It is estimated that one in four dogs suffers from separation anxiety. Keep reading to find out what exactly is separation anxiety and how to deal with it.
Separation anxiety is a mental health problem caused by the absence of a dog's owner. A lot of dogs suffer from this problem and it is relatively easy to spot it.
How to know if my dog has separation anxiety?
Every dog owner knows their dog is thrilled to see them even if they've been gone for a couple of minutes. This is not always a sign of separation anxiety. It's usually worse than that.
Some signs of separation anxiety include excessive howling or whining, destructive behaviour, trying to escape and even defecating indoors.
The first step is to determine whether your dog's anxiety is mild or severe. If it is mild it can be treated relatively easily.
Mild separation anxiety
Choose a toy or puzzle that you give your dog only when you're gone. This way they can associate your absence with something positive all while they're busy with their toy. This process is called 'counterconditioning'.
Once you're home remove the toy until the next time you leave.
Another way to treat mild separation anxiety is the Calming Cuddle Bed. A pet bed that offers great relaxation and is proven to ease anxiety.
The raised rim of the bed creates a sense of security while the soft filling offers great comfort and joint pain relief.
Click on the image below to check out the Drunk Pup Shop Calming Cuddle Bed.
Severe separation anxiety
If a dog suffers from severe separation anxiety it will take much longer to see improvement and might even require professional help. A behaviorist or a dog trainer is the best choice to help your dog.
If you wish to try and do it yourself keep in mind this is a very complicated process that might take up to a couple of months.
The main idea of this type of counterconditioning is to do baby steps when it comes to leaving your home. Instead of just grabbing your keys, and jacket and leaving start by doing small steps.
Grab your keys or anything else that might show your dog you are about to leave but don't actually leave. Sit back down or keep doing whatever you were doing.
The main thing to be careful of is that your dog does not have a panic attack. It is merely to get them used to this sight.
Once they are used to this, you can incorporate leaving the house for a few seconds and coming back. Again, once they are used to this gradually increase your absence.
Please note this is a simple explanation of the process. For the best experience advise a dog trainer.
Until your dog is ready to be left alone make sure someone spends time with them. It can be a family member, a dog sitter or at a dog daycare. The most important thing is they socialize.
Some sources recommend crating your dog upon leaving, but it works only with some dogs. You can't know until you test the theory out.
Thank you for reading. Hopefully you found this article interesting and helpful. Until next time!
Stay pawsome! 🐶