Separation anxiety in dogs is becoming more common every day. Having a destructive pup makes things difficult and frustrating. Luckily there are different things you can do to help your pup’s separation anxiety.
Our overall goal is to reduce your dog’s level of anxiety by teaching them to feel comfortable in your absence.
Does your dog do fine when you leave them in the car to go in the store? If so, then there is hope that you can redirect their anxiety while you leave them home.
Separation anxiety describes dogs that are overly attached or dependent on a person or persons. When the pet is left alone it panics and may go into a frenzy of shaking, panting, salivating, and/or refuse to eat. Things may get worse too if not addressed.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
Coming home to a mess
Coming home to a mess is the worst and I couldn’t imagine if I came home to destroyed walls or torn down blinds. (Bless you if this is what you’re dealing with.) How you react to the situation can play a big part in their anxiety. Both punishment and excitement must be avoided when coming home. These can both make matters worse in the future and it won’t correct what has already been done.
Ignore. Your. Dog. Ugh… I’m awful to say that, but it works. I mean even going as far as turning your back when they go to jump on you. It may take 10 to 15 minutes but your dog will quickly learn that they have to calm down in order to get your attention.
Tips To Help
Walk or exercise
A vigorous session of exercise and play will reduce some of the dog’s energy. The idea is to exercise the dog so they’re ready to rest while you’re gone.
No talking, No touching, No eye contact
When you go to leave the house, don’t make it a big deal. I know it’s difficult but your dog can sense your nerves. If you get nervous about leaving the house because you’re not sure what you’ll come back to, then your pup is going to get nervous too.
It may also make them nervous knowing you’re about to leave. Avoid saying goodbye so you’re not bringing attention to your departure.
Start off small
Start off leaving the house for 5 minutes, then 15, 45 min, and so forth until you can be gone for 8 hours without your dog panicking. The idea is to find something in the short periods that keeps your dog thinking you’re not far away. Such as a radio playing or an audiobook on while you’re gone in just those few moments.
Stay calm but assertive. You need to be the pack leader and let them know everything will be okay. Project confident energy that they will survive without you and not be nervous as to what you’ll come home to.
I’ve compiled a few items you can try while doing the above tips before having to result to anti-anxiety medications from your Veterinarian.
Anxiety Wraps are good for storms, fireworks, or for those that live on a military base. They’re recommended to be worn with supervision, so I’m not a big fan of using them for separation anxiety.
Items to try for Anxiety:
There’s a drug for that…
If all else fails, talk with your local Veterinarian about anxiety in dogs and different prescriptions that may help your pet’s situation. Your Vet may be able to do something short term while you’re working with your dog on the above tips. Don’t feel like you’re out of hope. You are a saint for getting this far with your pet and not surrendering them. You’ve got this!