Dog owners are often frustrated by their dogs’ destructive behavior and disruptive ways when they leave them alone. Dog owners report that their pets are destructive and disruptive when left alone. They say their dogs urinate, chew, scratch windows or doors, howl excessively, defecate, urinate and chew their belongings. These behaviors are usually indicative of separation anxiety. However, it is possible for them to be signs of anxiety. This is especially true if your dog’s disruptive behavior is accompanied by anxiety and drooling when you are about to leave them.
How to handle separation anxiety in dogs and puppies
Dogs can experience separation anxiety when there are many changes in their lives. Some of the most common triggers include the addition or departure of a family member, such as a child, a spouse, or a change in the routine of your family. Separation anxiety can also be caused by a traumatic event the dog has experienced while left alone, such as a storm, fire, or robbery.
Dog separation anxiety symptoms can indicate other problems. Before diagnosing separation anxiety in dogs, a vet will first rule any other conditions, such as cognitive decline or arthritis. It is impossible to ignore separation anxiety once an expert has diagnosed it in your pet.
Here are some steps to help with separation anxiety in dogs or puppies.
Encourage independence in your dog
Dogs that are uncomfortable being left alone can cause separation anxiety. To help your dog feel comfortable in its own environment, foster independence. Here are some tips to help your pet feel independent.
You should not allow your dog to follow you around in the house. You should also resist the temptation to bring your dog toys or other attention-seeking objects. Reward the dog for being independent by giving praises and treats.
Increase the dog’s tolerance to being left alone
One simple way to deal with separation anxiety in dogs, is to increase their tolerance for being alone. You can do this by gradually increasing the amount of time your dog spends alone. Begin by keeping your dog calm. Next, move your dog to another room or close the door partially when you’re in that room. You should not be alarmed if your dog makes a lot of noise at first. Gradually increase how much time your dog spends alone, so it can learn that being alone is okay. You can make the time alone more enjoyable by giving your dog a toy, or a treat that lasts a lifetime.
Use a crate to help with separation anxiety in dogs
Dogs are den animals. Crates can be used to provide a place for dogs to retreat when they are alone. It will also help calm them when you’re not there. Crate training dogs should be a positive, wholesome experience. These are some tips to help dogs learn how to use a crate.
To entice your dog, you can leave food treats in the crate. Even if you’re not home, your dog can be encouraged to use the crate for dinner.
Although the crate is beneficial in most instances, it can sometimes increase your dog’s anxiety. When crate training your dog, be sure to monitor it’s behavior. You should monitor your dog’s behavior for signs of anxiety, such as hypersalivation, escape attempts and persistent howling. The crate may not be the best option to manage separation anxiety. You might consider a room in which the dog is kept behind a baby gate.
Change your departure cues
Your departure routine will eventually trigger separation anxiety in your dog. You should change the routine you’ve been using over the years. You might need to change the way you leave, move your keys and purse around, or wear a coat so you don’t have to go out immediately. Your primary goal is to avoid a trigger in your pet’s mind by changing your departure cues.
Don’t forget to say goodbye
Your dog will be more anxious to see you back and emotional goodbyes and hellos that are too long or too slow. You can reduce the amount of hellos and goodbyes you say to your dog so it doesn’t fear you returning. When you return, be quiet and calm.
Before you go, exercise your dog
Dogs are more likely to be anxious about separation anxiety because they have lots of energy. Dogs that are tired are less likely to suffer from separation anxiety. You can exercise your dog for a few moments before you leave to help it relax and focus on feeding or resting, rather than worrying about being left alone.
You can create a private space for your dog
People sleep with their dogs most of the time. The animals think there is no space for them to call their own. They believe that all spaces where they can spend their time are linked to you in some way. Start with a private space for your pet when dealing with separation anxiety. Your dog will learn to be able to spend time with you without feeling confined. The dog will feel loved and cared for even when he is left alone.
Some background music and comfort items can be left for your dog
Even the most resilient person can feel abandoned when they are left alone in a home that was once full of people and activities. You can make your dog feel at ease even when they are alone by playing some music and having some comfort items scattered around the house. This could be something as simple as laundry with your scent. It makes the animal feel that you are still there. The house can feel alive and the background music can be used to comfort or relax the animal.
Don’t leave your dog unattended for too long
Dogs can be trained to be left alone for a longer time, but it is best not to leave them alone. Consider taking your dog along if you plan to be gone for longer than 6-8 hours. You can also arrange your errands so that you are only away for short, but frequent periods of time if necessary.
You should always have someone take care of your dog if you’re going away for a few days. You can always leave a spare key in your house so you can call your neighbor and let them know that your dog is safe.
Establish predictable reward programs
Dogs with separation anxiety prefer to play and get attention in return for doing something. Treats, food, chew toys and treats are all highly desired.
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Your dog should be able to relax and settle down when alone. This is separation anxiety. Your training should focus on making sure your dog is comfortable alone and stays in one place, such as a relaxation mat. These rewards can be given to dogs who sit on the mat for a certain amount of time. To encourage your dog to be more positive, start with short periods and gradually increase the time.
Prescribed anti-anxiety medication may be considered
When dealing with severe separation anxiety in your pet, medication can prove to be very helpful. Anti-anxiety medications help dogs cope with anxiety and speed up their recovery. Dogs with mild separation anxiety can sometimes be completely recovered if they are given medication alone. Dogs with mild separation anxiety will become accustomed to being separated while they are on medication. Once the dog is comfortable with separation, the medications can be gradually stopped and the dog’s new behavior maintained. Your veterinarian should only prescribe drugs for your dog. They are usually the last resort to manage separation anxiety.
Dog owners are known to punish their pets if they return home with untidy rooms, scratched furniture, or complaints from neighbours about their dog’s noise. These actions will frustrate your dog further and increase its anxiety. These steps have been proven to be effective in dealing with separation anxiety in dogs. These steps will ensure that your dog is happy being left alone for a while.
There is a way to prevent your puppy falling into separation anxiety. This involves socializing your puppy at 16 weeks of age. In this instance, socialization means that the puppy is exposed to positive stimuli, rather than just one or two. Your pet should be exposed to a variety of people, shapes, colors and designs to help it see that there’s more to the world beyond your home. This will reduce the chances of your pet becoming anxious if you aren’t there.
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