Dogs: Dealing with Separation Anxiety

dogs and separation anxietyMost dogs would love to tag along on every car ride, regardless of how dull the excursion may be. Unfortunately, dogs would attract strange looks at the grocery store and the office.

Let’s face it! Even if, our pups tend doggie daycare, or get walked midday by a sitter, there will be times that Fido has to stay home alone. So, how do you deal with your dog’s separation anxiety?

Dogs are social creatures. They want to be with their owners. When you leave Fido alone, this can cause issues for both of you, resulting in disgruntled dog outbursts from barking and whining to chewing, vomiting and potty mishaps!

If you think your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, there are steps you can take to help him adjust for the times you can’t be together.

Practice Separation

Go through your “going away” routine. Step outside for about five minutes then “return home” and greet your furry friend. Do this until Fido becomes accustomed to seeing you leave and return. Then gradually increase the length of these practice separations.

Create a Safe Place

If your dog does not already have his own place, such as a crate or pillow, create a haven all his own; a place he can retreat to that he feels safe, receives treats and belly rubs.

A Calm Return

When you return home, your hound probably goes nuts barking, whining, jumping and craving your attention – a sign that he has been worried about your time away from him. While it is tempting to pet him to calm him down, let him calm down on his own.

Ignore the barking, licking, and rowdy behavior upon your return. Once he becomes calm, talk to him, and express the love and affection he is craving. This can take time and practice, but with consistency, you’ll be able to train your canine to accept your return home in a calm manner.

Offer Distractions

For the destructive pets in particular; having an alternate means of expending energy is essential. Taking your dog for a walk or run before you leave for work may put him in the mood to nap and calmly lounge until you return. A chew toy all his own might be a compelling alternative to destroying your couch cushions and slippers.

Some dogs prefer the quiet to relax, but other dogs miss the hustle and bustle of having their family (pack) at home. Leaving a radio or television running is worth trying if your dog likes a busy household.

Swaddling

Puppies and babies are different in many ways, but they have some common needs when it comes to desiring the comfort of their parents/pack. While not every canine is going to tolerate the full swaddle wrap, including an old t-shirt (one that smells like you) in his crate can make Fido recognize your presence while you’re gone.

About The Author
Dr. Susan Wright, DVM, has been providing quality care for family pets as a veterinarian for more than 10 years. Dr. Wright is a dog bark collar expert and author. In her free time, Susan enjoys writing articles, giving helpful tips and proper care advice to dog owners.

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