Separation anxiety in dogs is a stressful and usually destructive behavior associated with being separated from their owners/parents. Even if the actions only last for a few minutes, they still qualify as separation anxiety. In short, your dog is experiencing anxiety because you’re not around. While their behavior can be scary and destructive, there are ways you can deal with it and help your pet at the same time.
Change your leaving signals
Your pet can tell when you’re going to leave the house by your actions. Maybe they see you getting dressed and putting your shoes on. Seeing those action might cause them to start panicking. Some experts suggest these different signals:
- leaving out of a different door than you normally do
- putting your coat on roughly 15 minutes before you’re going to leave
- leaving your keys in a different location
This way, you can break your dog’s association of these actions with you leaving the house. You can also give them treats to distract them when you leave.
Play with your dog before you leave
Another way to help relieve separation anxiety in dogs is to play with your pet before you leave the house. One of the reasons your dog might be prone to panic episodes while you’re gone is because they have too much energy. A tired dog is a calm dog. Try exercising with your dog for about 30 minutes before you plan to leave the house. This will relax your dog and hopefully divert their attention to food and sleep when you’re ready to depart for the day.
Train them to be alone when you’re in the house
One of the most important steps for relieving separation anxiety in dogs is to help them feel comfortable being alone in the house while you’re still there. Train your four-legged friend to stay in a room by themselves while you go into a different room in the house. Try starting for only five to 10 seconds at a time, then increase intervals up to 20 to 30 minutes over several weeks.
Don’t leave your dog alone for too long
Finally, try not to leave your dog alone for too long if you can help it. If you’re going to be away for six to eight hours for work, see if you can take them with you. You can also look into doggy daycare for your furry friend. Finally, try to structure your errands in small intervals so your dog is never left alone for extended periods of time.
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