Family - Pets
By: - at March 3, 2013

Dog With Separation Anxiety?

Does Your Dog Have Separation Anxiety?
There are many signs to tell if your dog has separation anxiety by watching your dog’s behavior. Separation anxiety is an animal’s fear over separation from its owners. Your dog is afraid of being left alone. Is your dog extremely attached to you, wanting to cuddle and always be around you? Your dog may always worry, bark, and/or yelp when you leave. Destroying objects, wanting to over eat or under eat, urinating or defecating in the house or inappropriately, salivating, panting, pacing, vomiting, or having diarrhea are signs of separation anxiety. They may also show depression or aggressiveness when you are getting ready to leave the house. If your dog has bad enough separation anxiety they may try to escape. Escaping may usually result in damages or self injury especially when dealing with windows, doors, window air conditioners, and points of exit. They will try to chew through, scratch through, or break through anything no matter the potential pain it may cause them. They will try to get out of the situation of being left alone in the space you left them in. You often see these signs in a puppy but they should go away in time sooner than later. If your dog is getting older and never losing these symptoms you need to start training them to work on lessening or losing their separation anxiety.

dog pee

Your dog is thinking they are about to lose their best friend and they are never coming back. There is no known cause of why dogs develop separation anxiety, but there are ways to try and help to fix the situation. The main point in fixing your dog’s separation anxiety is to solve the dogs underlying issue; dogs are social animals so they will always want to be around you. You want to teach the dog to enjoy or be able to tolerate being left alone without being stressed or having anxiety. Knowing that you are going to come back to them is key to fixing separation anxiety issues.

Things That Can Trigger Separation Anxiety in Your Dog
dog chewingThings that can trigger separation anxiety are changes in schedule, moving homes, switching owners, etc; Ways to work on fixing separation anxiety include putting your dog in a smaller area so they feel more secure. Positive reinforcement tends to work with dogs giving them a treat or verbal praise, and you want to ignore the dog’s bad behavior. Ignoring the dog’s bad behavior is positive because to you, you think you are showing the dog that you do not like what they did, and you are punishing them. To some dogs this is not the case. To some dogs they are searching for the attention from you, so even verbally reprimanding the dog makes the dog happy because they are being noticed by you.

Start small by leaving the dog in a room with you, hangout with them in the room for a short period of time, then make your way and slip out leaving them in the room alone. The dog will think they are being left alone. Next after only waiting for a short period of time, go back and get them to show them you did not leave. As you continue to work with leaving your dog in the room alone increase the time you leave the dog alone. You could also try doing things you would normally do when you are getting ready to leave the house. Get your keys, get dressed, and put your shoes on so the dog thinks you are actually leaving the house. Doing this over and over will hopefully show your dog that you are going to come back. You can also spend less time with your dog at other times of the day during your training. Use less eye contact, less verbal praise, and less time comforting them. It is also important to have your dog sleep in another room if it usually sleeps in your bed or bedroom. This will help decrease the dog’s strong attachment to you by showing them that they do not have to be around you at all moments of the day.

Man's Best Friend
Some dogs can tell ten to twenty minutes before you are even thinking about getting ready to leave the house. Some will try to prevent you from leaving by getting aggressive or depressed. A way you can try to prevent this from happening is to say your goodbyes a half hour before you actually leave the house. Start to ignore the dog for twenty to thirty minutes, instead of giving the dog extra love because you feel guilty about leaving them. Another help for the situation is making sure your dog gets the right amount of exercise. Exercise will help your dog calm down and not feel as up tight, help them rest more calmly, and be less fretful when left alone. You can try putting something in the cage with your dog when you leave that smells like you for the dog to feel more comforted, just like you are there with them. You could also leave the radio or TV on so the dog does not hear complete silence; the noise may be comforting to them. Do not make a big deal of coming and going, this will show the dog that it is not a big deal to you about the time you guys were apart, and it is not a big deal for you to come and go. Making a big deal of coming and going from home will reward the dog's concern about you coming or going. Before you leave the house try to leave the guilty, concerned, and nervous feelings behind. Bring out the confidence you have as the pack leader as you need to be assertive and calm in the hope that your dog can sense this in you. It will soon ease your dog’s separation anxiety. You could purchase a Thundershirt for your dog, which is a vest that goes around the dog that would comfort them further. It comforts them because it applies pressure, which is said to help relieve anxiety.

dog training

When to Consult the Vet
If none of the above suggestions work, I would suggest turning to the use of medication to help calm your dog down and get rid of the anxiety. Before turning to the use of medication, I would suggest to consult your vet for the proper medication to use. When your dog is losing its separation anxiety you will notice changes in your dog such as being less tense, more carefree, less depressed, and more enthusiastic. During this training remember patience is the key. Your dog is not doing things to misbehave and make you mad, they are doing it because they are scared and unsure of you. They believe that their best friend and companion is leaving them and never coming back.





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