Separation Anxiety is one of the most common problems besetting dog owners. Anxiety causes the dog to display annoying behavior such as barking when it is left in the house. If this is tolerated, ignored or allowed to advance, your dog might become a menace, or it might create so much noise when left alone.
The Sources of Dog Separation Anxiety
By instinct, dogs are social animals. They belong to a pack and they have a strong attachment to their master. When a dog is left behind by its master, it has a tendency to get overly excited. It is important to note that most of the anxiety that dogs feel is caused by their attachment to specific actions that you take relative to your absence. Dogs don’t like to be left alone, there’s no question about it, but there’s no direct connection why they should be so disturbed when you leave.
One particular reason for this behavior is the attention you give to your dog before you depart and upon your return. Going through the same pattern of activity before you leave has made you very predictable for your dog to understand that you are leaving. These routines accumulate on a daily basis and can be too much for your dog to handle that he becomes agitated or anxious as you leave the house.
Reducing Dog Separation Anxiety
You can actually reduce your dog’s separation anxiety in a lot of ways.
Change Your Routine. Make changes to your routines, especially your pre-departure habits. Dogs are very attentive creatures. They can tag a pattern of a series of activities that are repeated overtime. Make sure to change your daily pre-departure activities so that the dog can not retain a particular pattern of your activities. This will help to slowly reduce your dog’s anxiety.
Don’t Reinforce it. You don’t have to contribute to your dog’s separation anxiety by petting it before you leave or by giving it lavish attention when you return. This act only reinforces the dog’s anxious behavior. A dog’s separation anxiety can be eliminated if you can remove the connection between your arrival and departure from the lavish attention that you shower upon it each time you depart or arrive home. It is best to ignore your dog for at least 10 minutes as you get home, and don’t pet it before you leave. In short, simply ignore it no matter what it does to attract your attention. This anxiety elimination method can be perfected with the crate training or by simply putting your dog in a separate room to make it forget its attachment to the lavish attention you once accorded it.
Building Up to Longer Times. A dog’s separation anxiety can be removed by altering its expectations, like the length of time that you will be away. As you see the dog getting anxious as you head for the door you can always choose to take time to extend your departure or leave the house for shorter intervals, then come back. Your dog will not be as anxious as they often see you coming back in a short period. From here, you can already start to extend the length of time that you will be away without your dog taking notice of it anymore.
You’re Not Being Mean
Putting a stop to dog separation anxiety is not a cruel act. It is in fact a way to help your dog to behave properly and giving it an assurance that you are coming back. The mere act of changing your movement patterns and to ignore the dog’s attention seeking efforts is a show of control and the dog should abide by it. Reducing a dog’s separation anxiety is reinforcing its physical and mental health.
Persistent anxiety problems need to be resolved as early as possible before they can aggravate into a more complex behavior problem. You can eliminate or reduce separation anxiety by not petting them before leaving and upon your arrival. Your dog should not be made to remember this connection to make it free from dog separation anxiety.