A dog is arguably the only best friend you have. It will not only keep you company during a bike ride but also take guard of you and your property. As much as you love your dog more than anything, you cannot stay with it 24/7. You may want to go to work, travel to visit a relative, go to the grocery store, or step out for some air.
If your canine throws tantrums, barks, or starts chewing things immediately after you leave, then it is suffering from separation anxiety. I will give you some tips on what separation anxiety is and how to stop separation anxiety in dogs. This way, your dog will stay calm any time you have to separate from him.
What Is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
In dogs, separation anxiety is a condition triggered when a dog separates from its owner. Your dog will exhibit a degree of distress and a drastic change in behavior.
You will notice separation anxiety within a few minutes (20-30 minutes) of leaving your dog. Some dogs suffer from this condition while others do not; there is no known reason for that.
- You relocated to a new home.
- One of the family members is no more.
- You give it away to a new guardian.
- There is a change in schedule (how long you leave the dog alone)
- It is separated from the litter before 7 weeks of age.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
You can tell if your dog suffers from separation anxiety if it shows the following signs and symptoms.
- Destructive behavior
To soothe its anxiety, your dog may chew into furniture, dig or scratch into walls, tear blinders, and keep destroying things. If you come back home after work to find your dog has chewed a hole in the couch, that is not naughtiness, and the dog is suffering from separation anxiety.
- Escape from a confined area
The dog may tear wires from the crate or kennel where you left it confined while you are away. Sometimes the canine may be able to escape; other times it may not. However, you can easily see signs that the dog was trying to break free. In some instances, the dog may inflict self-injury.
- Distress when you are leaving
At the first sign that you are about to leave, your dog will start pacing, drooling, whining, panting, and barking. The dog can easily tell you are preparing to leave if you put on shoes or a jacket. Typically, the dog will pace back and forth in a straight line or a circular motion.
- Too much noise
Have you received a complaint from your neighbors about your dog keeps barking and howling continuously when you are away? This is a typical sign of severe anxiety, and you should start looking for treatment right away.
- Urination and defecation
A dog suffering from separation anxiety will urinate and defecate anyhow anywhere, even if you trained it perfectly. In severe cases, the dog may even consume its excrement. Though not in your presence.
- Overly excited greetings
How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation anxiety in dogs can be mild or severe. Whichever the case, it is essential to know how to treat and eventually stop this condition. Most treatment options concentrate on behavior change. By training your dog on behavior change, it will learn that nothing is scary when left alone. Here now are some of the best ways to help a dog with separation anxiety.
- Leave your dog with clothes you recently wore. These clothes will still have your scent, and the dog will think you are still around.
- Find a cue that you will use to signal the dog that you are leaving but will be back soon. Use this cue every time you are living the house,
- Depart and arrive normally, do not make a big deal out of this. Downplay all goodbyes and hellos.
- Leave your dog a treat every time you leave and take it away when you get back. It could be a puzzle toy stuffed with his favorite food.
If need be, buy over the counter medication to help reduce your dog’s fear.
- Consult a veterinarian about the best therapy. If possible, get the necessary prescriptions for the best drugs to reduce anxiety in dogs.
- Take your dog to a day-care, dog sitter’s house, or a supervised kennel every time you have to be away.
- Start with short departures as you gradually increase.
- If your workplace allows, take your dog with you to work or to any other place where dogs are acceptable.
- Get a family member or friend to stay with the dog while you are away. Alternatively, you can take the dog to their place.
- Leave your dog with fun toys to play with.
- Play the “stay game” with your dog. Tell him to stay while you go to the other room and eventually stay when you go away.
- Exercise your dog before going away. This will divert its attention to food and sleep thereby, distracted from your departure.
- Do not leave the dog alone for too long (6-8hours).
- Crating the dog
- Punishing the dog
- Bringing in another dog or other pet
- Training the dog further
Your dog is not punishing you by behaving abnormally; it just wants you to be around it. Learning how to stop separation anxiety in dogs does not need a medical professional. With persistent work, dedication, and commitment, you will treat your dog. Once you succeed, you rest assured that your dog is calm, and you will not go back home to a total mess.