Your Dog May Have Mild Separation Anxiety
We all love spending time as much as we can with our dogs and forming a tight bond that is essential in a dog-owner relationship. In fact, many pet owners love to take their dog or puppy everywhere carrying them in the car and in purses whenever possible. However, there are circumstances when it is not possible to include your furry friend; in these cases, your dog or puppy may experience separation anxiety. Remember that dogs are pack animals and constantly want to be around people, especially you. Most adult dogs can be left alone for about 8 hours and will not cause any trouble. Also, remember that your dog or puppy may realize that when you are not around, she can get away with behaving incorrectly, by chewing your items and furniture. What you may consider separation anxiety might actually be boredom; she engages in inappropriate behavior because she lacks exercise and proper behavior training, such as potty training. You want to leave a video camera when you are not home to tape your pet's behavior. Watch carefully as she grabs an item to chew on; is she happy and excited? Or tense and upset? A dog that is bored will look content and relaxed, while one that suffers from separation anxiety acts very different.
Recognize Separation Anxiety
Your canine may have separation anxiety problems if she has grown dependent on you and will be anxious and stressed when you leave her side. Your dog or puppy does not know where you are going or if you're going to come back to her. This causes her to engage in inappropriate behavior. You will notice that as you grab your cars keys or throw on your jacket, your dog will become extremely distressed and will attempt to go out the door with you. When you walk out the door, you may find that she starts whining, howling, and barking and may even scratch at the door. Her behavior will probably continue for the next 30 to 45 minutes and in worse cases, even longer. When you arrive back home, your dog or puppy immediately runs to you and is overly eager to greet you. She will cling to you all around the home for a while and take a long time to calm down again. Furthermore, you will notice the inappropriate actions that she has been engaging in while you were gone. Your dog or puppy may chew on the furniture and rip up the carpet; she will most likely chew on items that smell most like you, such as your slippers or the chair you always sit in. You will also find that she urinates and defecates around your home and may even find vomit or diarrhea. Other signs of canine separation anxiety include loss of appetite, excessive digging, and destroying your plants. Your neighbors might also complain about your dog's stress, such as crying, howling or whining when you are not home. Your dog may have even attempted to escape by jumping out the window, digging under the fence, or damaging blinds and window screens. If you have placed a camera in your home, you will see that your dog or puppy paces around your home and is upset until you get back. A dog with separation anxiety will want to constantly be near you when you are home. She will follow you and get anxious if she cannot be near you even if you are in the next room.
Why does my Dog have Separation Anxiety?
You may have several dogs but find that only one will develop signs of separation anxiety even under the same circumstances. This is because all dogs, like people, are not the same and do not experience the same thing. All of your pets may be under the same circumstances, but only one will develop some sort of separation anxiety. There are many reasons that your dog or puppy may have developed separation anxiety that might be mild or severe. One simple reason may be a change your routine or work schedule. Maybe you normally work during the day and your shift changes. Your dog will be anxious and distressed when you are not home during a certain time frame. It could also be that you had a week or two vacation from work and your dog has grown accustomed to seeing you home all day and spending quality time together; she might confused when you leave her alone again and think you are never coming back. Your dog or puppy is a creature of habit and even a small change can cause separation anxiety. Another reason could be that a family member has moved out, such as a child that got married or went away to college. Your dog or puppy will not understand what is going on and not know what to expect when you step out even for a short amount of time. It may also be that you have moved to a new home; your puppy needs time to get used to and grow comfortable in her new home. Keep in mind that if your dog or puppy has always had someone home and that is no longer possible, she may even be scared of being left alone and develop behaviors that indicate separation anxiety.
She may be anxious about how she will survive on her own and develop food anxiety, as well. Separation anxiety may also occur after your dog has gone through a traumatic experience, such as burglary, fire, thunderstorm, hurricane, or earthquake, and she is afraid it will happen again while you are not home to protect her. Furthermore, if it occurred while you were away from home, she will be even more concerned that some event will take place again when you leave her side. Dogs that have spent a period of time in an animal shelter usually exhibit separation anxiety; especially those that have been gave up by another family.
End the Struggle with Separation Anxiety
There are many techniques that you can apply in order to cure your dog's separation anxiety. First of all, be sure there is nothing physically wrong with your dog or puppy. If she has a disease, a disorder, or is in pain, she may be extremely sensitive to her surroundings and any changes that occur. You want to be certain that she has a balanced diet with all the nutrients she needs to keep her healthy and avoid unwanted behavior. One of the keys things you must provide for your puppy is socialization. A dog or puppy that is properly socialized is comfortable with her surroundings and is not easily scared. Furthermore, it helps deter other behavior, such as excessive barking, chewing, and crying. It can also help prevent separation anxiety because she will know what the noises and occurrences around her are and not become anxious and stressed. Remember that you should be the dominant one in the owner-dog relationship. To ensure that this is the case, you want to teach her basic training commands, such as the sit or recall command. A dog or puppy that is dominant over you or another dog will be aggressive and will be more likely to develop separation anxiety. She will wonder where her less dominant pack members have gone and display the behavior accordingly. However, when you are the dominant one, she shows respect to you and be less likely to suffer from separation anxiety. Another thing you want to be sure of is that your dog's environment is one in which she can feel safe and comfortable. Make sure your house is not too hot or too cold and that she has plenty of food and water as well as warm bedding. Also, be aware of any strange or threatening sounds in your neighborhood that may trigger your dog's behavior. Exercise is also essential to keep her healthy and mentally stimulated. She might be tired while you are not home and sleep rather than exhibit bad behavior. Remember that your dog should have plenty of toys of her own so that she will have a distraction when she is alone.
Mild separation anxiety
Mild cases of separation anxiety can be treated easily by modifying your own behavior and interaction with your dog. First of all, you may want to feed your dog or puppy before you leave your home. She will be more anxious and nervous on an empty stomach. Another important thing you want to do is to somehow let your dog or puppy know that you will be coming back. If you normally listen to music or watch television, leave one on so that your dog can realize that you will not be gone forever. Remember to leave a radio station or a television show that does not have people arguing or yelling so that it will be soothing for your pet. You can also leave her special toys in which you can put a doggy treat inside of. It will give her something fun to do and she will feel like she has found a reward inside. Some dog owners get another pet for their dog to have someone e around with; this is not a bad idea because it will keep your dog from feeling less lonely and give her someone to play with. A way to avoid having your dog destroy your home is by confining her in a crate. It may seem cruel to leave your dog or puppy confined in a crate, but there are some dogs that feel secure in the familiarity of their crate. Make sure that you are not leaving her confined for too many hours and that she is not going to hungry or have to do her "business." Also, you can confine to one room or certain area of the house if that works better. Remember that a crate may not work for your dog. If he acts anxious and stressed when being placed in his crate or you later find evidence indicated he tried to get out, you should not leave her in the crate! Your dog should be crate trained if you want to use this method.
You should also try confining your dog or puppy to a room or a crate when you are home. You can leave her there for a short amount of time and then let her out again. This will teach her that being away from you is not a negative thing and that she is able to be on her own. It is also important that your dog learns the stay command as it will be useful in this situation, as well. You can command her to stay while you walk away to another room or area of the house. Be sure to always come and give her praise when she is calm; make the experience a positive one. It may be difficult to not spend as much time as possible with your pet, but it is in her best interest!
When you are leaving your home, do not make a big deal out of it. Ignore your dog for about 5 to 10 minutes before you leave. Also, if you usually leave through the front door, try leaving from the back door or the side door if you have one. Your dog or puppy will be more anxious if she sees you going for the same door you always us to leave. If you notice that she gets anxious when you go to grab your coat from the closet, leave your belongings in a different area. Be sure to quietly slip out the door without a fuss. When you come back home, do not immediately greet your puppy or dog. Instead, ignore her for about 5 to 10 minutes again and then quietly greet her and stroke her head. Then, go about your business once again. This will show her that your leaving is not a big deal and nothing to get worked up about. Another solution you might not have considered for your dog's separation anxiety is leaving him with family, a friend, or a neighbor, or taking her to a doggie day care center. This will allow her to interact with others and not be alone in the house waiting for you to come back.
These solutions work well if you have a dog that suffers from mild separation anxiety. For more severe cases, you may need additional solutions and guidance. We have provided more information on severe separation anxiety, which you can read and get started on as soon as possible. The key is to have a dog that is healthy and under the best conditions you can provide! Furthermore, you want to be happy with your dog and comfortable in your home instead of upset at your dog's behavior and worried about her health. This is why we also provide more resources that will help you have a dog or puppy that you always wanted and deserve.
Here are the resources which pertain to the above information:
Kingdom 6 day course - a very good FREE course that has tons of useful tips to use on your pets anxiety