.
- If the situation gets really out of hand you can ask your vet for something that will calm him down.
- Make sure there are plenty of toys around.
Curing dog separation anxiety
Often the main reason that dogs are affected with this is because they are attached to their owner. They are always with the owner and this is not their fault. Make a little bit of a barrier by giving them their own space to sleep in. Don’t let them sit with you too often or sleep in your bed. This is not easy, but it is the first step to correcting the situation. Once you have taken that step you can relax a little.
- Long walks and swims at the beach or in the pool are a very good idea. Play fetch with him. Exercise is the best thing for a dog like this. It will calm any sort of behavioural problem down a lot. There is also the mental side which needs to be exercised. Get him focused and make him to be on his own a lot more. There are a lot of games you can play to build this kind of confidence.
- Get involved in a group with other owners and dogs so that your dog does not get attached and rely on you so much. Let him mingle and play with other dog. This will bring up his confidence as well. Another thing that will help with confidence, which is very necessary, is a training program, which can be built into his routine. Teach him new tricks or go to a dog class where he can learn more.
- Have a kennel or at least a bed for him and it should definitely not be in your room. Some owners don’t want to leave their dog in a lonely yard outside, but that’s not necessary. You can find a room to leave him at night in a big bed or in the kitchen. As long as he knows where his space is.
- Don’t get too emotional and start treating him like your child when you leave. Don’t walk around the house all day talking to him because you can imagine this is going to increase the anxiety. Just be calm and he will be calm as well.