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How to prevent Doggie Separation Anxiety

Posted by Awesome Doggies

dog-suffering-from-anxietyWhen you’re home, you pup is constantly following you into every room, spending it’s time completely underfoot. The moment you leave the house, your dog is howling, crying, or whining. You come home to chewed shoes and destroyed furniture. These, along with other distress behaviors, are the most common complaints of those with pets suffering from separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is caused when pets become upset and agitated when separated from their owners. They may become anxious and depressed and act out by demonstrating unwanted behaviors such as barking, chewing, or excessive scratching or licking themselves. It can happen in dogs, cats, and even birds and can develop at any age. After all, in nature dogs are never away from their pack so to them, you leaving them behind is completely unnatural.

Of course, pet parents need to get out without the rest of the fur family sometimes, so it is important to help them manage that anxiety.

Here are Awesome Doggies Mobile Pet Grooming’s best tips for preventing separation anxiety: 

  • Create a familiar leaving and returning process. This will show your pet that even if you leave, you will return.

  • A half hour before leaving, provide an article of clothing which you’ve worn and place it where your dog likes to sleep or rest. The familiar smell will help trigger a calming effect.

  • Limit outside distractions by closing windows and curtains and turning on the radio or television inside. 

  • Provide high value toys to take out only when you are leaving, preferably ones that require work to attain a treat (like a stuffed Kong). Remove the toys on your return.

    dog-managing-separation-anxiety

  • Tire your dog out before you leave by providing a time of fetch or taking a long walk.

  • Separate yourself from the dog before you leave by saying goodbye an hour before, and practicing no contact after. 

  • Keep your departure low-key. 

  • Keep your return calm. Ignore your dog for 10 minutes while you remove the high value toys and do anything else that needs done, such as unloading the car. Greet your dog only after it has waited, and provide a new small treat.

Check out articles by the ASPCA and Cesar Millan on separation anxiety and for further tips on what to do about it.

Teaching your pet that you will return can be difficult, but much easier when they associate it with high value treats. In some cases, your dog may need more help. Talk to your vet about calming medications or to rule out any medical problems that could cause some of the behaviors.

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