How to Curb Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Your dog is your best friend, and there is no doubt about the fact that you are his as well. Understandably, he may feel slightly anxious whenever you grab your purse and head off to work, or when it is time to go on holiday. Separation anxiety is a common phenomenon among pets, but the good news is that it can be rectified – for both your dog’s and your neighbors' sake! Here are some tips.
Signs your that dog has separation anxiety
Barking, howling, or whining for long periods in your absence is the most common sign of separation anxiety in dogs. However, this noisy element may not be the only sign that there is a problem. In some instances, dogs may also begin causing damage to the house or the yard by digging up flower beds, chewing on furniture, or ripping up toys. Some may even start to have frequent ‘accidents’ indoors, pant uncontrollably, or try to escape to come and find you.
Treat him when you leave
Try to change the fact that your dog associates your leaving with fear and sadness. Invest in a new toy or delicious treat that you know he will love and give it to him every time you leave the house. Also, be sure to take it away from him the moment you return.
Give him some natural calming medication
Don't make a big deal when you leave or return
You might be tempted to offer plenty of cuddles and kisses when you finally get home from work, or to try to console him before you leave each morning. However, this kind of attention can only worsen the separation anxiety. Blatantly ignore him when you get back for at least 10 minutes for the best results.
Leave some previously worn clothing behind
Many dogs will find comfort in having their owner's smell close by. This scent can help to comfort them in times of stress, especially if they can curl up with it. If you aren’t worried about the clothing getting damaged or smelling a bit musty by the end of the day, place it inside your dog's basket to encourage him to rest instead of pacing or barking for the majority of the time that you are away.
Dogs with more severe separation anxiety will not be distracted by tasty treats or expensive toys. If this is the case, then it is important to try to allow them to take their time getting used to being without you for extended periods. Start by leaving the house for just a few minutes at a time, and gradually extend that length of time to a few hours. The key here is to teach your dog that even though you may leave for a bit, you always come back. Once he realizes this fact, he is likely to be more accepting of your comings and goings.
Be patient with your pooch. By keeping the above tips in mind, the separation anxiety is sure to simmer down in time.