Dog separation anxiety is a very frequent problem that many pet owners are facing. On a reasonable scale, it can be irritating and can initiate your dog to bark for a while when you leave home but if this anxiety is left to move on, the outcome could become much more serious and your dog could end up devastating your house and making a mess, or barking continuously as soon as you go away.
The Sources of Dog Separation Anxiety
Dogs are considered as pack animals and they grow a straight attachment for their master and they become nervous as soon as you leave home. But the biggest part of their anxiety is caused by particular actions you connect with your absence. Even if dogs don’t like being left alone, there is no evident explanation why they should become so agitated.
It occurs for the reason that you give attention to your dog when you leave and when you return or you have the same habit every day. As a result your dog’s behaviour is emphasized daily and the outcome is a dog that develops uncontrolled anxious feelings when you leave your house.
Reducing Dog Separation Anxiety
Many solutions exist to diminish dog separation anxiety and here are some of the simplest techniques.
Change your habits – Begin with the morning routine. For example if your dog shows an odd behaviour as soon as your alarm clock rings, it can mean that he has related this specific sound with the act of you leaving home. Try to get up at different hours, to dress earlier, also get your keys down before you leave and wait a little, all these small variations help reducing the pre-leaving anxiety.
Do not reinforce it – By petting your dog when you leave or giving him a lot of attention when you come back, you are only emphasizing this anxiety behaviour. The simplest approach to decrease dog separation anxiety is to eliminate the association your dog is making of you leaving or coming back with the attention he receives. Don’t pay any attention to your dog when you return home and this for at least 10 to 15 minutes, and don’t pet him when you are about to leave the house and don’t succumb to his sad little noises. You can practice this through crate training or even by putting your dog in an isolated room where you are going to leave him and come back intermittently.
Increase to longer periods – if your dog shows anxiety the moment you step out of the door then begin by leaving home for brief periods of time, disappear for a few seconds then return. You can deal with dog separation anxiety by modifying the periods your dog expects you to be gone and be back. If your dog realizes you will return every time then you can extend the period of your absence every time.
You are Not Being Mean
Many dog owners believe that these approaches to anxiety are cruel but actually they help your dog to relax and make him understand that you are always returning and that you are in control of the household and thus there is no reason why he should feel anxious. If you can reduce dog separation anxiety your dog will have a better physical and mental health.
In case of a serious long-lasting anxiety problem, an immediate approach is necessary. Even though your dog becomes barely worried and does not have a destructive tendency when you are away, you can significantly decrease his sensations of abandonment by making him learn to dissociate your comings and goings with his survival and the pack hierarchy.