What Is Dog Separation Anxiety and How to Reduce It
This problem is seen quite often in shelter dogs. I am dealing with this issue as a dog that I just adopted from a shelter has separation anxiety. If the problem is not treated or worked on it can lead to more stressful problems. This problem is not seen in every dog.
Some of the signs to look for are:
Some dogs have a more extreme case of separation anxiety and are more destructive than others.
Destructive like chewing on shoes or furniture, scratching, digging or going to the bathroom on the floors.
Barking, whining, howling.
Depression, lack of appetite, trouble breathing.
Following you from room to room.
The dog starts running in circles as you are getting ready to leave.
Some dogs may attempt to escape from the house to look for you.
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Here are some tips to reduce the separation anxiety in your dog.
For a shelter dog that has been adopted is to have patience. The dog will learn new commands better to help combat the issue if he feels that the new home is a safe, secure environment. Need to bond with your dog like playing and going on walks. This will help to use up his energy and be ready to relax alone. Create a quiet safe space for the dog only. Over time your dog will learn that he will be safe in that space while you are gone.
Next is to keep departure and arrival low key. This may be hard at first. For departing try not to pay attention to the dog for 10 to 15 minutes before leaving the house. After arriving home ignore the dog for a few minutes, then acknowledge him with some calming petting or hugs.
Offer some more comforting things for the dog by leaving a piece of clothing that will have your scent on it. This will help relax and some sense of familiarity because of your scent. Also, don’t forget to leave his favorite toys and treats. Buy some treat games to him busy and the brain mentally stimulating while you are gone.
You could introduce a safety cue to be used such as “that you will be right back” for every time you leave the house. Start small by using the safety cue when you are going outside with the trash. Most of the time you are only gone a few minutes. That keeps building up the time you are away.
At first, practice your departure routine by gathering the things that you take every day with you and sit down. Repeat this routine until your dog shows no signs of distress. This way you are establishing a routine. Most dogs love having a daily routine with their master.
Don’t be cruel to your dog by yelling or ignoring him. This may cause the problem to get worse. Try to calm him down with relaxing petting and talking softly to him in a low tone.
The best piece of advice is to be patient, consistent and persisted in the technique you are using.
Separation anxiety is not a result of lack of training or disobedience but it’s a panic response.
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