How to Deal With Separation Anxiety in Your Dog

By February 12 | See Comments

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Most dogs are overjoyed to see their owners return home even when they have been gone for a couple of hours. But if you return home to find that your dog has been chewing on furniture or barking and howling incessantly, it may mean that it is suffering from separation anxiety. The following guide will help you understand what you can do to help your dog deal with being left alone for a while.

Why does separation occur?

Dogs are, by nature, social creatures and they depend upon the support of their pack for daily survival. They are hardwired to stay close to other members of their pack as this increases their chance of survival. Separation anxiety occurs when this evolutionary trait makes your dog want to stay with you everywhere you go.

What you can do to help the situation?

You cannot change what evolution has taught your dog for centuries, but you can ease the separation anxiety by carefully planning how you leave your dog.

  • Let your dog rest while you are awayInstead of leaving your dog with a lot of energy when you are not around, take it for a brisk walk. Ensure that you provide enough food and water to replenish resources and let it rest quietly while you leave
  • Do not oversell your departureSaying goodbye, petting and even making eye contact with your dog before you leave can induce separation anxiety. Do not make your departure a big deal so that your dog is assured that some time apart is normal. Remember that saying goodbye is a human practice which means that your pet dog does not feel hurt if you leave without sharing your affection.
  • Be calmBeing nervous and concerned about your dog when you are leaving fuels separation anxiety. Instead, stay calm and show your dog that it is alright to spend time away from home.
  • Start smallSome dogs may have a much more severe form of separation anxiety than others, so you may have to start with leaving your dog alone for five minutes and work your way up to an eight or nine hours.Remember that your dog looks up to you as its leader, which means that you need to be calm and assertive in your behavior to induce a docile reaction from your pet. With some careful planning, you will be able to help your dog deal with your absence around the house. After a few days of practice, your dog will reduce the damage it does to furniture and other objects when you are not around, and your neighbors will not have any reason to complain about your dog!
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