Anyone who owns a dog, at some point, is faced with the problem of dog separation anxiety. This behavior at times can be especially nerve racking when you leave in the morning. …Imagine, driving down the street and listening to your dog still barking fading in the distance.
However, by ignoring this condition there lies potential consequences where your dog can start to destroy your home, start to leave messes on the carpet at home. At that point you are wondering why did my dog do this and how can I prevent this from happening again. To add insult to injury, there is your neighbor who vigilantly reminds you of your dog’s incessant barking! Don’t lose hope yet, keep reading to find out how control this dog obedience problem…
How to Reduce Dog Separation Anxiety
When we take a closer look at this problem, we need to realize that dogs are pack animals. There is a social order that is part of their make up. When you, the master, leave the house (den) your dog becomes insecure and restless. This might not seem all that obvious when you leave them home but a dog has an innate attachment to you, the alpha leader, and now this makes her home…uncomfortable.
The reason for this behavior is due to giving your attention either before leaving the house or after coming home. Day by day you have developed a routine she gets used to and day by day it is reinforced only to find out that your dog cannot control her anxiety feelings when you leave.
One of the most common problems that the average pet owner has is dog separation anxiety. At the low end, anxiety can be annoying, causing your dog to bark when you leave the house. However, if it is allowed to advance, your dog might start destroying your home, making messes, or barking incessantly for hours when you leave.
There are many training tips to help you, these are four methods to will reduce the anxiety your dog experiences at home.
- Vary Your Routine to reduce Dog Separation Anxiety. To help reduce your dog from separation anxiety, it is recommended that you change your wake up routine. That is because your dog has naturally adjusted his internal clock to go off when your alarm goes off consistently. By changing your routine to a differently time will throw his timing off and also reduce the anxiety.
- Stop Reinforcing Anxiety. By habit you probably give a lot of attention to your dog when you are leaving, then when you get home you do it again playfully petting him, right? Well it is best to stop doing this as this only reinforces the dog separation anxiety. Instead, when you get home, ignore your dog for about 15 minutes. That is right, no attention. In the morning, when you leave, don’t pet or give any emotional attention before going out the door. This change in behavior will be difficult for you to do but do not give in to his wimpers or crying. Tip: Change his environment, put them into a different room or area where you have eliminated direct contact.
- Gradually Extend Your Exiting Time. Does your dog get extremely anxious when you first leave home? If so, try this method: Leave the house in shorter intervals, change the length in time such as a few minutes then return. Then gradually make the time longer, building up longer periods. This will change the expectation and eventually your dog will develop less anxiety. This takes patience on your part but it is well worth it for your dog and you to help improve on his dog separation anxiety.
- Behavior Training. Getting professional help for dog separation anxiety from behavior modification expert can help to replace anxious behavior in your dog. For example if you dog gets anxious because he sees you putting on your coat, then change it up: practice putting your coat on often and in different times of the day can help to break the existing routine.
You Are Not Being Cruel!
Don’t think for a moment that you are being cruel using these dog anxiety techniques. You are humanely helping your dog to calm down. Following these strategies only sends the message to your dog that you are in charge, the alpha dog and that everything is ok in his pack. When your dog settles down and understands everything is ok, it can only be improve his health as well as reduce his separation anxiety.
While there is a good chance that you can reduce your dog’s anxiety over time, if your dog continues to suffer from these anxiety problems, it is important that you seek professional help. A professional will be able to isolate the problem, work with your dog and also coach you so that you can help in the process getting rid of his anxiety.
If your dog has prolonged, severe anxiety problems, it is important to address it right away as he might be suffering from dog separation anxiety. Even if your dog merely gets upset and doesn’t destroy anything when you leave, you can greatly reduce their feelings of abandonment if you teach them not to associate your comings and goings with the pack order and their survival.