3 Tips to Ease Separation Anxiety

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September 23, 2011
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Does this sound familiar? You leave the house and as you walk to your car you hear barking, loud panic barking. If you placed your dog in the crate, you might hear some rattling as she tries to break out of it. Your dog may use the alone time to tear up a pillow or pee on the carpet and pant with fear that you’re never returning. Your dog suffers from separation anxiety. A common problem that can take a long time to overcome.

There are some tips you can try to help ease the problem but it must be constant and everyone in the house has to be on board with the routine or else it may not be effective. You also have to make sure the problem is separation anxiety and rule out any medical problems. Next, rule out any other problems that could be causing some of the mess such as making sure your dog has eliminated in the yard or on a walk before you leave for the day.

Here are 3 tips to help curb the anxiety:

1: Keep your coming and goings relaxed. When leaving, give your dog a pat on the head and say goodbye. When coming home, say hello after you have taken off your coat, brought in the groceries, and taken off your bag. If your dog is overly excited ignore him and don’t pay any attention till she seems calm and relaxed. She’ll be happy you’re home but that doesn’t mean she has to go nuts.

2: Keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated and you’ll see changes in behavior. Exercise can enrich your dog’s life and decrease stress. When your dog is tired, there isn’t too much energy left to be anxious and express it by being destructive. Ideally, she’ll just rest after the initial barking and panting.

3: Positive reinforcement helps promote good behavior with your dog. Teach your dog to associate leaving the house with something good like getting a kong toy with peanut butter in it or some other yummy treat. This positive association can help resolve the problem as well as distract her that you’ve left the house!

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2 Responses to “3 Tips to Ease Separation Anxiety”

  1. CJ says:

    My dog doesn’t like kongs or other treats at all … It would have to be a marrow bone and I often worry about leaving her unsupervised with food… You never know if some freak choking accident could occur, do you?

  2. EB says:

    I always have a conversation with my Rat Terrier (can you say hi-energy) prior to leaving the house or boarding him. I calmly, down on his level, tell him where we are going and approximately how long we will be away. He is pottied, water bowl is checked, no treats involved in this at all.
    I tell him to get on his rug, (his TV watching spot, LOL) tell him to be a good boy and we’ll be back. Works well, maybe we are lucky but if so I’ll take that. When we return we act as excited to see him as he is to see us.

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