We love our dogs so much that they become our four-legged furry family. And like any family, troublesome behavior can arise with our babies. Disruptive and destructive behaviors are signs of separation anxiety, which is emotional distress your pup experiences when you are gone because your dog has formed a strong attachment to you, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
If separation anxiety for your dog has started to become extremely problematic, check out these tips to help minimize the angst for both of you.
Crate train puppies
If you’ve recently welcomed a new puppy, start to crate train to avoid separation anxiety right from the start. Begin with short durations of time while you’re home. The crate should become your dog’s space of security and comfort.
Also, don’t make a big deal when you leave or return — this means no affection, talking or eye contact. Leaving and returning quietly without cues and paying little attention to your pup creates confident energy and teaches that you’re the leader.
Left alone, your dog may feel abandoned, stressed and even bored, especially if your pup isn’t exercising enough. Make it a habit to take your dog for a brisk walk before you leave the house. Exercise can help quiet and leave your dog in a restful state right when you’re about to leave.
If you’re gone for long periods of time, an iFetch automatic ball launcher can occupy your pup. This type of self-play is a good anti-anxiety option for dogs that don’t stay in a crate, but need an energy outlet and a way to get stimulate their brains a little.
Play stress-relieving music
Music can greatly affect our mood and actions, from going on a road trip to unwinding after work. It’s no different for your pup.
Music can serve as sound therapy and a security blanket for dogs.
Create a calming environment while you’re away with the iCalmDog player designed to play hours of clinically tested music. The separation anxiety sound card plays classical music combined with silence to help prevent dogs from acting on anxiety or panic.
You can also use scented calming sprays to enhance the serene atmosphere.
Peek in on your pet
Check in on your pooch from virtually anywhere and see how your pet is faring during your absence. An HD security camera that connects to your mobile device allows you to watch your pet’s behavior, like incessant barking in the crate or being destructive.
Being able to observe your pet throughout the day helps you learn how to address undesirable behavior with training or see the effectiveness of training.
Plus, you can feel closer to your dog and even zoom in to get a clearer picture of your precious pal.
Lead by example
Seeing those big puppy dog eyes as you walk out the door for work can just break your heart, but you can’t show it.
Separation anxiety is contagious.
If you want your pup to feel confident, obedient and trust that you’ll come home, then remain unemotional every time you leave and return. Show that you’re an assertive leader, while leaving those guilty or nervous feelings behind.
Your dog will learn to pick up on your calm, relaxed energy and identify being alone as the norm.
Then, knowing that your pup is content to be alone can help alleviate your own anxiety.
Join a pet parent support group
At times, it may just help to know that you’re not alone.
If leaving your pup turns into emotional turmoil, talking to other pet owners who are also deeply connected to their dogs can help you cope.
Owners especially have trouble leaving their dogs when something traumatic has happened or they’ve adopted a dog with a rough past.
Talking with others, family and friends can help you learn to let go and provide support and tips for living a better life uninterrupted by anxiety.