One of the most challenging dog behaviors to deal with is separation anxiety. More often than not, owners make things worse by indulging their dog with so much attention at the wrong time.
The Reasons Behind Dog Separation Anxiety
Because dogs are pack animals that commonly consider their owners as a part of the pack, dogs that have separation anxiety typically fail to understand that you are not actually abandoning them whenever you leave. Due to this misunderstanding, dogs with such tension will either try to go with you or keep you from leaving.
Usually, dogs exhibit this undesirable behavior because of a number of factors. These include neglect, genetic predisposition to separation anxiety, if the breed was adopted from a shelter or puppy farm, and if the dog has been separated from their mother as well as siblings too early.
Six Easy Tips to Curb the Behavior
1. Take a Walk Before Leaving
Taking your dog out for exercise, such as a 20-minute long walk, before you leave home is highly recommended as it will wear them out; thereby, making your departure not as difficult as it used to be.
Besides, it will also be a good opportunity for you to give your dog plenty of attention and say your good-bye without him knowing it.
2. The Art of Distraction
Distraction is also advisable to prevent your dog from displaying separation anxiety when you leave. Because dogs generally love to chew, try to preoccupy them by filling a Kong with your pet’s favorite treats prior to your departure.
3. Play Music
Calming your dog by letting them listen to a soothing music could also work when you leave. Classical music is highly recommended just as radio stations that have talk shows. Just keep the volume low, and provide them the feeling like they are not alone.
4. Open The Blinds & Curtains
To keep your pet from feeling trapped, give them a view of the outside. Let them see what is happening in the open air by rising up the mini-blinds or bringing them outdoors. Just make sure that shelter and water is provided.
5. Practice Departures
Another tip is adapting your dog to a certain departure routine. This may involve practicing getting ready for departure:
- Jingling your keys
- Putting on your coat
- Opening the door to leave and coming back in
- Sitting down and not going anywhere
Repeat these steps until your pet no longer reacts to your routine. Give your dog a treat and lots of praise as soon as he does not react. Just take these nice and slow.
6. Stay Strong
Finally, stay strong and don’t react if your dog begins to whine or cry. Yes, this is really tough to do, but remember, if you give in and provide them the attention that they want, you are unfortunately, reinforcing their behavior.
Avoid saying “It’s OK” or “Good girl/boy” when your dog is in this stressful state.
Do you have any other tips for our readers dealing with a dog with separation anxiety?
Share your advice and stories with us below!