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Easing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Easing Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Easing Separation Anxiety in Dogs

You know the signs. Your dog gets that worried look and anxiety sets in when you’re about to walk out the door and. If you’ve been dealing with an anxious pup, you know how sad it is to leave your baby behind. The chances are good that your canine friend will go berserk when you leave. It’s a common problem for many pet parents, and we’ll give you some effective ways for easing separation anxiety in dogs.

1.   Counterconditioning

This may look like a technical term, but it’s simple to start using today. You will associate something that causes your dog anxiety with something positive instead. You want your anxious or fearful pup to feel calm and relaxed, so start teaching him that being alone means something good happens. Try giving him a dog puzzle or a favorite stuffed toy. You can even try stuffing a Kong with peanut butter.

2.   Use Word Connections

Dogs are intelligent creatures. They learn things fast. You can establish a word or action you use each time you leave the house that lets your dog know you will be back. After a few repetitions, your pup will remember what the word or action means.

3.   Stay Calm

Some pet parents make a big deal out of returning home and going away. It can cause some confusion to an already anxious dog. It’s understandable because most of us can’t wait to go home to our furry friends! Try acting like your arrivals and departures are no big deal, and speak in a calm voice like nothing new has happened. This may take some time because it’s normal for your pet to be excited when you return.

4.   Try a Calming Product

Some over-the-counter products are designed to help ease your dog’s anxiety and make your him feel more relaxed. If that doesn’t work, you may need to talk to your vet about a prescription to ease severe anxiety. There are different options, so don’t give up if one item doesn’t work. Pets are all different, just like humans!

5.   Confine Loosely

If none of these tips help, you may consider confining your pet loosely in a room with a window. Dogs love to peek out at nature and sometimes that can be enough to calm them. Provide enough toys for playtime to keep your dog distracted and busy while you’re away. Leaving behind a shirt you’ve worn recently can be a calming scent for them. It can make your pup feel like you’re close by so he becomes more relaxed and doesn’t feel completely alone.

What Doesn’t Help

Try to remember that punishing your dog won’t help the problem. Your pup isn’t acting out while you’re separated. Many people make the mistake of getting another dog too soon thinking the company might help. Although it can work in some cases, it’s important to know that your dog has separation anxiety because of your absence and misses you.

Time is your friend because it will take a while for your dog to unlearn panic behaviors. Always rule out any medical conditions and make sure your pup gets enough exercise and playtime so he will be relaxed when you leave.