Train Your Dog Physically And Mentally
These exercises will help you to prepare your dog for the day.
Remember that if youre going to work, youre not going to be home for at least 8 hours. So imagine how your dog would feel if you leave him at home full of energy and anxiety.
If you dont have time in the morning to do all of this, wake up earlier and make the time for your dog.
1) Before you leave the house be sure your dog gets proper physical activities
Go for a long walk.
If you have a backyard or a place your dog can run without a leash then use it. Throw a stick or a ball, anything your dog likes. Be sure your dog gets rid of his excess energy before going back to sleep for more than 8 hours until you come back from work.
2) Mentally stimulate your dog while feeding him
Were used to simply putting the food in front of the dog.
Naturally, a dog would have to work to get a meal. By serving the food without any work degrades our dogs mentality.
So heres the thing you can do.
Use your dogs meal on your morning walk to practice heel, recall, down or whatever you are working on right now .
You can use a snuffle mat. They are great for mental stimulation. Or if you dont have one use a simple towel scatter the kibbles above the towel and roll them up so your dog can look for them inside.
Another great thing you can do is to hide the kibbles all around the house and let your dog look for them.
These are just a few things you can do to mentally stimulate your dog. Be creative.
Signs Of Separation Anxiety
A dog who has it shows a lot of stress when they are alone. They might:
- Howl, bark, or whine to excess
- Have indoor “accidents” even though they are housebroken
- Chew things up, dig holes, scratch at windows and doors
- Drool, pant, or salivate way more than usual
- Pace, often in an obsessive pattern
- Try to escape
They likely won’t do any of these things to an extreme while youâre around. A normal dog might do some of these things once in a while, but one with separation anxiety will do them almost all the time.
Leave Your Dog With A Good Audiobook
Studies have now shown that audiobooks can have a calming effect on dogs and help to lessen their separation anxiety. The sound of a human voice can help reduce their stress while youre not at home.
Do you have a success story about getting your dog through separation anxiety? Share the wisdom. Tell us how you did it in the comments.
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When Would I See Signs Of Separation Anxiety
Dogs can have mild to severe symptoms of . Some of our furry friends will show signs during your morning routine before leaving the home, such as getting restless at the sound of your keys being picked up. Others will show stronger signs after you leave your home, such as excessive barking or destruction of items.
Symptoms of Mild Separation Anxiety
In mild cases, the behaviors associated with separation anxiety happen while you are still home. For example, your pup may be following you around when youre getting ready to leave or, on the opposite end, be more withdrawn.
Symptoms of Medium to Severe Separation Anxiety
Once the behaviors go beyond the time of your typical routine, your dog is going through a more severe case of separation anxiety. If you come home finding your furry friend has chewed or dug through the items in your living space, or if you hear from a neighbor about your dog barking unprovoked well after you leave, it is more of a severe case.
Ways To Help With Dog Separation Anxiety
Change can be hard, even for pets. As the world resumes normalcy following the pandemic, your dog may begin exhibiting signs of separation anxiety. Hanie Elfebein, DVM, PhD shares her tips for making your dogâs adjustment as smooth as possible.
No matter how much you love and cherish every member of your household , the prospect of returning to a life outside the home after months of pandemic quarantines and lockdowns is something to celebrate.
But whether youâre looking forward to returning to a workplace or anyplace outside your own four walls, keep in mind that some members of your quarantine crew â namely, pets â may not be as thrilled about the change as you are.
For many pets, returning to a more ânormalâ routine after months of extended togetherness may feel like a drastic shift. And for âpandemic puppiesâ who have never been left alone before, that shift could be even greater. This life change may trigger separation anxiety in dogs.
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Give Them Plenty Of Exercise
Pets suffering from separation anxiety will usually reap huge benefits from regular exercise, and you’ll need to build this into their daily routine. Each dog has different needs when it comes to how much exercise is needed. Check with your veterinarian to learn what’s appropriate, but as a general rule every dog needs at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
Dont Make A Big Deal Out Of Leaving The House
Dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, known as the Dog Whisperer, is a world-renowned expert on dealing with dogs and their more problematic behaviors. According to Millan, you shouldnt speak to your dog, pet him, or make eye contact immediately before leaving the house. This lets your dog know that spending time alone isnt something he should worry about.
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Identify The Cause Of The Anxiety
Identifying triggers for separation related behaviours can be difficult, as the majority of behaviour happens while your dog is on their own. If possible, set up a camera that allows you to see what your dog is doing when youre not with them. This footage will allow you to more accurately identify any specific environmental triggers that may be contributing to your dogs behaviour such as: the sound of people passing the house, loud cars and trucks or maybe even the sound of the neighbours dog barking.
How To Help Puppies With Their Separation Anxiety
If your puppy is experiencing serious separation anxiety then we suggest taking a trip to the vet and animal behaviourist. Sometimes puppies develop behavioural problems due to health concerns, which is why its important your puppy be checked out by the vet first and foremost.The sooner you can teach your puppy to be comfortable on their own, the better. Start obedience training as soon as you can to instil good behaviours and help your pup cope with their anxiety. Never scold or punish anxious behaviours as they are not the result of disobedience instead, they are distress signals from an upset pup who is processing a great deal of stress. Punishment can exacerbate the problem, causing it to continue as the dog gets older.If the problem is more serious then perhaps its time to seek help from a professional. Professional behavioural therapy is a great way to manage and prevent behavioural issues forming in puppies as well as separation anxiety.Follow the tips above, lead an active, healthy lifestyle with your pup, and continue to learn how to be a great owner.
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Common Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety
The following is a list of symptoms that may indicate separation anxiety:
Urinating and DefecatingSome dogs urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their guardians. If a dog urinates or defecates in the presence of his guardian, his house soiling probably isnt caused by separation anxiety.
Barking and HowlingA dog who has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his guardian. This kind of barking or howling is persistent and doesnt seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone.
Chewing, Digging and DestructionSome dogs with separation anxiety chew on objects, door frames or window sills, dig at doors and doorways, or destroy household objects when left alone or separated from their guardians. These behaviors can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. If a dogs chewing, digging and destruction are caused by separation anxiety, they dont usually occur in his guardians presence.
EscapingA dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where hes confined when hes left alone or separated from his guardian. The dog might attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, which could result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped front paws and damaged nails. If the dogs escape behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it doesnt occur when his guardian is present.
Why Punishment Wont Help
It is natural for owners to be angry or disappointed if they return to find damage to their home, mess in the house or annoyed neighbours. Sensing that their owners are upset with them, many dogs will display appeasement behaviour their ears may go flat, their body may be lowered and their tail may go between their legs. Some will look away and narrowing their eyes, as if they are cringing .
Appeasement behaviour is often misinterpreted as guilt, and mistakenly some owners believe the dog knows what they have done is wrong. They may feel that any damage caused or mess in the house has been done on purpose or out of spite for being left alone. Unfortunately, this may mean that the dog is punished in an attempt to stop the behaviour.
Dogs that look guilty are doing nothing more than responding to an owners disappointment, upset or anger and it is their way of diffusing tension in response to feeling threatened. Some dogs will also do this if they think they are about to be told off if they have been so in the past.
Any punishment given on returning home wont help stop the problem. Dogs associate punishment with what they are doing at that moment in time and so a dog will not link the telling off with their actions before their owner came home, even if they are taken over to the scene of the crime. It is not that they cannot remember what happened they just wont be able to make a connection between the punishment and something they did hours ago.
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Can Separation Anxiety Always Be Prevented
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Never Punish A Dog For Anxiety Behaviors
Just because your dog is experiencing separation anxiety symptoms doesnt mean you should punish them for being anxious. While some dogs get worked up when they are left home alone, others experience nothing more than mild anxiety or distress. Regardless of your dogs reactions to being left alone, punishing them by leaving them alone more is not the way to go about it. Punishing your dog for their anxiety can actually make their symptoms worse, and lead to similar symptoms in the future.
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Invest In Fun Interactive Dog Toys
Although its fun to spend time with your dog, its also important for dogs to have some toys that they can play with when youre not at home. Toys like Kongs, Nylabones, and stuffed animals can help to keep your dog busy while you are away. Give the dog a new toy before you leave every day and then rotate toys every week. Dogs will enjoy having something to play with while they wait for your return.
Dont Leave Your Dog Alone For Too Long
Your dog can learn to be alone for part of the day, but if you need to be away for longer than 6-8 hours, bring them to work if possible. You can also structure your errands so that you are only away for short periods of time. If you need to leave for several days, ask a friend or a relative or consider a doggy daycare service or hotel to make sure they’re taken care of when you’re away.
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No Touch No Talk No Eye Contact
Dont make a big deal when you leave for the day or when you return. This way, you are communicating to your dog that the time apart is no big deal. Its just business as usual! Depending on the severity of the dogs anxiety, you may need to practice the rule for five minutes or up to an hour before you leave and when you get back.
Set Your Dog Up For Success
There are a few different approaches to separation anxiety. But for that critical period when you are out of the house, the experts interviewed all emphasized the importance of creating a safe environment where your dog will feel relaxed and comfortable.
What exactly this environment looks like is highly situational, but Dodman recommends a confined space with an open crate they can go into if they want. When creating this environment, he also says to think of the five senses.
For taste, use food puzzles or toys stuffed with high value treats, like peanut butter, liver, or frozen wet food so that it becomes a dog lollipop. Smell has some overlap with taste, and Dodman and Loyer both suggest hiding treats for them to discover like a scavenger hunt. Another idea from Dodman is to enrich a toy with an engaging smell like anise, vanilla, or deer urine “if you can stomach it.”
For vision, turn on the TV and give them access to a window, perhaps adorned with a bird feeder. Sound could be from the TV, or talk radio, as well as music designed specifically for dogs. Lastly, make sure your dog has a cozy bed and soft comforts. The idea, said Dodman, is to try and make it fun for them. “When you leave it’s party time.” There’s also a ton of YouTube videos specifically made for relaxing dogs.
Above all, remember the adage, “a tired dog is a good dog.” Try and make sure your dog gets some exercise before you leave so they’re mentally and physically calmer.
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How To Stop Separation Anxiety In Dogs
As a pet parent, your goal is to find the best calming anxiety treatments for your pet. Treating separation anxiety in dogs does not require a medical professional, and you can succeed on your own with persistent work and dedication. Dog anxiety treatment includes behavioral changes that will help your pup learn that being alone is not scary. Here is a list of 10 dog calming treatments:
Never Punish Your Dog
On the occasion that your dog does something undesirable whilst you’re out, it’s important that you don’t show any signs of disapproval. Raising your voice or showing your disappointment might scare your dog and make the situation worse. Your dog will become anxious about what you will do when you return the next time you go out, making the anxiety and behaviour worse.
Dogs who’ve been told off may lower their head, put their ears back and put their tail between their legs. Sadly, owners often think that their dog looks guilty when they do this and so tell them off because they think they’ve done wrong.
However, even if you take your dog to the ‘scene of the crime’ they won’t associate your anger with their earlier behaviour. Your dog will simply become more anxious the next time you go out. If you do come home to a mess, it’s essential not to physically punish or shout at your dog.
Try to avoid even letting your dog see that you’re annoyed – let them outside before cleaning up.
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Is Separation Anxiety Common In Puppies
Some puppies suffer separation anxiety, and some do not. While the reasons for this are unclear, previous traumatic separation or a single traumatic event while they were alone can be causes. Your pup’s personality can also play a role, as can a sudden switch in schedule, absence of a family member, even moving to a new home – research suggests that a lack of daily exercise can also be a possible cause.Regardless of causation, separation anxiety can be common trait that needs to be rectified as soon as possible. The goal is to reduce anxiety for both dog and owner when leaving the puppy home alone. The below information provides greater insight into separation anxiety and is a guide to help ease it.
How To Treat Separation Anxiety In Dogs
Even in cases of medically induced separation anxiety, however, behavior modification is critical for successful treatment. Consulting a trainer or a behavioral specialist recommended by your veterinarian can help you create a plan for treating your dogs condition. Common steps include increasing exercise and play, encouraging independence, ignoring attention-seeking behaviors and encouraging calm behaviors, adjusting arrival and departure habits to reduce stress, and ceasing punishment, as punishment is ineffective and only increases your dogs stress levels.
Treating separation anxiety takes time, and some dogs never learn to reliably comfort themselves. During the training process, consider using alternative measures like pet sitters, doggy daycare centers, or making arrangements to take your dog with you whenever possible.
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