If separation anxiety in dogs is a problem for your pet, there are many things you can do to help. There are also many things you can do to make the problem worse. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts for dealing with dogs with separation anxiety. We’ll look at the “don’ts” first, and then finish up with the “do’s.”
Here Are Some Don’ts For Dealing With Dogs With Separation Anxiety
The most important thing you need to know is that you should never punish your dog when he’s acting out because he’s scared. This will only make him even more anxious. Plus, unless you catch him in the act of destructive dog behavior, he won’t know what he’s being punished for.
You need to rethink how you interact with your dog. The problem of separation anxiety in dogs is often related to dominance issues. A dog who thinks he’s the pack leader will be anxious when his followers leave. This is because in the wild, although the leader can leave the pack for a while, the other members of the pack can’t leave the leader.
To assert your position as pack leader, try these suggestions. Instead of giving your dog attention every time he asks for it, you should be the one initiating contact with him. Feed him after you eat, because pack members eat only after the alpha dog has eaten. When you go for a walk, make sure he is either walking next to you or behind you. Don’t allow him to pull on his leash ahead of you, because the pack leader always goes first.
Discourage your dog from becoming too attached to you. Don’t let him sit or lie down within a yard of you. You may need to rearrange furniture or put something on the floor so he can’t get too close.
Don’t let your dog sleep on your bed. Ideally, he shouldn’t even be in the same room. Start out by making him sleep at the foot of the bed, and then get him a dog bed to sleep in. Eventually move his bed out of your bedroom.
If there are other people in the household, take turns feeding the dog and taking him for walks. This way your dog won’t become too dependent on one person.
Here Are Things You Should Be Doing To Help A Dog With Canine Separation Anxiety
You may be surprised to find out that your dog knows you’re leaving a lot sooner than you think he does. You may go take a shower, comb your hair, put on your work clothes. Your canine friend certainly notices these things, and he associates your doing them with your leaving.
Your goal here is to desensitize your dog to these cues that you’re leaving. Do these same things, but then stay home. Get your car keys, and put on your coat. Then sit back down. This is a slow process, and you’ll have to do it many times over several weeks, but eventually your dog won’t get upset when you do them.
Do make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. You should take him for a long, vigorous walk, both in the morning before you leave, and again in the evening. This will use up excess energy, and help him to remain calmer in your absence.
Keep your exits and entrances low-key. Ignore your dog for twenty minutes before you leave, and again for twenty minutes when you come home. Don’t encourage him when he gets worked up when you come home. You want him to learn to accept your comings and goings in a matter-of-fact manner.