One of the most common problems dog owners face is their dog being disruptive or stressed when they leave them. This disruptive or stressed behaviour can be observed as urinating, defecating, barking, howling, chewing or trying to escape. And this can be seen as your dog not knowing manners or not having the training it needs. But if this behaviour is only shown when the owner leaves them, then we can say it’s the result of seperation anxiety.
Seperation anxiety is triggered when the dog is seperated from people they’re attached to. And if the dog’s seperation anxiety is extreme, it can result in self-injury or destruction of households. That’s why, when you face this problem, you must take care of it before your dog gets hurt.
When treating dog’s anxiety problem, the goal is to teach the dog to enjoy or at least tolerate being left alone. Before explaining how to do this, we first have to answer why do dogs develop seperation anxiety?
Why Do Some Dogs Have Seperation Anxiety?
There’s not one determined answer for the reason dogs have seperation anxiety. But this type of anxiety is more common for dogs who are adopted from shelters than dogs who stay in one household their whole life, starting when they were a puppy. That’s why it is believed loss of an important person or a group of people can lead to dog developing seperation anxiety. But it’s not the only reason, here are some of the reasons for dogs having seperation anxiety:
A change of their guardian
A dramatic change in their schedule, like their owner switching from day shift to night shift
A change in the place they live, like moving to another house
A change of a household member, like a family member moving out of the house.
How Can You Treat Seperation Anxiety in Dogs?
One of the first things you can do is consulting your vet. Vets can prescribe drugs that can calm your dog’s senses. But that can’t be a permanent cure, you have to fix the underlying cause.
If the dog having seperation anxiety is a puppy, you have to teach them not to do this or that can make get worse when they get older. Like if you return when they cry or hold them up when they show aggressive behaviour, they can see it as a reward. You have to reward only the desired behaviour.
One other thing you can use is counterconditioning. By this treatment, you can change your dog’s anxious or aggressive reaction to a relaxed or a pleasing one. To do this, you can associate being alone, with a good thing like a fun game or some delicious food. But if you use a toy, you have to get rid of it when you get home, your dog has to see it only when you are not around.
Changing your routine is another action you can take. For example, if your dog gets up everytime you get up, because they think you’re going to leave them, simply get up and get down again and again. Or if they get anxious when you put on your coat and get your shoes on, put on your coat and walk around in house for some time or put on your coat somewhere else and wear your shoes somewhere else.
You can also train your dog and teach them to be respectful and develop confidence in themselves. If you spend time training often ans consistently, this shows your dog you want the around as well as help them develop discipline.
One last thing: One thing you SHOULDN’T do is scolding or punishing your dog. This is not the result of disobedience, this is the result of them being upset and stress. Punishing them only results with their problems getting worse.