Does your dog get nervous when you leave the house? Has he destroyed shoes, cushions and clothes? These are signs of separation anxiety in dogs.
Separation anxiety in dogs takes place when a dog that’s very close to his master is left alone in the house. This is not just a little ‘attitude’ towards the fact that you leave him alone, this is far more concerning. Separation anxiety is a serious condition. That is why it is very important to learn how to help a dog with separation anxiety.
Signs of separation anxiety in dogs
If your pet has separation anxiety, he will display the following dog anxiety symptoms:
Whine to excess
Cause indoor accidents
Chew clothes, shoes or furniture
Scratch at windows and doors
Excessive panting and drooling
Pacing in an obsessive pattern
Causes of separation anxiety in dogs
Once you know how to spot the signs of anxiety in dogs, it is time to discover what is causing it. It is important to begin by saying that most times, dog separation anxiety is unknowingly encouraged by dog owners themselves. Answer this: do you usually make a big fuss when coming back home? This can only teach him that he should look forward to your return, and in doing so, he will feel your absence even more.
This problem usually appears in puppyhood when you like to spend as much time as possible with your puppy. In fact, you make sure that you are there for every important moment, plus you let him know that you are a very special part of his life. Now imagine what happens when he grows up and you get the idea that he needs more space because he is all grown up? Truth is, as the puppy grows, he reaches an age when he doesn’t only want to be with you, he needs it! In a way, you are his source of confidence, security, and stability.
Anytime you change this important routine, you will encourage the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs. Nonetheless, there are other factors that contribute to this disease like stress, boredom and lack of exercise. This is why you need to develop a behaviour in your dog that reflects the harmonious partnership you both share. Discipline is an important factor when dealing with separation anxiety in dogs! You need to make sure that your dog has enough confidence in himself and in your leadership. Only then, will he be ready to face situations, such as being left alone because he knows that you will eventually come home.
How to cure separation anxiety in dogs?
Sometimes, vets may prescribe drugs to calm a dog’s senses but they are not a cure. Drugs only provide a temporary solution to a bigger problem. This temporary fix does not solve the underlying problem. That is why you need to treat the root cause.
If you really want to solve this problem, you need to train your dog, preferably during puppyhood. It is no surprise that a puppy mourns your absence quite often. Usually, during this moment of weakness, you tend to pick him back up and show sympathy. In case you didn’t know this, you are rewarding his crying! You are showing him that it is fine to cry! You should stop this. The only reward is for a desired behaviour.
From the very beginning, you need to teach your pup to be quiet and settle down, you need to teach him patience and calmness. Also, try to avoid constant interaction with your pet. He needs space and alternative methods of fun like toys.
Last but not least, you have to teach the pup to accept the crate. He needs to understand that the crate can become his only real safe place. Then, everything will be much better!
Importance of training when fighting separation anxiety in dogs
Many vets believe that the true cure for separation anxiety comes from obedience, training and discipline. By following this approach, you are letting your dog know what is expected of him. This will help him understand that his good behaviour needs to become a habit.
It is necessary to spend time in training sessions. You can’t train once a week. This needs to be often and consistent. Show your dog what you want from him in and around the house, and during daily routines. Remember that repetition is the mother of knowledge!
Besides teaching him about the crate, you have to also prioritise other good manners like sitting at the door, lying down, and staying while you go out of sight. In general, you should be teaching your dog to be a respectful and confident.
In the end, you need to make sure your pet gets lots of exercises every day. A tired but happy dog will be less stressed after you leave. Don’t forget to challenge your pet's mind. Play many training games to keep him active. You can also use interactive puzzles. It is good to work his mind as well as his body. Follow these tips and you should be ready to face separation anxiety in dogs.