One of the best joys of dog ownership is developing a tight bond with our dogs. Dogs prefer to live in groups because naturally they are highly social pack animals. When they are separated from their packs, separation anxiety occurs. It is characterized by signs of distress when animals are separated from the owner or family group to which they are highly-attached. Separation anxiety is a common behavioral problem in dogs of any breed and any age. If your dog shows behavioral responses whenever you leave home for work like digging or pacing, house-soiling, excessive barking, and destructiveness then your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Since dogs are naturally never separated from their pack and as dog owners it is our job to make the situation less stressful. So let me share with you a few tips on how to ease separation anxiety in dogs.
1. Take your dog for a brisk walk before leaving the house.
Take your dog for a short walk. Use a dog backpack and make sure to put in extra weight in it. This will make the walk more rigorous. Reward your dog with food and water. Though some dogs may need to take some rest before giving them something to eat and drink, they can benefit from hydration. Giving your dog a brisk but rigorous walk will leave them in a quiet and resting mode while you’re out of the house.
2. Don’t make time a part such a big deal.
Whenever you leave the house or when you return home, never make it a big deal and this means no eye contact, no talk, and no touch. This is a way of communicating to your furry friend that the time you’re both apart is no big deal at all! However, you may practice this rule for five minutes or to one hour (depending on the severity of anxiety) before you leave home and when you return.
3. Show calmness and assertiveness.
Before getting ready to work or leave the house, try leaving all the nervous, guilty, and concerned feelings behind. Make sure to let your dog know that everything will be okay and it is business as usual. Show your dog that you are one calm and assertive leader to ease the separation anxiety.
4. Start out small.
Start out small by trying to leave your dog for five minutes. Extend the time to about twenty minutes and then try leaving for an hour. Increase the time you spend away gradually until you leave home without dog problems anymore.
Jihan Cuevas loves dogs. She has a beagle and two German Shepherds. Jihan is also a regular blogger at http://dogfond.com/.