Practical Ways to Manage Dog Separation Anxiety

Cute little terrier crossbreed dog looking out a window with morning light illuminating his face

Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavior problems faced by dog owners all over the world. It may cause your furry friend to display these unpleasant behaviors especially when you leave them alone in the house:

  • Destructive behavior
  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive barking or whining
  • Self-harm
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Restlessness when owner leaves
  • Panting, pacing, cowering
  • Reluctance to eat

How to Reduce Dog Separation Anxiety

Change Your Routine

Dogs are attentive creatures. They are observing your activities especially your pre-departure habits. You should make changes to your daily routines to prevent your dog from associating a series of actions that you repeat daily. Make sure that your day to day activities don’t have the same familiar pattern, i.e. picking up the car keys as you get ready for the day. It will work to slowly reduce your dog’s separation anxiety.

Don’t Reinforce Bad Behavior

Don’t contribute to your dog’s anxiety by petting it prior to your departure or by giving it your undivided attention upon your return. This only reinforces your dog’s anxiety.

Dog separation anxiety can be treated, but you must remove the connection you have with them before you leave and upon your arrival. Do your best to ignore your dog for a minimum of 10 minutes when you get home and avoid petting it before you leave as well. Your dog may try its best to catch your attention during these times but you must ignore them for their own good. You may also apply crate training to give your dog a secure place to stay when you are away. The help of trained professionals can also be incredibly valuable. You should consider it to successfully curb your dog’s separation anxiety.

Cut Expectations

A dog’s separation anxiety can be removed by altering its expectations. This includes the length of time that you will be away. As you see your dog getting anxious as you head for the door, you can always choose to extend your departure or leave the house at shorter intervals, then come back. Your dog will no longer be as anxious because 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.

Treating Separation Anxiety is NOT about Being Mean

Putting a stop to dog separation anxiety is not a cruel act. It is in fact a way to help your dog behave properly when you leave and give them 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 that your dog will recognize – after all you are your pet’s alpha. Reducing a dog’s separation anxiety is reinforcing its physical and mental health.

Your dog is a part of your family that you love and value! But if a time comes that as a family, you need to temporarily leave town, you must look after your pet’s welfare by making sure that they will be well taken care of. Get someone who can provide care for your dog like you do.

The staff at Puppy Paws will love your dog as if it’s their own! Call today at (405) 348-2800 to schedule your dogs stay.