How to Deal with Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Cure Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs separation anxiety is a disturbance, that makes dogs to misbehave
in anxiety of staying home alone. This disturbance may lead to very
distructive dog behavior, like crazy barking, breaking household things
and your personal items. The result may be frustrating and stressful for
both the dog and owner, when you come back home and see the condition
of your home. And even regular obedience training is not a cure.
But there is something helpful for curing separation anxiety in dogs. The method is called systematic desensitization. It lays in gradual getting used of your dog to staying home alone. The process is as follows:
Dog boredom and separation anxiety in dogs are frequently confused by
owners. Both of these disorders lead to dog behavour problems (chewing,
barking). But dog boredom is cured by mental stimulation, adding more
exercise and activity to daily routine, while it does little or nothing
to cure separation anxiety. Try to define, what is the reason of dog
misbehaviour: dog boredom or separation anxiety. If you add more games,
exercise, extra walking, toys, an obedience class and see a big change
in dog's behaviour, the reason of barking and chewing is dog boredom.
But if nothing of the mentioned helps, you should approach the following
steps to cure dog separation anxiety.
We have a definite routine of steps we perform before leaving home - shower, brush, dress, take keys, wear boots, go out the door. It is easy for a dog to follow your steps and recognize your intention to leave. Once it happened, a dog may show separation anxiety from the first of your actions. And till the moment of your leaving your dog is already full of panic. To prevent a dog recognizing your intention to leave, change some steps of your daily routine. Start to repeat some things you do before going out throughout the day. You may take your keys and hold them sitting on a sofa, watching TV or working at your laptop. Or you may wear a coat and feed the dog. The intention is to show a dog that these action are not the sign of your leaving the house. Within a few weeks your dog's anxiety and reaction to these things should be eased.
Come and Go
Of course most of dog owners hate leaving their dogs as well. That's why
often we show attention, affection and caress, play with our dogs just
before we go out and right after coming back. This way we wish to soften
the moments of leaving our pet home alone and countervail it. But in
fact, it comes contrarwise and this way we add more anxiety to our dog.
The best way to prevent it is to ignore a dog right before leaving home
and for a little time after coming back. This way shows to your dog that
your leaving and coming back is a usual thing.
These means are usually enough to deal with separation anxiety in dogs, if it is a mild or moderate case. However, you may need more work over more serious cases.
Prepare Your Dog For Your Leaving
This way of dog separation anxiety cure requires a real commitment and time. It is important: once the cure is started, never leave a dog alone for a long time until the separation anxiety is overcome. It may take several weeks to succeed. You may need to get a vacation or help of a dog sitter, or a daycare service for your doggie until you get to the point.
When you make sure that you dog is never alone, start training sessions. You will need at least half an hour for each one. Go out the door for a short time and come back. Calculate the time to be enough before your dog starts show anxiety markers. Be ready, that your dog may show anxiety right when you step out, so at first you may need to come back in several seconds. After coming back keep quiet and give your dog time to relax. Once you notice him being calm, go out the door again. Repeat these actions until your dog takes this step calm and shows no signs of anxiety.
Then prolong the time of being out day by day, step by step. Be patient, as at first you may need to go out for a second and increase the time very slowly until your dog is calm and gets used to your leaving. But do not increase the time until you are sure that the dog is showing no signs of anxiety for a previous time span.
Coming up to the point of leaving your dog for 45 minutes, add time more quickly: hour, two, and then the whole work day.
Gratefully to your patience and devoted sessions for an hour or more each day, you will succeed within a few weeks. But if nothing helps to overcome the separation anxiety in dogs, you need help of veterinarian or a dog behaviorist.