How to control or lessen separation anxiety in dogs
Watching your canine companion struggling with dog separation anxiety can be heartbreaking.
However, there are some things you can do to control or lessen the symptoms of this condition in dogs:
Before you leave the house, exercise your dog to tire them out.
When you leave the house, don't make a big fuss about it. Avoid patting, talking to, or having eye contact with, your dog. These are cues that may give a false signal to your dog that you are planning to take them with you.
If you really feel that you need to say goodbye to your dog, do it long before you leave. It is okay not to say goodbye at all. Your dog will not think i impolite. Saying goodbye is something we humans need, not dogs.
Act and behave normally. Keep calm and relaxed, even if you are running late.
If your dog has never been alone before, introduce them to staying home alone for long periods, gradually. Start with just a few minutes, and increase the time slowly.
Turn on some relaxing music for your dog. Leave a light on if you are going out in the evening.
Put out some toys or things that your dog can chew or play with while you are not at home.
Leave your dog a toy that dispenses treats that take at least 20 minutes to get through.
Try to prevent anything that may encourage barking: draw the curtains or blinds if you think your dog may bark at things they see from the window. Put a "no flyers" sign on the door, and buy a silent mailbox. Plan in advance for times when your dog might get frightened by something such as fireworks, or thunderstorms.
Your dog will have their bad days and good days. But you can do a lot to make the time your dog spends at home easier to handle.
Do you have a dog with separation anxiety? Share your story and tips on how you handle it.