Are you familiar with the non-stop barking that always seems to happen the moment you leave the room? Do you come home to little disasters such as knocked over furniture, scratches on the bedroom door, and a bathroom accident in the middle of the carpet?
You might have a dog with separation anxiety. If you have a pup that loses their mind the moment you pick up your car keys, here’s few way to get them comfortable with being alone and help you better understand where their anxiety comes from.
What Is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety is more than just whining by the door as you leave, it’s a serious problem with disruptive behavior. Unlike the bad behavior that comes from being bored, separation anxiety is a result from real stress that continues to affect your dog until you come home.
Separation anxiety can range from mild to extreme-almost more of a panic than an anxiety issue. When diagnosing your pup with separation anxiety one should take into account your dog’s normal behavior.
For example, hyper pups who love to chew shoes probably don’t have separation anxiety, even if they tore up your shoes while you were gone. This type of dog, although not wanted behavior, is just acting within their normal personality. But if your hyper dog who likes to chew eats a hole in the wall and drools everywhere when you’re gone-you might have a problem.
Signs of separation anxiety include:
- Excessive barking
- Destroying objects and furniture
- Bathroom accidents
- Drooling or panting
- Escape attempts
- Ignoring of food
How You Can Help Treat your Dog with Separation Anxiety
Treating separation anxiety in dogs revolves around keeping departures and greetings as calm as possible. It also centers around getting your dog accustomed to being alone for longer and longer periods of time.
If your pup panics when you leave, it’s due to the fact they associate your absence with feelings of negativity. To help change this feeling, try giving your dog their favorite treat or toy when you leave in order to realign their feelings of you leaving.
This works even better when it’s a toy that can keep them busy for more than a few seconds such as a peanut butter filled Kong or a Nylabone.
Many dogs feel more comfortable in a smaller space when they’re alone. By teaching them to use their crate properly, they begin to associate their crate with a safe space they can retreat to that will calm their anxieties.
Play it Cool
It’s important to always keep an even temper when leaving or entering a room with your dog. Try to avoid giving your dog recognizable signs that you are about to.
In addition, try to keep a regular schedule that your dog can adapt. Just like children, dogs like routine. It helps them to understand the flow of a day and what they can expect.
Medication and supplements
In some cases, training and conditioning aren’t effective if your dog’s separation anxiety is too deep-seeded.
Medicating your dog may seem extreme, but if they’re doing harm to your house or appear completely miserable, giving your dog medicine can be a relief. Most medications have to be prescribed through a vet and given in strict dosage.
If medication is not something you are comfortable with, their other more natural supplements to help with anxiety, such as chamomile and passionflower which will help soothe your dog in times of distress.