Help for Dogs Suffering from Separation Anxiety

8:20:00 AM

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One of the most common fears in dogs is being left alone. Dogs are pack animals and naturally seek companions. While most dogs will just sigh and wait when their humans leave home, other dogs can show uncontrollable behavior.

The moment their master leaves the house, these dogs will incessantly bark, howl, drool, urinate, defecate in the house or destroy things. In extreme cases, some dogs even starve themselves or go through self-mutilation. 

Also known as separation anxiety, this type of fear is true, especially for some dogs who came from shelters or dogs who have been passed around from one owner to another. These dogs have a tendency to be overly dependent and are extremely afraid of being abandoned.

The best way to help a dog with separation anxiety is to not give any emphasis to your departure.

Undoubtedly, your dog had already identified hints from your actions when you’re about to leave. For instance, checking on your door locks or taking your car keys, putting on your shoes or picking up your bag on your way to the door may be obvious hints for your dog that you are about to go out. These routine gestures give you away. To help your dog, you need to help him get used to these clues.

Owners usually pat their dogs or give them a hug just before they walk out the door, and although this is a sweet and endearing gesture, it is unhelpful for dogs with a separation issue. Your departure has to be as low key as possible. Don’t draw attention to yourself when leaving. Don’t even say goodbye.

Go through these gestures frequently even when you’re not really leaving the house. At the start, focus on just one of your ready-to-go signs and do this particular action over and over for a few days, even when you are not going out of the house until you see that your dog is not responding to this certain action anymore. Then go on from one action to the next. It could take a while especially if your dog has already recognized your “going away” rites well enough.

Another trick is to leave the house for a few minutes. Just when your dog is starting to panic, immediately go back inside the house. Don’t try to do anything special before you go out and also when you’re getting in. Just act like everything is normal. 

The moment your dog starts to get impatient, surprise him by going back in the house right at that instant. Start with short absences such as five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, increasing the length of your absence as your dog progresses. You might need to practice this repeatedly in a day and continuously until your dog can’t tell the difference any more. It can really take days, even weeks, so if there is no way you can stay home for a long period, you will need someone to practice your dog for you.

Dogs get bored too. So give your dog something to do. Give him something which he can focus his attention on.

They can get really depressed if all there has to do is watch the door waiting for you to walk in every minute.

Some toys available in the market are the Kong, Buster Cube, Squeaky toys, Floatable, etc. But before you go out and buy one, find out which you think will work best for your dog. Not all dogs like the same things. Each dog has a different toy that he likes to play with. It is up to you to decide which toy is best depending on your dog’s personality.

It is also worth mentioning that just like humans, dogs need enough exercise to be healthy, both mentally and physically. They need to get out, play, and run, to interact with objects. They need to socialize with other people and other dogs too. If your dog only stays inside the house all the time, he may get depressed. 

Walk your dog and you’ll be surprised that it has double benefits. You and your pet will get good exercise at the same time! Also, if you’re dog is tired from walking or running, he can spend the rest of the day sleeping while you’re away.

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