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28 Symptoms of Dog's Anxiety 3 Types of Dog's Anxiety Dog Separation Anxiety Diagnosis, Solutions & Cure: Common Symptoms & Signs, Reasons & Causes Solving Destructive, Obsessive, Compulsive Dog Behavior Dog Anxiety Treatment & Care, Cure & Prevention Helpful Ways to Ease Dog Separation Anxiety Dog Pain, Fear & Separation Anxiety Signs How do you know if your Dog has Separation Anxiety? Which Dog Breeds have Separation Anxiety? Natural Remedies & Solutions for Dog Separation Anxiety Dog Separation Anxiety Misconceptions Tips to Leave your Dog & Puppy Home Alone! The Variations of Dog Separation Anxiety How to Massage Anxious or Nervous Dog? How to break Dog's Separation Anxiety High Definition Video & Audio For Dogs Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Puppies Dog Separation Anxiety Analysis & Information The Hollistic Approach to Dog Separation Anxiety Extreme Fear and Anxiety in Dogs How do you comfort a scared dog? Help your Dog to Fight Tunderstorm Phobia Desensitization as Treatment for Separation Axiety Dog Separation Anxiety Cure & Medication Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions Ways to Ease Your Dog's Anxiety Travel vs Dog Separation Anxiety: Tips Jobs to Provide to Get Your Dog Busy Petcube Camera Helps to Fight Dog Anxiety! Do Puppies grow out of Separation Anxiety? Curing Dog Separation Anxiety: Treatment, Training & Rescue Comforting A Fearful Dog Misconceptions Crating the Dog against Anxiety Dog Separation Anxiety vs Boredom How to Calm a Fearful Dog Dog Fear Body Language Signs Dog Tail Fear & Agression Signs Dog Anxiety & Fear Subordination and Happiness Natural Healthy Homeopathic a& Herbal Remedies What Causes Separation Anxiety? Why My Dog Has Separation Anxiety? Dog Separation Anxiety Top Risk Factors How to Comfort a Fearful Dog Toys & Games to Fight Separation Anxiety! Dog Separation Anxiety vs Bad Habits How to Know when Dog is In Pain? How to Sozialize Fearful Dog & Puppy Dog Separation Anxiety Natural Treatment Dog Separation Anxiety Care & Cure Relaxing Music & Video for your Dog Can a dog have an anxiety attack? How to fix Dog Anxiety at Night Dog Anxiety Remedies Grieving Dogs Anxiety Cure Tips What Is Stress? Dog Home Alone Xenophobic Dogs
Separation Anxiety is a disorder that causes dogs to panic at the idea of being left home alone.
Xenophobic (Fearful) Dogs: Xenophobia means "fear or hatred of things strange or foreign." Dogs with xenophobic temperaments, due to genetics and puppyhood experiences, are more inclined to travel farther and are at a higher risk of being hit by cars. Due to their cowering, fearful behavior, people assume these dogs were "abused," and even if the dog has ID tags, they will refuse to contact the previous owner. Some of these panic-stricken dogs will even run from their owners! Very sadly it is the second leading cause of owners relinquishing dogs to dog pounds or euthanizing their dogs !!!
Most owners of a dog with separation anxiety will have heard these gems. It takes a steel will to block out other people's advice when everyone seems to have a view. Most of the advice is well-meaning, but of a lot of it is plain wrong.
Many dogs think their formula works: Owner Leaves + I Get Anxiety + I Chew = Owner Comes Home! Because this formula "solves" the problem, they continue to do it over and over again. We have to break this vicious cycle and show your dog that we can use problem solving techniques to handle the situation another way. Once he realizes this, he will be free of this anxiety that is consuming him and so much happier. mportant to note, that just because your dog chews while you are gone, does not necessarily mean he has separation anxiety. Dogs also chew because they are bored, or they were allowed to form a habit of chewing from an early age.
#1 You caused your dog's anxiety ! Nobody knows what causes separation anxiety. There is lots of research, but the results aren't conclusive. The experts don't agree on what causes separation anxiety. So how can we say something you did caused your dog's separation anxiety? And, the owner blaming is even less reasonable if we factor in that separation anxiety may be genetic. Or that it could be the result of what happened to the pup before he came home with you. Your dog's separation anxiety could have been caused by any number of things. Nobody knows. But what do we know? Well, we know leaving a separation anxiety dog can make his condition worse. We also know life changes can have a big impact. There's not a lot you can do about the latter. I don't expect you will hold off moving house in case your dog develops separation anxiety! That said, you can manage absences, and we know this does help dogs with home alone distress.
It's not that you have necessarily done anything to cause your dog's anxiety issues, but now that he has them, you need to examine what behaviors you do that trigger them. If you notice that your dog becomes anxious when you get your keys out in preparation for leaving the house, hide this from him. Pair your departure with good things, like getting a high-value food reward boiled chicken or the presentation of the aforementioned treat-sicle. Make sure to discontinue any punishment you have been doling out for his actions, and start rewarding him when he is relaxed.
#2 Getting another dog will help This seems like an obvious solution. He's lonely and needs company. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of dogs, getting another dog doesn't help. Another dog in the house might even make things worse. Your new dog might alarm bark to protect the house and trigger your separation anxiety dog. And what a mess if the two didn't get along and you couldn't confine them in the same space. Getting a new dog is a huge decision, so before you add a new member of the family, talk to a behaviour expert.
# 3 I know he understands he did something wrong because when I got back he looked guilty. We used to think that "sneaky" look your dog has when you come home to destruction was the sign of a guilty dog. And it can seem like guilt. But if your dog is cowering with his ears back, his tail tucked, that's fear not guilt. Why fear? Well, dogs are world champions at making associations. The last time your dog damaged something, you walked through the door and got mad. So this time, he thinks the same thing is going to happen. Your dog has no idea why you are mad! You walking through the door sometimes means you are angry. In the test, it didn't matter whether the dog had done something. What mattered is the owner thought it had. We are programmed to see human emotions in dogs. So the think bubble in an owner's head might be something like this I know he is been up to something. And look at him, all slinky and sneaky looking. He knows he's been bad. He is definitely been up to no good. But remember, it is not guilt, it's fear. So next time you come through the door to a mess, try not to scold your dog. He didn't do it to be bad. He is not mad at you. He panicked when you left. That's all.
#4 Using a crate will fix it. We all used to think crating a dog would help home alone anxiety. But here is the thing: many of dogs with separation anxiety also have a phobia of crates. For these dogs, crating adds to the panic. But if you have a dog who's chewing the walls or ripping up the floorboards, a crate can feel like the only answer. And it will stop the damage to your house. But you risk severe physical and psychological damage to your dog. Panicking dogs will harm themselves trying to escape. And the memory of the panic is lasting. So what can you do to protect furniture, walls and your dog? There are a couple of things: Try a confinement area using baby gates and room dividers. Then, video your dog when you are out. Some dogs improve just because they are no longer in a crate. Manage his alone time so you don't leave your dog long enough for him to go into a panic. That may sound daunting, but it's more doable than you think. Remember, this doesn't mean you have to stay with the dog. It means you need to make sure someone - anyone is there.
#5 If you let him bark it out, he will eventually stop Barking can be a means to an end, or it can be an emotional response. Think about a child who uses "crocodile tears" to get you to buy her an ice cream versus the child who cries when she trips and cuts her knee. These are distinct types of tears. You might ignore your child's crocodile tears, but give her a hug when she falls over. When your dog uses barking to get what he wants, letting him bark it out does work. The dog thinks: Hmm, this isn't getting me anywhere. I guess I will give up. But barking which results from fear of being alone doesn't die out. In fact, such barking can spiral. Your dog isn't barking with an end in mind. It might start out as Hey, where did you go? Come back! But as long as the fear remains, the barking will continue. Anxious dogs don't think straight. So, the longer you leave a separation anxiety dog, the more fearful he gets and the more he will bark. If you left your dog to bark it out, don't be hard on yourself. It's easy to assume your dog tried it on and not realize he panicked. How can you identify different types of barking? It can be tough. Video is our friend here. The dog's body language gives us clues as to whether he is upset or not. If in doubt, film your dog while you are out and enlist a professional to help you work out what's what.
#6 Give your dog a food toy. That will stop the anxiety. A common sign of stress in dogs, as in all animals, is a decrease in appetite. From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense. Stress is a response to a threat. Out in the wild, when the gazelle spots the lion, he is thinking about survival, not snacks. When fear hits, the body needs to channel energy into dealing with the threat. The digestive system takes a back seat. So, for a good number of separation anxiety dogs, food isn't the answer. If you own a separation anxiety dog, you might recognize this. You go out, leave the most delicious Kong or the stinkiest bully stick and when you return, he hasn't touched the food. But soon after you are back, he gobbles it down. That said, not all separation anxiety dogs lose their appetite when alone. In fact, sometimes we see dogs eat more, and with greater intensity. These dogs are still upset. They just have a different way of showing their stress. And, as soon as they have finished their food, they begin their repertoire of home alone behaviours. With these guys, food hasn't made them less anxious, it's distracted them. It's better to help a dog become comfortable on his own than to use food props. After all, is a Kong going to last all day while you are out at work?
#7 Your dog soiled the house or chewed the floor to get back at you for going out Dogs don't have motives they way we do. They don't think like us, and they don't think about the same things as humans. Dogs are motivated by "safe or dangerous" and by what's in it for them. They are innocently selfish. Hence, the notion of "getting back at you" isn't something that could be in your dog's head. When you go out, a separation anxiety dog is in a panic, feeling unsafe and fearful. Chewing, defecating or urinating in the house help anxious dogs, the way nail-biting helps some anxious people. Your dog did what he did because he could not help it. Not because he is mad or bad.
#8 Puppies don't have separation anxiety We used to think puppies don't get separation anxiety. When puppies barked they were barking for attention or so we thought. While lots of puppies do demand bark, experts believe genetics might a part in separation anxiety. Research is ongoing, but it's fascinating to consider some puppies could come hardwired for separation anxiety. And early life experience can bring on separation anxiety too. In other words, your puppy may have had separation anxiety even before you picked him up.
If you are not sure whether it's normal puppy stuff or home alone distress, reach out for help. Catching separation anxiety early can make all the difference to treatment. Although a structured lifestyle is essential for dogs with the potential for separation anxiety, many dogs can develop a buildup of tension from not having appropriate outlets for their physical and mental energy or an environment conducive to a calm, balanced state.
One of the hard things about our relationships with dogs is that when something is up, they can not easily communicate that to us. That's why, with issues such as anxiety, we need to be aware of the signs so we can help our doggie. If you think your dog might be anxious, there are recognisable symptoms and treatments available to ease their and your worry. But before that, let's take a look at Dog's Separation Anxiety types:
Types of Anxiety in Dogs
Separation Anxiety Separation anxiety, when your dog doesn't like to be separated from you, is the most common form of anxiety. Dogs often associate everything they value in their life: company, play, food, going for walks with when people are around. When they are left alone, it's likely they have none of that good stuff. And if they haven't learnt to be cool with their own company, that's when they can experience separation anxiety. Dogs need to learn to cope with being away from their humans, and the best time for that to happen is when they are young.
Fear of Loud Noises Things like thunderstorms and fireworks can trigger anxiety in dogs. Dogs are naturally fearful of those events because they are loud and scary, so they learn to associate the lower level noise of wind or rain with those events. For that reason, dogs often become anxious even if they sense a storm might be coming.
Changes in Environment & Resource Guarding Less common forms of anxiety can involve changes in environment, such as going to the vet, in the car or moving house. Even things like changes to work hours, the owners travelling - any sudden change to normal routine can prompt anxiety. Resource guarding displays of aggressive behaviour designed to scare other dogs or people off. It can also be an issue if a dog is anxious about a valued item being taken away.
It's important not to dismiss behaviours that we sometimes consider normal!
28 Symptoms of Dog's Separation Anxiety
1. Non-Stop Barking It's fine if your dog barks at something they see outside, or if they react when they hear a suspicious noise. But if yours is barking for no reason, and can't be soothed, it very well may be a sign of anxiety.
2. Howling when owner isn't home This symptom is pretty common. Dog in Anxiety being scared and trying to call for his owner with this howl.
3. Panting and Pacing - even when it's not hot! If your dog paces around the house, they may just be bored. But it can also be a sign of anxiety. We have all caught ourselves pacing when anxious, and dogs do it, too. Some pacing dogs move around in circular patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines.
4. Pacing, Shivering, Shaking & Panting Dogs that shake or pant, or act generally nervous may be experiencing anxiety. While panting after exercise is normal, panting during a loud fireworks display is likely not.
5. Running Away and / or Cowering in the Corner of a House Just like a human - when the panic takes control over your dog, he tries to escape it by any ways he can.
6. Digging Same as with previos symptom, Dogs wish to hide themselfs.
7. Escaping the Yard Escaping behaviors are not only a sign of anxiety, but are also dangerous for your dog. You obviously don't want them bolting for the door, or running down the street. So do what you can to ease their anxiety, while also keeping them safe.
8. Destroying Furniture A common symptom of anxiety is destruction of furniture or other objects that they normally do not chew or shred.
9. Self-harm, including Excessive Licking or Chewing Chewing on objects, door frames, or window sills. Digging at doors or doorways or destroying household objects when left alone, are all signs of anxiety. This is your dog's way of getting nervous energy out of her system.
10. Not Eating Anxious Dog's Appetite has been reduced dramatically.
11. Urinating more Frequently When a dog is anxious, they tend to leave trails of pee as they walk. Urine dribbling or defection happens during the fight-or-flight response. Dog's body - just like humans, produces a sympathetic nervous system response, which increases adrenaline, and allows them to get out of there. A by-product of this is relaxing of the bladder and anal sphincter muscles, allowing waste to release.
12. A General Inability to Settle Anxious dogs sometimes display a surge of energy and appear hyperactive.
13. Lip Licking Anxious dogs may compulsively lick or chew at their fur or lips.
14. Chuffing If you ever catch your dog exhaling sharply, or expelling a bit of air along with a small bark, take note. This behavior is known as "chuffing" and it's a form of stress relief.
15. Tail Thumping We humans tend to think of all tail wagging or thumping as a sign of happiness, but no. Tail thumping and a submissive grin together are a classic sign of anxiety and unhappiness in the canine world. Compared to the happy tail wag dogs have when you come home from work, for example, tail thumping can be slower and a bit more "sheepish." When that's the case, it may help to bond with your dog to help them feel more at ease, while also making your house more comfortable.
16. Yawning While it may seem like they are just being cute and sleepy, if your dog is yawning constantly, it may be due to stress. Yawning is a very subtle and non-specific sign of anxiety that is often missed.
17. Shaking & Trembling Some symptoms are easier to spot, as is often the case with shaking and trembling, which is a sign of moderate to severe anxiety. Your dog may also appear visibly worried or concerned. If your pup looks freaked out, that's because they are. Wide eyes, furrowed brow and expressive ears are other signs of anxiety.
18. Hiding Dogs who are anxious will attempt to avoid situations, things, and people that scare them. This may look like leaving the room, pulling away on leash, hiding behind their owner's legs, and so on.
19. Scratching & Drooling Pacing, drooling, constant yawning, lip licking, scratching, and general body tension can all be signs of anxiety. These are collectively known as "calming signals." They are also normal behaviors, but are potential signs of anxiety when they are out of context. If your dog is yawning or scratching when you are out in public, for example, it may mean they are feeling uncomfortable.
20. Seeking Comfort Other anxious dogs will have the opposite reaction, and seek more attention or affection. They may jump in their pet parent's lap or require more attention.
21. Aggression Anxious dogs may become suddenly aggressive, even to their pet parent. Anxious dogs may suddenly snap, growl, or show signs of aggression.
22. Excretion House-trained dogs may suddenly defecate indoors when they are under duress.
23. Panic Attacks Dogs that experience any number of these symptoms may start to have panic attacks. Panic attacks can last from minutes to hours, and can involve any number of the above symptoms.
24. Showing Whites of the Eyes Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera white than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head.
25. Avoidance & Looking Away When faced with an unwelcome situation, dogs may "escape" by focusing on something else. They may sniff the ground, lick their genitals, or simply turn away. Ignoring someone may not be polite, but it's surely better than being aggressive. If your dog avoids interaction with other dogs or people, do not force the issue. Respect his choice.
26. Changes in Body Posture Dogs normally bear even weight on all four legs. If a healthy dog with no orthopedic problems shifts his weight to his rear legs or cowers, he may be exhibiting stress. When scared, dogs may also tuck their tails or become quite rigid.
27. Shedding Show dogs that become nervous in the show ring often "blow their coat". Dogs also shed a lot when in the veterinary clinic. Although less noticeable in outside settings, such as visiting a new dog park, shedding increases when a dog is anxious.
28. Changes in Bodily Functions Like people, nervous dogs can feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. When your dog urinates shortly after meeting a new canine friend, he may be marking territory and reacting to the strain simultaneously. Refusal of food and loss of bowel function are also stress indicators.
Dogs are social animals that form strong bonds with people, so it is not surprising that they may feel somewhat anxious when separated from their social group. Most dogs adapt well to the typical daily separation from their owners. Unfortunately, problems can arise when an overly dependent dog develops a dysfunctionally strong attachment to the owners. The dog with separation anxiety is distinguished by signs of distress when left alone and over-attachment when the owner is present. Separation anxiety may be manifested as destruction of the owner's property and other behaviors that may be harmful for the dog or annoying for people sharing the dog's immediate environment.
How long is too long? It's important to remember that how long your dog can manage on their own will depend on their individual needs. Some dogs are inclined to get very anxious when left, while others can manage better with the time alone. Regardless, as a rule of thumb don't leave your dog alone for more than a few hours at a time. The age of your dog will also come into play when deciding how long to leave them for. Generally, puppies and younger dogs will not manage on their own for as long as older dogs, so make sure you take this into consideration.
DOG ANXIETY STATISTICS Separation anxiety is the most common behavior issue suffered by dogs. In fact, it's estimated that 15-35% of all dogs suffer from separation anxiety at some point in their lives. Here are some more interesting facts about separation anxiety in dogs.
30-29% of senior dogs have separation anxiety
41% of dogs are not treated
22% of dogs are treated with behavior modification and drugs
10% of dogs are treated with drugs alone
17% of dogs are treated with behavior modification alone
Closeness to humans conferred a reproductive advantage for dogs through increased access to resources. Traditionally, this arrangement worked well for dogs. Then and in many rural areas today, leashes or fences were few or non-existent. Dogs could roam off-leash, greeting other dogs, chasing squirrels, rabbits, deer, woodchucks, cats, and the occasional skunk or porcupine. Crashing happily through woods, fields, and streams, dogs exercised their bodies and all their senses. Many worked closely with their owners all day hunting, herding, carting, or guarding. These dogs would then return home exhausted, crash on the floor to happily receive belly rubs, and sleep until morning. Very few dogs living this type of lifestyle suffer from separation anxiety.
There are multiple levels of fear and anxiety that dogs may experience, and each level has different symptoms. Those that cope with ongoing anxiety are likely to show signs of excessive biting and licking in the form of skin lesions as well as other indications of nervous self-harm. Mild fears may cause a dog to hide, act passive, slow down and stop participating in normal activities, shake, tuck his or her tail, and withdraw. When fear escalates and becomes panic, dogs are likely to attempt escape and experience motor activities that can be seriously injurious. Automobile traffic makes this type of lifestyle dangerous for dogs now, and busy modern lifestyles and long working days make similar stimulations impractical and out of reach for most dog owners.
This is a conflict of interests - what is in the best interest of the dog - plentiful mental and physical stimulation conflicts with the owner's desire to relax after a long day. In a perfect world, we would all get to spend every single day with our dogs, but the reality is, separation happens. With preparation, training, and a little help, your time apart can be cheerful and worry-free making your time together all the more sweet. The term gets tossed around casually, but separation anxiety is a very serious matter.
Noise Anxiety - A dog becomes fearful when exposed to loud or unusual noises. Some examples include fireworks, thunderstorms, garbage trucks, and more.
Travel Anxiety - The car is like a den, but dogs are unaccustomed to moving dens. Therefore, they may become unsure and stressed over something so new and unexpected.
Confinement Anxiety - A dog gets anxious when he feels trapped or confined. If a threat should arise, a confined dog may be unable to escape or flee.
But the true separation anxiety is your dog's panicked response to being left alone. The results, including the destruction of your belongings and the deterioration of your dog's mental and physical health can be devastating. Separation anxiety is very different from misbehavior. It's a misconception that when your dog digs up your prized orchids or urinates on your favorite rug, he is seeking revenge for having been left home alone. The best case explanation for such behavior is that he is bored, and the worst is that he is in a state of serious panic. The panic is so overwhelming that when you leave, dogs tend to become destructive, bark like crazy, and have housebreaking accidents. When you return home, their greetings are often frantic. But the good news is that, with effort, separation anxiety is treatable.
It is anxiety that manifests itself as visible stress within 30 minutes of the departure of the dog's person. The anxiety can vary from mild to severe. Separation anxiety is preventable and responds well when treated. The name says it all. Whenever you are not around, your dog is anxious, frightened or nervous. The severity of dog anxiety can vary, going from slight unease to full-blown anxiety attacks in more severe cases. Each dog is different, but most furballs cope with separation anxiety by being destructive or present characteristic physical symptoms. This is why people often mistake the lack of proper training or even some medical issues for this dog behavioral issue.
Dogs might intense, persistent pacing & urinate, defecate, bark, howl, chew, dig or try to escape. Although these problems often indicate that a dog needs to be taught polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of distress. When a dog's problems are accompanied by other distress behaviors, such as drooling and showing anxiety when his pet parents prepare to leave the house, they are not evidence that the dog is not house trained or doesn't know which toys are his to chew. Instead, they are indications that the dog has separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they are attached to. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.
Missing you Domesticated dogs naturally prefer the companionship of their humans. It's one thing to have your dog follow you around the house amiably, however - it's quite another to learn that your dog howls relentlessly when you are at work or defecates in the house to show his displeasure at your absence. When your dog's behavior in your absence seems extreme, he might be experiencing separation anxiety. Some dogs suffering from separation anxiety become agitated when their guardians prepare to leave. Others seem anxious or depressed prior to their guardians' departure or when their guardians are not present. Some try to prevent their guardians from leaving. Usually, right after a guardian leaves a dog with separation anxiety, the dog will begin barking and displaying other distress behaviors within a short time after being left alone - often within minutes.
When the guardian returns home, the dog acts as though it's been years since he is seen his mom or dad! One of the most common phrases used by owners to describe a dog that appears stressed when the owner leaves home or just leaves the room is separation anxiety in dogs. One of the possible definition of Separation Anxiety is dog problem behavior that shows itself through symptoms like excessive salivation, barking, whining, destroying items in the home, scratching at walls, doors and floors, and attempting to escape from the crate, or room. A dog may develop separation anxiety if there is a change in the owner's work schedule or change of environment. Dog separation anxiety is often unknowingly encouraged by dog owners. We make a big fuss when we leave or come home, and in doing so we reward the dog's concern with our absence, provoking in him even more stress every time we leave.
We like our dogs to be with us and when they are puppies, we take them everywhere for socialization. Then, we have to leave them alone, but they reach an age when they not only want, but also feel the need to be with us - we are their source of confidence, their security, and their pack. Anxiety often increases the longer the owner is gone and may result in behaviours such as whining, pacing, salivating, excessive licking, barking, howling, hyperactivity, scratching, chewing, digging, urinating or defecating and destruction of property. Dogs with separation anxiety also have an overly excited response when the owner returns home, even if they have only been gone a short while. Scolding or punishing the dog leads to more confusion, more anxiety and worse behaviour.
A change in their routines can create the symptoms of dog separation anxiety, but destruction and stress can also be created by boredom and lack of exercise. Terriers are born to dig, retrievers to carry and protection breeds to protect. So, in some instances we are holding them back from their instincts and drives, rather than nurturing them.
Noise phobia - fear of thunderstorms, is also common in dogs. Do not comfort your pet - this may be interpreted as reward for his fearful response. Punishment will only cause more anxiety. Ask your veterinarian to suggest behaviour modification techniques or refer you to a behavioural specialist or trainer. Dog appeasing pheromones are also an innovative way, used along with other behaviour modification practices, to control and manage unwanted canine behaviour associated with fear and stress in adult dogs and puppies.
Separation anxiety is very common and a leading cause of behavioral problems. And while your dog may be unconditionally bonded to you, well adjusted dogs also know that you will return and do not display the frenetic activity of the anxious dog. Nobody really knows why some dogs develop separation anxiety. Your dog freaks out when you come home? Now this is more like it. Who doesn't love to be greeted by a dog who acts like you have been gone for a year? I know my dogs love me when I get home because they jump all over me even after they have been fed. But the true test is whether they do the same thing to anyone who walks in the house. Watch closely what your dog does when someone else comes in. If they do the same thing, I'm afraid your dog is just promiscuous.
Separation Anxiety vs Time Some dogs can handle short periods of separation but become anxious after a longer period of time. In this case, experiment with gradually increasing periods of separation to habituate the dog to your absence. Other dogs become immediately anxious upon the departure of their owner, but calm down over time. In this case, experiment with waiting outside of the house until immediately after the dog calms down, then entering without ceremony. Dogs understanding the concept of time based on changes in their behavior when left alone by their human companions for different lengths of time. Studies show that dogs display greater affection toward their owners if they have been separated for longer periods of time. As the amount of time away increases, so does the dogs' excitement. This will come as no surprise to dog owners - most canines get excited about the return of the master to the castle, especially after long absences. But this research is also important because it shows that dogs are capable of recognizing and responding to different spans of time.
For dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, the difference between one and five hours can mean the difference between mild agitation and a full-blown panic attack. Separation anxiety in dogs is often expressed as barking, howling, whining, chewing digging, pacing, scratching, and/or urinating and defecating in inappropriate places while an owner is away or upon his or her return.
Signs of Anxiety include, but does not limited to: Fast wagging low tail Whining or whimpering Ears may be back Hiding behind objects or people
Signs of Fear: Dog will try to look small Tail tucked Hunched over, head down Tense May urinate submissively
Dogs that normally display separation anxiety in their owner's absence are more likely to be affected by a permanent loss. However, many animals that are not typically prone to stress may also be deeply affected by the loss of a loved one. You may notice that your pet initially seems to be panicked over the change and continues to act unlike her usual self in the days and even weeks following the passing of a loved one. As with people, how your four-legged friend displays and communicates her despair will be unique. And since we can't ask our pets about their feelings, it's important to keep an eye out for some of the common visible signs of depression in our furry friends. Often, these are similar to the same symptoms a human loved one might be suffering.
Anxiety and Smiling A smiley expression in a dog doesn't necessarily indicate happiness. If your dog's mouth is open just a tad, with the sides raised, he may indeed look like he's smiling, but he may actually be anxious, nervous or otherwise in distress. Signs of distress accompanying a stiff smile include heavy panting with the tongue in, whining and chattering teeth. Consult your vet.
While dogs appear to be smiling, it is erroneous when it comes to semantics to call the teeth display a "smile". Because this grin is submissive in nature, a dog trainer well versed in dog body language or a behavior specialist, refers to this teeth display as a "submissive grin". As in primates, this submissive grin needs not to be confused with a snarl. In this case, the dog lifts the lips to show the fangs and the accompanying body language is hostile. There are several stories of dog owners calling a trainer or dog behaviorist concerned about a submissive grin.
Sometimes dogs are more overt when they feel anxious and want to remove themselves from a situation. Please don't force a dog to stay in situation in which he feels anxious, especially if children are the source of his anxiety. Here are some examples:
the dog gets up and leaves an uncomfortable situation - he may bite rather than leaving one of these days
Turning head away
Hiding behind person or object
Barking and retreating
The dog rolls over on back in submissive way.
Tail between legs
Tail low and only the end is wagging
Tail between legs and wagging
Tail down or straight for curly-tailed dog: husky, malamute, pug, chow chow, spitz-type dogs etc.
Ears sideways for erect eared dog
Ears back and very rapid panting
Dog goes into another room away from you and urinates or defecates
Please find a professional behavior consultant for help with this.
Practice Separation! As tempting as it is, don't let Sparky be glued to your side all day. Letting your puppy have time to himself in his crate or room will help prevent separation anxiety.
Hellos and Goodbyes should be no big deal. Don't make a fuss over your pup when you leave or come home. Again, prevents separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is one of the most commonly discussed dog behavior problems in small dogs. Dogs who have been bred to be companions are very susceptible to separation anxiety because they feel they are not doing their job if their human is not right next to them. This disorder manifests itself in excessive vocalization, chewing, inappropriate urination and defecation, and other forms of destruction that occur when a dog is separated from his owner. Not all of these actions are the result of separation anxiety. Separation Anxiety can also lead to a dog eating feces or coprophagia.
About the most common behavioral issues facing foster dogs and puppies including fear and separation anxiety, a likely undeserved reputation for what may have been perceived as "dominance," and irritating but usually solvable problems such as house soiling, chewing and barking.
Confinement can often increase anxiety. While it may be necessary to prevent self-injury or damage to the house, try to reduce confinement as much as possible. If necessary stacked baby gates in a room are preferable to a crate. Systematic desensitisation to departures can also be effective, but can be a time-consuming process and require significant commitment from the owner. Separation anxiety often manifests or worsens in winter. With the reduced daylight hours and cold weather, dogs may be walked less often. Where possible, owners need to keep up the same routines and exercise regimes in winter as they do in summer.
Unfortunately, Canine Separation Anxiety does not go away on it's own. It's a phobia - just like a fear of flying or of spiders.
SEPARATION ANXIETY: THE ENEMY This article is proudly presented by Debra F. Horwitz and Julie Naismith
At the risk of sounding dramatic, it's a socially isolating condition. Having a dog with separation anxiety sets you apart. No one else is going to get it. No one understands what it's like to own a separation anxiety dog until they have one themselves.
1. Separation anxiety training is simple, but it is not easy! When done properly, separation anxiety training is successful in up to 80% of dogs. But there are going to be times when you think you will never get there. Chatting to other owners who are working on the process, especially when you are stuck - will remind you there are highs too, not just lows. If you have an active group around you, there is a strong chance one of them will be up when you are down. And you, in turn, can support them through their dips.
2. Teaching is the best way to learn ! Even though it's a straightforward process, there are many moving parts to the training method. One area in particular where you might benefit from input is reading your dog's body language. Another pair of eyes on your dog may help you see something you are missing. And, you can reciprocate. You will likely get better at reading your dog by helping others assess their dogs.
3. Sharing stories lightens the load! While separation anxiety is undoubtedly a serious topic, it does have its lighter side. If you think about it, we owners do some odd things: Missions where you go in and out of the front door 15 times, Standing in the street and listening out for your dog, while whispering to your neighbour that everything is ok, but you can not chat right now because you are trying to hear what your dog is doing. Sitting in a coffee shop and Skyping your home laptop so you can spy on your dog. While we are in the midst of separation anxiety, all of this is routine stuff. But no one else you know will get it. If you have done any of the above, you need to connect with other separation anxiety owners because they will understand.
4. Goal setting Having goals and getting others to hold you to those goals helps enormously. Through having a support network, you can embrace the notion that celebrating the small successes along the way motivates you to get to your end goal. It's the same with any behaviour change, like going to the gym, losing weight, or learning a new language. Some excellent platforms can help with goal setting, www.stickk.com being a good example.
5. Communities are pivotal to good habits Separation anxiety training is best done little and often. This means you have to get into the habit. Much has been written about how habits form, but community and accountability are big factors. That is, we are more likely to do something if people around us do the same thing. And we are more likely to stick with a new behaviour if others we know keep us accountable! Join a group of people going through the same training process. Share your plan and get them to keep you on track when you are struggling. Even if your community is not a particular separation anxiety one, find buddies to help you stick to your training schedule.
6. Getting help with the basics Even if your separation anxiety group is an online community, they can still assist with practical, local matters. Take managing absences. There are going to be times when you are in a bind. Perhaps something unexpected came up, or maybe a sitter canceled. See if your online community can help. The internet shrinks the concept of six degrees of separation. Even if you are in Tampa and they are in Toronto, they may know someone who knows someone. Or they may have some brilliantly creative idea you have never thought of. Or, who knows, maybe someone in your online group may be close enough to jump in and help out.
7. You are not the only one! ...And less believing in every said word around. People used to mistake, even those in white clean clothes.. It can feel like you are the only person with a dog who has separation anxiety, but when you join a group, you will be astonished by how many other people are going through the same thing.
What NOT to Do !!! It's a common misconception that dogs behave this way as a form of revenge.
Don't use an anti-bark collar. It's unlikely to work on a dog with separation anxiety.
Do not scold or punish your dog.
Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite. They are distress responses!
Your dog displays anxious behaviors when left alone because he is upset and trying to cope with a great deal of stress.
If you punish him, he may become even more upset and the problem could get much worse!
Separation anxiety has little to do with training or discipline - the behaviors are a result of the severe panic your dog feels when you are not there.
Left untreated, it causes damage to your house and belongings & serious psychological suffering for your dog.
Separation anxiety is diagnosed in around 15% of behavioural cases.
When left alone, most dogs find a familiar spot and go to sleep. Separation anxiety describes dogs that are usually overly attached or dependent on family members.
Somewhat ironically, problems related to separation anxiety are the major cause for dogs ending up in animal shelters.
With enough time and patience, your dog will be separation anxiety free!
The signalment for canine separation anxiety is variable. The dog may be of either sex, although males appear to be more commonly affected. The disorder may occur in any breed, but mixed-breeds are over represented in surveys. The typical age of presentation is 9 months to 2 years. Later separation anxiety may appear in older dogs as their sensory world diminishes and they become more and more dependent on their owners. Among young dogs, one of two historical presentations is common. The first is a dog that has exhibited signs of canine separation anxiety from puppyhood, perhaps as an extension of the distress that all puppies express when isolated from their littermates and mother. The other is a dog adopted from a rescue group or animal shelter.
In the latter case, it is possible either that the dog was abandoned because of separation-related problems or that the dog had lived with other dogs and had no prior experience with social isolation. Clinicians often have the impression that the adopted dog, after a life of deprivation, bonds quickly to its new owner and demonstrates extreme distress when separated from him or her. here is no evidence that "spoiling" a dog by allowing it to sleep on the bed or furniture and allowing it to ride in the car on errands contributes to separation anxiety. There is evidence, however, that many owners of dogs with separation anxiety have a particularly close relationship with their pet.
Diagnosis Diagnosis is made based on the behavioral history and the exclusion of differential diagnoses, which may be medical or behavioral. Behaviors characteristic of canine separation anxiety include destructiveness, elimination, hypersalivation, and vocalization. To make a definitive diagnosis, these behaviors must not occur in the house when the owner is home. That is, they must be restricted to times when the dog is left alone. Dogs may exhibit one or more of these signs.
You know the feeling... Sweaty palms, increased heart rate, dry mouth. These are all symptoms of the incredibly common feeling that plagues over 40 million Americans a year known as anxiety. Just as humans experience a wide range of emotions, so do our dogs and unfortunately, that includes anxiety. While dogs can experience anxiety for a multitude of reasons, only one is - the second leading cause of owners relinquishing dogs to dog pounds or euthanizing their dogs. Separation Anxiety is an anxiety disorder in which animals experience symptoms of anxiety or separation distress when they are separated from their owner. Dogs are particularly susceptible given the fact that they are pack animals by nature.
While it can be an incredibly frustrating problem to deal with, these is hope. Whether your dog shows signs of mild anxiety or falls apart every time you leave the house, with a little time and effort, separation anxiety disorder can oftentimes be beaten at home without the help of an animal behaviorist or prescription drugs. You can diagnose SA by noting its signs and symptoms in your pet. After all, you know your pet better than any veterinarian can. Separation anxiety is not the same as boredom, which can also result in chewing, pawing, digging, and other bad behavior.
Signs of SA in dogs are: Barking, Whining, Licking, Destructive Behavior, Chewing, Howling, Panic Attacks, Digging, Inappropriate Urinating, House Soiling, Self Mutilation, Escaping, Diarrhea, Loss Of Appetite, Excessive Salivation, Vomiting, Jumping Through Windows, Fearfulness - Worry, Apprehensiveness, Clinginess, Hyperactivity, Crying, Barking and Yelping, Defecating in the house, Depression or Aggressiveness - when they are about to be left alone or think they are about to be. Some over-eat, some under-eat.
Some twitch their ears, pace, pant, hide or jump and bounce about. Some dogs can be left alone for no longer than a few minutes before they panic and exhibit these behaviors. Sometimes separation anxiety is caused by a change in schedule that requires the pet to be left alone for longer that normal. Unidentified changes in older dogs may also cause sudden separation anxiety, which can be mistaken for senility. What your dog is thinking is that it is about to loose its main friend and that you will not be returning. It is preoccupation with this that sets off the cycle.
There are many telltale dog separation anxiety signs. Some are really true dog anxiety symptoms, while others could be false positives - indications of different dog behavior problems, potentially medical in nature or different altogether. It's important to understand what are symptoms of anxiety and what is just a false alarm. Before jumping to the anxiety conclusion, make sure that your dog's dog anxiety symptoms are not an indicator of a different problem, whether medical in nature or caused by a lack of exercise, training or simply boredom. Here are some common problems that can present as separation anxiety disorder.
Why are some dogs unsettled when left alone? There are many reasons why a dog may develop problems when home alone - these are the most common:
The dog has never been left alone in the home regularly or separated from a particular person.
There is something that the dog is scared of or worried by either inside the house or outside. This could be something that happens on a daily basis - the postman arriving or something that happened only once - a severe thunderstorm. Dogs tend to feel much more vulnerable when they are on their own, so it is easy for them to develop specific fears, especially those who have a sensitive or nervous nature.
An animal companion dies. Normally this would be another dog who shared a close bond with the dog who is left behind, but strong attachments can also be made with other species too, like cats.
Boredom. Typically this affects young, energetic dogs who struggle when left to their own devices. If left alone for too long - especially when not exercised enough, these dogs may find their own entertainment, such as chewing table legs or raiding the rubbish bins.
Dogs who have been in rescue or have been rehomed several times can sometimes struggle with being left, especially in the first few weeks of being rehomed. This is probably due to a variety of factors, including the stresses experienced while in kennels and learning to adapt to a new home.
The following is a list of symptoms that may indicate separation anxiety:
Urinating and Defecating Some dogs urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their guardians. If a dog urinates or defecates in the presence of his guardian, his house soiling probably is not caused by separation anxiety.
Barking and Howling A dog who has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his guardian. This kind of barking or howling is persistent and doesn't seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone.
Chewing, Digging and Destruction Some dogs with separation anxiety chew on objects, door frames or window sills, dig at doors and doorways, or destroy household objects when left alone or separated from their guardians. These behaviors can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. If a dog's chewing, digging and destruction are caused by separation anxiety, they don't usually occur in his guardian's presence.
Escaping A dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where he is confined when he is left alone or separated from his guardian. The dog might attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, which could result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped front paws and damaged nails. If the dog's escape behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it doesn't occur when his guardian is present.
Pacing Some dogs walk or trot along a specific path in a fixed pattern when left alone or separated from their guardians. Some pacing dogs move around in circular patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines. If a dog's pacing behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it usually does not occur when his guardian is present.
Coprophagia When left alone or separated from their guardians, some dogs defecate and then consume all or some of their excrement. If a dog eats excrement because of separation anxiety, he probably doesn't perform that behavior in the presence of his guardian.
Chewing Recently Touched Stuff After this frantic period, your dog may settle down to chew something that you have recently touched that still carries your scent. Dogs will often chew scented items into small pieces and curl up in the debris so that your dog forms a "barrier" of your scent around them for security.
Over-Excitement On your return, your dog may appear elated and may become very excitable. They may be wet, either from salivating or excessively drinking due to stress.
Following You... When you are home, your dog may attempt to follow you wherever you go in the house. They may begin to display anxious behaviours when they see you preparing to leave the house - panting, pacing.
Excessive Barking & Howling Howling, screaming, crying or barking either for a half hour after the owner leaves, half an hour before the owner returns, or the entire time the owner is gone. Some dogs bark or howl in response to various triggers in their environments, like unfamiliar sights and sounds. They usually vocalize when their guardians are home as well as when they are away.
Anorexia: Dogs with separation anxiety often don't touch food or treats while their owner is gone. A bored dog, on the other hand, will happily eat in his owner's absence.
After the Diagnosis Made.. Once an accurate diagnosis has been made, treatment is usually a combination of medication and behavior modification, depending on the severity of the condition. Medication can play an important role in the treatment of genuine canine separation anxiety. It can provide a window of opportunity to undertake behavior modification techniques in real-life settings, something that can be difficult to implement without pharmacological assistance. Sometimes real life raises criteria too fast for effective behavior modification - medication can provide a necessary advantage and relieve a beloved pet of discomfort and anxiety.
What causes separation anxiety? Genetic predisposition: There is evidence that certain dogs may be genetically predisposed to anxiety-related conditions. In mild cases those anxious behaviors are limited to how your dog acts as you get ready, not what they do after you leave.
Medications: Unfortunately, there are a number of medications that can cause increased instances of in-home accidents. If your pet is currently taking any medication for other health issues, consult your vet to determine if they may be contributing to their accidents.
Thunderstorm phobia: Thunderstorm phobia and separation anxiety tend to go hand in hand.
Never learning to be alone: Separation anxiety may be more likely, or more severe, in dogs that have never successfully learned to be alone, such as dogs who have always lived with another dog, or whose owners are always home. As a social species, it's not instinctual for dogs to be completely alone, and this behavior must be learned at a young age.
Incontinence: Indoor accidents are a common indication of separation anxiety and may be the result of incontinence, a medical condition in which your dog leaks or is unable to control his bladder. Oftentimes dogs with incontinence problems are entirely unaware they have soiled themselves - some even having accidents while asleep. Incontinence can also be linked to a number of medical issues including hormonal imbalance, UTIs, urinary stones, and spinal injuries.
Why Do Some Dogs Develop Separation Anxiety? There is no conclusive evidence showing exactly why dogs develop separation anxiety. However, because far more dogs who have been adopted from shelters have this behavior problem than those kept by a single family since puppyhood, it is believed that loss of an important person or group of people in a dog's life can lead to separation anxiety. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger the disorder. The following is a list of situations that have been associated with development of separation anxiety.
Change of Guardian or Family Being abandoned, surrendered to a shelter or given to a new guardian or family can trigger the development of separation anxiety.
Change in Schedule An abrupt change in schedule in terms of when or how long a dog is left alone can trigger the development of separation anxiety. For example, if a dog's guardian works from home and spends all day with his dog but then gets a new job that requires him to leave his dog alone for six or more hours at a time, the dog might develop separation anxiety because of that change.
Change in Residence Moving to a new residence even with the same family can trigger the development of separation anxiety.
Change in Household Membership New baby arrival or sudden absence of a resident family member, either due to death or moving away, can trigger the development of separation anxiety.
Untimely Removal from Mother There is an increased risk of separation anxiety if the puppy was removed from their mother too early or too late. The optimum time to remove a puppy from their mother and littermates is between 8 weeks and 14 weeks. Anything earlier or later could cause anxiety issues.
Incomplete House Training A dog who occasionally urinates in the house might not be completely house trained. His house training might have been inconsistent or it might have involved punishment that made him afraid to eliminate while his owner is watching or nearby. For help with house training, please see our articles, House Training Your Adult Dog and House Training Your Puppy.
Urine Marking Some dogs urinate in the house because they are scent marking. A dog scent marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces. Most male dogs and some female dogs who scent mark raise a leg to urinate.
Time spent at the veterinary clinic Not very clear how, but a fact.
Juvenile Destruction Many young dogs engage in destructive chewing or digging while their guardians are home as well as when they are away.
Incontinence Caused by Medical Problems Some dogs' house soiling is caused by incontinence, a medical condition in which a dog "leaks" or voids his bladder. Dogs with incontinence problems often seem unaware that they have soiled. Sometimes they void urine while asleep. A number of medical issues, including a urinary tract infection, a weak sphincter caused by old age, hormone-related problems after spay surgery, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing's disease, neurological problems and abnormalities of the genitalia can cause urinary incontinence in dogs. Before attempting behavior modification for separation anxiety, please see your dog's veterinarian to rule out medical issues.
Behaviour Problems which Rule to Dog Anxiety Sometimes it's difficult to determine whether a dog has separation anxiety or not. Some common behavior problems can cause similar symptoms.
Submissive or Excitement Urination Some dogs may urinate during greetings, play, physical contact or when being reprimanded or punished. Such dogs tend to display submissive postures during interactions, such as holding the tail low, flattening the ears back against the head, crouching or rolling over and exposing the belly.
Your Vacation If you have been on vacation or unemployed for some time and have been spending heaps of time with your dog. As a result of this when you go back to work your dog becomes anxious and distressed.
Boredom ! Dogs need mental stimulation, and some dogs can be disruptive when left alone because they are bored and looking for something to do. These dogs usually don't appear anxious.
DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY: TOP RISK FACTORS This article is proudly presented by WWW.1800 PETMEDS.COM
In addition to the symptoms of separation anxiety, there has also been research conducted to address the top risk factors for dogs that develop separation anxiety. These include:
Dog was adopted from a shelter or pet store
Male dogs are more likely to develop separation anxiety
Dog owner lives in an apartment - sounds from surrounding tenants can be frightening to your dog
Playing within 30 minutes of you arriving home. A key factor in separation anxiety is that the behavior is consistent. Some dog owners may complain of coming home to torn furniture or chewed up clothing items. But if this behavior is sporadic, it's possible your dog may be afraid of loud noises, including thunderstorms or nearby neighbors.
To better diagnose your dog's behavior and to help you to determine if your dog has consistent symptoms of separation anxiety, we recommend setting up a video camera to record your dog's behavior while you are away.
DOG AND PUPPY: SEPARATION ANXIETY vs PUNISHMENT This article is proudly presented by WWW.BLUECROSS ORG.UK
The PUNISHMENT WON'T HELP! It is natural for owners to be angry or disappointed if they return to find damage to their home, mess in the house or annoyed neighbours. Sensing that their owners are upset with them, many dogs will display "appeasement behaviour" - their ears may go flat, their body may be lowered and their tail may go between their legs. Some will look away and narrowing their eyes, as if they are cringing. Appeasement behaviour is often misinterpreted as guilt, and mistakenly some owners believe the dog knows what they have done is wrong.
They may feel that any damage caused or mess in the house has been done on purpose or out of spite for being left alone. Unfortunately, this may mean that the dog is punished in an attempt to stop the behaviour. Dogs that look guilty are doing nothing more than responding to an owner's disappointment, upset or anger and it is their way of diffusing tension in response to feeling threatened. Some dogs will also do this if they think they are about to be told off if they have been so in the past.
Any punishment given on returning home won't help stop the problem. Dogs associate punishment with what they are doing at that moment in time and so a dog will not link the telling off with their actions before their owner came home, even if they are taken over to the scene of the crime. It is not that they cannot remember what happened - they just won't be able to make a connection between the punishment and something they did hours ago. Punishment is not only useless but it is also likely to make the problem worse.
Now, as well as being anxious about being left, a dog will also be worried about the owner returning, which can make any symptoms much, much worse. Separation anxiety has little to do with training or discipline. Your dog's behaviors are part of a strong emotional response to being left alone. Also, your dog isn't trying to punish you! He just wants you to come home! If Separation anxiety is left untreated, it causes damage to your house and belongings and serious psychological suffering for your dog. For severe cases of separation anxiety, it is strongly recommended that you consult a professional.
Boredom Dogs can experience boredom from just a general lack of daily stimulation. Walking the same path every day, little or no play time, and no socialization can all lead to a mundane life. Dogs will soon look for their own entertainment which leads to chewing, barking, and other destructive means to pass the time. Many owners will mistake this misbehavior as separation anxiety, believing that this is an act of revenge for leaving them behind. However, a simple case of boredom is easily addressed by just taking your dog to explore new places, socializing, training, or introducing new stimulating toys.
Separation Anxiety Separation anxiety exhibits much more extreme responses, and your dog will suffer from a real sense of stress while left alone. Think of it from your dog's perspective, from the time they are born were always in the company of dogs and other people. Every cry for attention receives an immediate response from their pack or their owner. The shock and emotional distress of being away from their "pack" is difficult to overcome, and one that many, many owners face. Different breeds can show different levels of anxiety: Huskies, Hounds, and Labradors for example, can show very extreme cases of separation anxiety. While Terriers tend to bark and dig and show destructive behavior. Just know that there are exceptions to every breed.
Learned Separation Anxiety Some dogs may exhibit signs of separation anxiety or boredom, but it may just be a learned response. One example is overly excitedly greeting your dog when you get home, your dog will learn to jump and bark every time you return. Your dog has indirectly been trained bad behaviors when you walk through the door, but may or may not have true separation anxiety. By watching the signs you can determine if they are truly bored or stressed from being alone.
Signs of Boredom or Misbehavior Chewing Barking Digging
Signs of Separation Anxiety Extreme destruction of property
They attempt to escape your home while you are away
Having daily "accidents" even though they are potty trained
Barking and howling as soon as your leave
Neighbors complaining of noise everyday. Hurting themselves trying to escape
Pacing your home and appears nervous
Being very clingy
Barking, jumping, and screaming when you come home.
DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY: STIMULATED vs REAL This article is proudly presented by WWW.CESARSWAY.COM and Martin Deeley
There is true separation anxiety, and there is simulated separation anxiety, in which the dog behavior appears to be separation anxiety but it is, in fact, a learned behavior. Simulated separation anxiety is often manifested when the dog lacks leadership as well as self-control. True separation anxiety, on the other hand, causes the dog to experience real stress during the absence of his owner. In simulated separation anxiety, the dog knows that he will get attention if he acts badly.
For some dogs, even being verbally reprimanded for such behavior is rewarding because he feels he was noticed. Negative attention can be a reward in many cases, if the owner is unaware that certain needs of his dog are not being met. In these cases, there is little real stress involved, just misbehavior. Simulated separation anxiety is fairly easy to overcome with a gradual approach, slowly increasing the amount of time spent in a crate, when you are at home as well as away - consistent obedience training, proper amounts of exercise, and strong leadership. Severe cases of true separation anxiety impose a challenge to Pack Leaders.
Although it's not a true anxiety disorder, simulated separation anxiety has exactly the same dog stress symptoms. So how do you tell the difference? Unlike dogs, who suffer from separation anxiety disorder, canines who simulate this behavior are not motivated by fear or nervousness. It's simply a learned, attention-seeking behavior. For example, if your furball really wants to sleep in your bed but isn't allowed to, he might start whining in front of your door or peeing in the hallway when they don't get their way. This can lead you to mistake an attention-seeking behavior for a form of dog separation anxiety at night.
The most important thing you can remember is not to indulge your pooch when they are exhibiting destructive behavior. When you reward them after they do something unwanted or forbidden, you are actually encouraging them to misbehave. Thankfully, simulated separation anxiety can be easily corrected. Simply stop paying attention to your pooch's dramatics and when they see they won't get their way by being destructive, they will be on their best behavior.
Do unwanted behaviors occur ONLY when you are NOT around? Separation anxiety is triggered by the absence of the dog's "person." Disturbing behaviors always occur when the dog's human is gone and occur only when that person is gone. So, for example, if your dog always chews the woodwork when you are gone and never chews the woodwork when you are there, he may have separation anxiety. But if your dog chews woodwork whether you are around or not, perhaps more management or appropriate chew toys are the solution.
Incontinence This medical issue can be a symptom of kidney disease, UTIs, diabetes and a myriad of other illnesses. If your dog suddenly starts peeing in the house, check with your vet first to rule out any potential health issues.
Submissive or Excitement Urination Some dogs may pee during greetings, play-time, during physical contact or when being reprimanded or punished. These dogs tend to display submissive postures, such as holding their tail low, flattening their ears back against their head, or rolling over and exposing their bellies. Dog body language is, in this case, an indicator of a personality type and not stress.
Urine Marking Some dogs famously urinate inside because they are scent marking. Dog mark their scent by peeing a little on walls or other vertical surfaces. This is especially common with dogs who are not neutered or spayed.
Youthful Destruction Young dogs are known to be particularly destructive with their chewing or digging, even if you are at home.
Boredom Dogs need mental stimulation, and some dogs act out when alone because they are bored and looking for something to do. This type of attention-seeking behavior is not caused by distress and these dogs usually don't appear anxious.
Incomplete House Training Dogs that urinate inside might not be 100% house trained. The same goes for a dog pooping in the house - unless the dog poops in the house after being outside, in which case it might be anxiety pooping. It's also possible house training was an inconsistent or involved punishment that made them afraid to relieve themselves while their owner was watching or nearby.
The Difference Between Misbehavior & Bad Habits and Separation Anxiety Not all unwanted behaviors qualify as separation anxiety - in fact, most do not. If you come home to find your dog chewing on your old house slippers, in all probability he simply finds the activity enjoyable and uses your absence as a chance to gnaw away, uninterrupted. Or he may just be bored. Several factors indicate that the problem is serious:
The behavior occurs every time you leave.
The behavior occurs only in your absence.
Anxious behaviors begin even before you go. For example, your dog knows that when you put on your jacket, you are about to leave the house. The minute you reach for your jacket, he begins pacing and howling. Happily, separation anxiety is preventable if you are starting with a puppy. The key is teaching him that leaving him alone actually means good things - the goal is for him to associate your departure with something positive.
The difference is that boredom, for example, can be overcome by adding more exercise and mental stimulation to your dog's day - those things have little or no impact on separation anxiety. Try adding an extra walk, games of fetch or tug-of-war, an obedience class and a variety of toys. If boredom is the reason for the barking and chewing, you should see a big change in your dog's behavior.
Dogs, like us are very social animals. They would naturally live in family groups and have "evolved" alongside humans over thousands of years to "work" with us and live as our companions. Most dogs would choose to spend the majority of their time in our company. Some might actually prefer the company of their own kind, but what is certain, is that being alone just doesn't come naturally for most. Although dogs should never be left for too long on their own, if they get used to being left for short periods when young, they are likely to grow up feeling relaxed and comfortable when left on their own for some part of the day. Here is some advice to help you feel more confident about leaving your dog at home...
The Difference Between Isolation and Separation Anxiety Distress over being left alone is not always a full-blown separation anxiety problem. First, a dog may suffer from a mild distress to a severe anxiety disorder. Distress indicates a lower intensity of stress behaviors when the dog is alone, while "anxiety" is an extreme panic attack. The distinction between "isolation" & "separation" is equally important. Isolation distress means the dog doesn't want to be left alone - any old human will do for company, and sometimes even another dog will fill the bill. True separation distress or anxiety means the dog is hyper-bonded to one specific person, and continues to show stress behaviors if that person is absent, even if other humans or dogs are present.
Massage is a wonderful tool that will calm an anxious dog. When trying to massage a dog with anxiety, it is important to teach your dog that massage is harmless, and touch is actually relaxing. Breathe deep in through the nose, and slowly exhale out through the mouth.
Goal of Massaging a Dog With Anxiety Massage goals are different when massaging a dog with anxiety. Your main goal is to relax your anxious dog instead of releasing muscle tension or giving your dog an entire body massage. Relaxing massages teach a dog with anxiety that hands make good things happen. Remember to always use slow strokes to promote relaxation and to take deep breaths. It may seem odd, but dogs do respond when pet owners take deep breaths, and they will likely take one shortly after you do.
Introduce Touch First Most dogs with anxiety flinch or step away when someone reaches out to touch them. Anxious dogs are scared, and usually move away from fast movement, which includes hands reaching out to pet them. These dogs have learned that people will try to reach out and touch them even if they do not want to be touched. Think about it this way: If you are scared of spiders and one tries to reach out and touch you, that is scary!
It is important to teach your anxious dog that hands make good things happen. Instead of reaching out to your dog, play a game of "touch." The "touch" game teaches a dog to walk over and touch your hand. Choices are super rewarding for dogs, and "touch" gives dogs choices. If they want a treat, they can walk over and touch a person's hand. If not, that is OK too. Giving dogs with anxiety choices is paramount.
Now, slowly reach toward your dog, but do not touch her yet. As you extend your hand out 1-2 feet from your body, say "yes" and toss him a treat. Continue to practice, slowly increasing the distance between your hand and his body. Once your dog will stand still and actually walk toward your extended hand, it is time to touch him. Start with your fingertips first, and reward him as you are touching him. Say "yes" and give him super yummy treats. Continue practicing until he is comfortable with hands touching and petting him.
Start Where The Dog is Most Comfortable When sitting down in a chair or on the floor, your dog will likely walk over and present her head or butt for petting. This is the area he is most comfortable for a massage. Place both hands on the area and slowly move one hand a couple of inches up and slowly slide along his body. Your other hand should remain in the same spot. If your dog presents his face for petting, then start with slow hand slides along the side of his neck - move over ear, neck, shoulder. For your dog's behind, place your massage, moving, hand on your dog's side - where the ribs end, and on the side of the spine. Move your massage hand toward you - move over midsection, hind legs, rump.
Be Conscious of Your Hand Movement Keep strokes short, slow and gentle. Apply just enough pressure to move your dog's skin, but not muscle. When your dog is comfortable, take longer strokes. When stroking, place your entire hand on your dog with your palm touching him. Keep your fingers together, and stroke with your entire hand. Be conscious of your hand movement and refrain from pushing inward - you will see your dog's body move the opposite way. Take a deep breath in as you stroke him side, and exhale as you lift your massage hand up to continue another stroke. Breathing will create a constant rhythm, which is important for relaxation.
Let Your Dog End the Massage Allow your dog to decide when the massage is over. In the beginning, your anxious dog will walk away after a few seconds or minutes. Slowly, he will learn to enjoy massages and will stick around longer though. Now, if your dog becomes a massage junkie, end the massage once your dog has relaxed. Then, pat yourself on the back for teaching your dog with anxiety that massages are wonderful.
Why It's Important to Treat Canine Separation Anxiety? If your dog has a severe case of separation anxiety you have witnessed first hand how much stress that causes for them. In the most severe of cases dogs are not just suffering tremendous psychological stress, they can become physically injured by their behaviors. And the problem isn't likely to get better on it's own, in most cases it gets worse if not treated.
If your dog has mild separation anxiety it may get worse if not treated, and dogs with an untreated mild case can develop severe behaviors. Anxious behaviors have a tendency to become worse over time if not managed, and that's true for separation anxiety. It's much easier to treat a mild case than a severe one, so I highly recommend working with your dog to help keep them comfortable when you leave. Helping your dog manage their anxiety when you leave isn't just about preventing a severe case, it's also about helping them feel comfortable & confident in their daily routine.
Don't get into a shouting match! Yelling back just stimulates your dog to bark more because they think you are joining in. Be calm and firm, but don't raise your voice.
Stay consistent with your training. Most dogs won't understand if you suddenly command them to "shut up." Use the same keyword so that your dog will understand a word like "Quiet!" and respond.
Step One: Predeparture Cues A Necessary Component of Separation Anxiety Treatment During desensitization to any type of fear, it is essential to ensure that your dog never experiences the full-blown version of whatever provokes his anxiety or fear. He must experience only a low-intensity version that doesn't frighten him. Otherwise, he won't learn to feel calm and comfortable in situations that upset him. This means that during treatment for separation anxiety, your dog cannot be left alone except during your desensitization sessions. Fortunately there are plenty of alternative arrangements. When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the dog's underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the dog experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety.
Some dogs begin to feel anxious while their guardians get ready to leave. For example, a dog might start to pace, pant and whine when he notices his guardian applying makeup, putting on shoes and a coat, and then picking up a bag or car keys. If your dog doesn't show signs of anxiety when you are preparing to leave him alone, you can just skip to step two below. Guardians of dogs who become upset during predeparture rituals are unable to leave - even for just few seconds without triggering their dogs' extreme anxiety. Your dog may see telltale cues that you are leaving - like your putting on your coat or picking up your keys and get so anxious about being left alone that he can't control himself and forgets that you will come back.
One treatment approach to this "predeparture anxiety" is to teach your dog that when you pick up your keys or put on your coat, it doesn't always mean that you are leaving. You can do this by exposing your dog to these cues in various orders several times a day without leaving. For example, put on your boots and coat, and then just watch TV instead of leaving. Or pick up your keys, and then sit down at the kitchen table for awhile. This will reduce your dog's anxiety because these cues won't always lead to your departure, and so your dog won't get so anxious when he sees them. Please be aware, though, that your dog has many years of learning the significance of your departure cues, so in order to learn that the cues no longer predict your long absences, your dog must experience the fake cues many, many times a day for many weeks. After your dog doesn't become anxious when he sees you getting ready to leave, you can move on to the next step below.
Step Two: Graduated Slowly Departures & Absences If your dog is less anxious before you leave, you can probably skip the predeparture treatment above and start with very short departures. The main rule is to plan your absences to be shorter than the time it takes for your dog to become upset. To get started, train your dog to perform out-of-sight stays by an inside door in the home, such as the bathroom. You can teach your dog to sit or down and stay while you go to the other side of the bathroom door. You can also contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for assistance. Gradually increase the length of time you wait on the other side of the door, out of your dog's sight. You can also work on getting your dog used to predeparture cues as you practice the stay. For example, ask your dog to stay. Then put on your coat, pick up your purse and go into the bathroom while your dog continues to stay.
Progress to doing out-of-sight stay exercises at a bedroom door, and then later at an exit door. If you always leave through the front door, do the exercises at the back door first. By the time you start working with your dog at exit doors, he should not behave anxiously because he has a history of playing the "stay game."
At this point, you can start to incorporate very short absences into your training. Start with absences that last only last one to two seconds, and then slowly increase the time you are out of your dog's sight. When you have trained up to separations of five to ten seconds long, build in counterconditioning by giving your dog a stuffed food toy just before you step out the door. The food-stuffed toy also works as a safety cue that tells the dog that this is a "safe" separation.
If possible, take your dog to work with you.
Arrange for a family member, friend or dog sitter to come to your home and stay with your dog when you are not there. Most dogs suffering from separation anxiety are fine as long as someone is with them. That someone doesn't necessarily need to be you.
Take your dog to a sitter's house or to a doggy daycare.
Many dogs suffering from separation anxiety are ok when left in a car. You can try leaving your dog in a car, but only if the weather is moderate. Be warned: dogs can suffer from heatstroke and die if left in cars in warm weather - 70 degrees Fahrenheit and up, even for just a few minutes. DO NOT leave your dog in a car unless you are sure that the interior of your car won't heat up.
During your sessions, be sure to wait a few minutes between absences. After each short separation, it's important to make sure that your dog is completely relaxed before you leave again. If you leave again right away, while your dog is still excited about your return from the previous separation, he will already feel aroused when he experiences the next absence. This arousal might make him less able to tolerate the next separation, which could make the problem worse rather than better.
Controlling Resources is Vital: When a dog has a strong consistent leader orcontroller of resources, it has a calming effect on him. He feels safe and taken care of. In the absence of a strong controller, your dog feels obligated to assume that position in the social hierarchy of the family pack. Since a leader must control all that goes on, his inability to control you leaving causes him stress and anxiety. They sometimes exhibit dominant behaviour to try to stop owners from leaving.
Leave Radio open! Routine is the key to overcoming Separation Anxiety. Leave the Radio One: Tune a radio to a talk station - not music unless it is classical which most dogs find soothing. Put it on in a room you are often in, but not in the same room as the dog, and close the door. The dog will hear the human voices from your room and may not feel so alone. BUT DO NOT treat anxiety by just leaving the radio or TV on. Leaving the radio or TV on can distract a bored dog while you are away. However, if your pet truly suffers from separation anxiety and is not simply bored, the extra noise won't help. An exception would be if you have trained your dog to recognize TV or radio noise as an safety cue, in which case you should continue using these as part of your training routine.
Remember to behave in a very calm and quiet manner when going out and coming in. This will lower the contrast between times when you are there and times when you are gone.
You must judge when your dog is able to tolerate an increase in the length of separation. Each dog reacts differently, so there are no standard timelines. Deciding when to increase the time that your dog is alone can be very difficult, and many pet parents make errors. They want treatment to progress quickly, so they expose their dogs to durations that are too long, which provokes anxiety and worsens the problem. To prevent this kind of mistake, watch for signs of stress in your dog. These signs might include dilated pupils, panting, yawning, salivating, trembling, pacing and exuberant greeting. If you detect stress, you should back up and shorten the length of your departures to a point where your dog can relax again. Then start again at that level and progress more slowly.
Leave Kongs stuffed with peanut butter or cottage cheese ready for him to dig into as soon as you leave.
Hide small treats around the house or in his crate. Make sure his favorite toys are tucked safely in places he knows to search. This gives him something to do while you are gone and helps eliminate boredom.
Tire him out. See that he receives plenty of physical and mental exercise and that he gets lots of time with you. When you do leave, he will be more content to sleep or just take it easy.
You will need to spend a significant amount of time building up to 40-minute absences because most of your dog's anxious responses will occur within the first 40 minutes that he is alone. This means that over weeks of conditioning, you will increase the duration of your departures by only a few seconds each session, or every couple of sessions, depending on your dog's tolerance at each level. Once your dog can tolerate 40 minutes of separation from you, you can increase absences by larger chunks of time - 5-minute increments at first, then later 15-minute increments. Once your dog can be alone for 90 minutes without getting upset or anxious, he can probably handle four to eight hours. Just to be safe, try leaving him alone for four hours at first, and then work up to eight full hours over a few days.
This treatment process can be accomplished within a few weeks if you can conduct several daily sessions on the weekends and twice-daily sessions during the work week, usually before leaving for work and in the evenings.
In addition to your graduated absences exercises, all greetings - hellos and goodbyes :) should be conducted in a very calm manner. When saying goodbye, just give your dog a pat on the head, say goodbye and leave. Similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your dog and then do not pay any more attention to him until he is calm and relaxed. The amount of time it takes for your dog to relax once you have returned home will depend on his level of anxiety and individual temperament. To decrease your dog's excitement level when you come home, it might help to distract him by asking him to perform some simple behaviors that he is already learned, such as sit, down or shake.
Consistency Is The Key! You are responsible for providing food and shelter. You also have the responsibility of supplying an environment whereby the dog feels safe and secure. Leadership & Resource controlling plays a major part. Lack of consistency and over-bonding can be a cause and effect of separation anxiety. I often say to my clients that three most important tenets in dog behaviour and training are Consistency, Consistency and Consistency. Though it must be said other factors may also play their part.
How to Help Dog Anxiety at Night Even though you might be tempted to give in and let your pooch sleep with you, this is the last thing you should do. In the majority of cases, rewarding attention-seeking behavior is counterproductive. Teaching your pooch commands like "sit" and "stay" is a great way to keep them out of your room. When treated with a tasty snack for keeping their paws off your bed, dogs quickly lose interest in trying to sneak in under your covers. Separation anxiety in dogs at night is not always a light matter. If your pooch has severe anxiety attacks, consider getting a crate or a dog bed you could place in your bedroom. Before you go, say "Quiet" in a calm, firm voice. Wait until they stop barking, even if it's just to take a breath, then praise them and give them a treat.
Never reward them while they are barking, even if you think it will get them to stop. Try to take the opposite approach. Teach your dog to "speak." Once they are doing that reliably, then signal for them to stop barking with a different command, such as "quiet" or by holding your finger up to your lips. Be sure to practice these commands when they are calm.
DAP Collar or diffuser - dog appeasing pheromones have a calming effect on some dogs. Both the collar and diffuser last about 30 days.
Also, you can try White noise machine or soothing instrumental music. White noise will help to block out sounds from the outside world that may agitate your dog. Try playing white noise, which you can get for free on the web or as an app, alongside another device that plays soothing instrumental music. Through a Dog's Ear produces music exactly for this purpose. Once you have a good routine of care established for your dog, making they are not alone, you are ready to start the training process. Other measures to help reduce their stress and anxiety can help set your dog up for success during that process, as well.
Behavior modification exercises must be done consistently - for weeks to months to see results, and the exercises may need to be continued for life.
Teach Independence Avoid rewarding attention-seeking behavior. Reward the dog with petting, treats, or other attention only when she is calm and quiet.
Reward! Always reward good your dog for relaxing behavior Reward relaxation: With your dog in a "sit" or "down" position in a quiet resting area in the home, reward your dog when he is calm. You may want to provide a mat or bed that you have your dog go to when he is calm. Provide toys at this "settle mat" and teach your dog "down stays" while on the mat. A calm dog will not be panting, wagging his tail, or otherwise moving. Use a word like "easy" or "steady" to serve as a cue for the relaxed behavior. When your dog learns to be relaxed with you close by - this may take days to weeks, slowly increase the distance between you and your dog. Provide a treat when the dog is calm. If your dog shows evident signs of being relaxed - puts his head down or sighs, provide an extra special reward. Don't reward clingy behavior, but don't ignore your dog, either.
Desensitize to Departure Cues Almost everyone has a set routine when they leave the house - shaving or putting on makeup, putting on shoes, picking up the keys, putting on a coat, etc. These activities inadvertently signal to your dog that you are going to leave, and many dogs start to get anxious as soon as they see these departure cues. To desensitize your dog to these cues, do these activities several times during the day but don't leave. Also try leaving by a different door and block the sounds of the departure.
Downplay Departures It is best to remain neutral around your dog for 15-30 minutes before you depart and as you depart. As your ready to leave, simply move your dog to the room or crate where he will be while you're gone, provide the food-filled toys, and quietly leave without saying anything.
Provide Safety! Unless confinement increases anxiety, house your dog in a comfortable, safe, room or spacious crate. Baby gates often work better than closed doors when trying to confine a dog with separation anxiety If your dog cannot be left safely alone, consider dog day care. If your dog can be left for short intervals, consider having a dog walker one or more times a day.
Enrich the Surroundings Turn on the radio and lights 30 minutes before you leave. Studies have shown that classical music can have a calming effect on anxious dogs. White noise, like a fan running, may also be helpful.
Toys for Furballs! Provide treat-filled toy or safe chew toy as you leave. Fill a Kong or other toy with canned food and freeze it. This will last a long time. It's OK for your dog to get most of his calories through these food treats. If you can, use treats that are well-balanced nutritionally. Regularly change the type of toy to provide variety. Also provide the toy at times when your dog is calm and you are not leaving, so the toy itself does not become a departure cue.
Destroy 'em all! Dogs with separation anxiety often have destructive tendencies, so provide something your dog can destroy such as old phone books, newspapers, stuffed toys from thrift shops - remove any choking hazards such as button eyes.
Sofas Provide a comfortable bed.
Have an Ice Day! Dogs with separation anxiety often tend to get thirsty because they pant and/or drool more. Try freezing water in a plastic pail. Secure it to the side of the crate so as it thaws it will not spill.
Tone Down The Return! Be low key when you return. Refrain from greeting your dog until he has calmed down.
Punishment helps Anxiety !!! Do not punish or scold your dog. This escalates the problem and may make the dog fearful of the owner and cause the dog to become more anxious at the owner's expected arrival time. Keep in mind that your dog does not have this problem behavior because he is mad at you or trying to "get back" at you. Punishment, especially after the fact, will only be confusing and cause more anxiety. Always start with a visit to your veterinarian to rule out health problems. Separation anxiety can be a very frustrating and traumatic situation for both you and your dog, but with patience and proper treatment it can usually be dramatically improved.
HOW TO FIGHT DOG AND PUPPY's THUNDERSTORM PHOBIA AND FEAR This article is proudly presented by WWW.DOGGIES GONEWILD.COM and HEALTHYPETS MERCOLA.COM and Diane Moura
Distract Your Dog What is your dog's favorite thing to do? When the next thunderstorm darkens the sky, try playing with your dog with his favorite toy. You can also feed him his favorite food, like peanut butter or chicken. Over time, your dog will begin to associate thunderstorms with these positive things, which can help change his reaction to them. If you can't seem to distract your dog, try using white noise to drown out the storm. Turn up the volume on the TV or put on your favorite music album.
ThunderShirt It's All about the Outfit! If your dog has trouble during thunderstorms and you have not tried the ThunderShirt, you may want to give it a try. This specially designed garment creates a buffer between the vibrations of thunder and your dog's skin, and it's similar to giving your dog a hug, which can be comforting. It's an effective way to deal with dog anxiety of all types. The concept of anxiety vests for dogs is simple, yet effective. You have probably noticed that your dog likes to be close to you when he is frightened. In the wild, dogs live in packs. Being close to their pack members helps them to feel secure.
Many people are skeptical of using anxiety vests for dogs because they do not understand how a piece of clothing may relieve anxiety in dogs and how exactly it works. The leader in best dog anxiety vests, Thundershirt, have conducted several surveys with pet owners and veterinarians to find that anxiety vests for dogs have an 80% success rate for relieving anxiety in dogs. the best dog anxiety vests would wrap tightly around your pet to give him the same sense of security that you would.
Think of the vests like a constant hug that will keep your dog calm and reassure him that he is alright. It doesn't make sense to us, humans, but for reasons not yet well known to science, it does make sense for dogs.
Create a Comforting Environment If your dog has a safe space that he likes to spend time in, try to encourage him to go there during the next storm. If there is a toy that he likes to snuggle with, make sure he has it within reach. The same goes for any blankets or pillows that he uses. These will give a sense of familiarity to an otherwise frightening situation.
Control Your Body Language Dogs can tell when we are stressed out. We get stressed out when we are witnessing dog anxiety. If you don't control the way you hold your body, your breathing and other aspects of your body language, your dog will notice. During a thunderstorm, your dog needs as many calming influences as possible, and as their human, you are their main source of comfort. Check your own state of mind: reacting to your dog's anxiety with nervousness of your own can cause your dog to pick up on your anxiety and heighten the problem further.
Play calm, soothing music (MusicMyPet.com, PetMusic.com) before a possible stressor occurs. This may relax your dog and have the added bonus of drowning out distressing noises.
Try putting gentle, continuous pressure on your dog to calm her. If your dog will allow it, try leaning gently on or against her without petting or stroking. If this is helping your pup, you will feel his muscles begin to relax. If instead she seems to grow more anxious, this isn't a technique that will be helpful for him.
The essential oil of lavender has also been proven to reduce a dog's stress response. I recommend placing a few drops on your dog's collar or bedding before a stressor occurs, if possible, or diffuse the oil around your house for an overall calming effect.
Forget the Sympathy! Our first reaction is to become very sympathetic to her whines and cries, but this type of reaction is likely to backfire. Although it sounds very cold-hearted, trying to soothe and comfort your dog by patting her and cooing over her is actually one of the worst things you can do. What this does is validate her feelings.
Begin by observing your dog when he appears anxious! Teach a fantastic automatic down as well as a down on verbal cue. What happening around your dog when he is anxious? Are there loud noises nearby? Are family members arguing? Are you feeling worried or stressed? Is a storm approaching? If it's an obvious problem, place distance between your dog and the stress factor. For example, if your dog appears to stress in large crowds, calmly remove him from that situation and place him in a quiet place where he feels safe. Once you have an idea about what's making your dog anxious, you can better prepare for or avoid similar situations which might arise in the future. This brings me to my next point.
Use tough love! The development of serious anxiety issues in many of these dogs is preceded by an excessive attachment to one person. That person should be sure to adopt a policy of aloofness when returning home, and not praise or pet the dog excessively, especially if the dog is going wild with joy. Reserve attention for when he's calmed down, and he will start to get the message that your attention comes once he is settled, and not before.
The goal of treating separation anxiety is to reduce a dog's dependence on its owners. Ensure that your dog feels safe and comfortable when you are away from him. Provide plenty of fresh water and clean, warm bedding for your dog. Separation anxiety is also known in the dog training world as owner absent misbehavior. It is one of the most frequently encountered problems in the world of dog training. Separation anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, including chewing, destruction of property, excessive barking, self-destructive behavior and inappropriate urination and defecation.
There are many things that can be done through out the day during your day to day interactions with your dog that can help this process. Part of what contributes to a dog's intolerance of being alone or ignored is that the dog is constantly being petted for long periods. Instead, always have your dog sit before giving attention and then only give your dog 10 seconds of petting at a time. If he wants more, wait until he is not actively seeking it, have him sit again, and give another 10 seconds of petting. Have him earn attention by sitting. Ration attention out in small bits so as to not create an overly dependent dog.
Change Your Behavior ! Most of us have a routine we follow before we leave the house: shower, dress, put on a coat, grab keys, walk out the door. Once he has recognized your routine, your dog's anxiety may start building from the first step. This means his anxiety is not just beginning when you walk out the door. Instead, it starts when your alarm clock goes off or you turn on the shower, and by the time you leave the house he is in a full blown panic. To prevent this building anxiety, make some changes to your own behavior. Pay attention to the things you do before you leave the house, and begin doing them randomly throughout the day. For example, you can grab your keys and sit down to watch television, or put on your coat and feed your dog. Practice fire drills - go out, return, sit, play a game, go out. Vary the time you are gone.
Within a few weeks, your dog should no longer see these things as signs that you are about to walk out the door, and some of his anxiety should be eased. Do not respond when the dog demands attention. Ignore attention-seeking behaviors. Only give attention during times when the dog is not actively seeking attention, such as when lying down calmly.
Reduce the contrast: most separation-anxious dogs cannot tolerate the either or conditions of attention when the owner is home vs. no attention when the owner leaves. Reduce the contrast by picking two days out of week when you are home. Ignore the dog for 6 to 8 hours on those days, matching the time you are away at work. Limit attention to only feeding or letting the dog out to potty during this time. The dog will learn: "what's the big deal when my owner is gone - even when he's home, he still sometimes ignores me."
Look At It From Your Dog's Perspective To your dog you are the most important thing in his world. Dogs are pack animals who are very sociable creatures and thrive on company for many reasons. Your dog would spend every bit of his life with you if he could. So it's only natural that when you go out, your dog experiences varying degrees of distress or anxiety. He becomes confused, doesn't know where you are going, why he can't be with you and if you will be coming back to him. When the two of you are separated all he wants is to be reunited with his pack, which is you.
THE FIGHTING TECHNIQUES
1. Start When They are Young Separation anxiety may be prevented while they are still a learning young puppy. If you have just adopted a puppy then you can encourage them to explore and entertain themselves with toys and treats for short periods of time. Try leaving the room for short intervals of 1 or 2 minutes leading to slightly longer intervals. Leave small treats to reinforce that your absence creates positive emotions. Eventually, the shock of being left alone as they age won't be as emotional.
2. Run Before You Leave For Work If you are not a morning person I can hear you moaning already, believe me I am not a morning person either. But after my dog ripped down every curtain and drape in my home and chewed up each corner of my kitchen table, I knew I had to do everything I could to calm him before I left. Dogs build up nervous energy that needs an outlet, if they don't find one they result to destructive behavior. Wake up 30 minutes before you leave for work, put your shoes on and run - not just a walk! your dog. If you are not into morning jogs then teach your dog to play fetch and let them sprint back and forth for 20 minutes, getting all that pent up energy out. By the time you leave for work your dog will be ready to go back to sleep. After doing this for a few months you will actually begin to love your new morning routine, I promise. The morning fresh air is better than coffee. For extreme cases you may have to do this every time you leave - not just for work, but your dog will become accustomed to the routine of playing, and then napping when you leave.
3. Have a Consistent Routine Dogs with a routine behave better. They have an amazing sense of time, and once they settle into a routine of play and exercise, they generally just nap during the rest of the day. Simply by walking, feeding, playing, and sleeping at generally the same time each day, your dog will get into a rhythm and feel more relaxed.
4. Find a Dog Walker or Sitter An afternoon visit may be just the thing your dog needs, and another part of their daily routine they can look forward to. Again, dogs love routine, so having a dog walker arrive roughly around the same time can keep them at ease. Alternatively you can leave your dog with a trusted sitter. When looking for a dog walking service do a little research, and make sure they are well trained for the job and insured.
5. Take Your Dog to Daycare Some dogs take well to daycare, others not so much. You will have to analyze your dog's behavior in populated environments and dog parks. Also, stay in contact with your daycare to get updates on how well your dog is responding. Daycares can be great for your dog's social development, not to mention a great way for them to run and play. I understand that Daycare every day of the week may be out of your price range, however some day cares will give you deals for booking an entire month in advance, or reduced day-rates. But if that's not an option try just picking at least one day a week and see if there's any improvement.
6. Use Puzzles and Interactive Toys to Keep Them Busy One of the favorite methods is to fill up a toy with your dog's favorite treats. My personal favorite is securely pushing in Lamb lung into a Kong. There are several other "puzzle" toys available to keep your dog occupied. You can also create a scavenger hunt around your home, hiding treats for them to discover. Or you can simply leave a bone, raw hide, or other chewable treat. For obvious reasons, don't use treats that can stain furniture or leave a mess. And of course do not save money on your furball, with buying ON SALE AMAZON-EBAY-WHATEVER chinese happy 1-day dog toy. Some toys and chews present a choking hazard, and bones can damage teeth. Don't leave your dog alone with these items until you have monitored their chewing behavior. You won't be home in case of emergencies, so be aware of any possible dangers.
7. Mental Stimulation is Just as Important as Physical Walking your dog every day is great, but it may become mundane. Dog's love routine, but they crave new challenges, new experiences, and to visit new places. If your dog is suddenly acting out, and walks just are not doing it anymore, maybe it's because you have walked the same path for several weeks and haven't challenged them to something new. Switch it up and explore new places, Training is a great way to stimulate that brain, and you may find your dog is exhausted just from learning new tricks, Puzzles and toys are another way to challenge your dogs mind, or simply hiding treats to create a scavenger hunt around your home!
8. Don't Make a Big Deal of Leaving and Coming Home You know the routine, you walk through the front door after a hard day of work and are greeted with excitement and kisses. Who doesn't love that? ;-) Unfortunately, you may be feeding into their sense of anxiety. Show them that leaving and coming home isn't a big deal and doesn't need to be celebrated. From now on when you get home completely ignore them until they are totally calm. Over time they will understand that they will get rewarded with attention for being calm, and ignored while overly excited. The same goes for leaving your home: ignore your dog 30 minutes prior to departing. Make a rule with everyone in the house that there's no touching or eye contact before leaving or coming home. What about guests who don't know those rules? Put a sign on your front door that reads something like this:
GUESTS: We have dogs in training, and have a NO TOUCH rule. Please, do not pet dogs until they are calm.
9. Reward Them for Being Calm, Ignore Them When Overly Excited As a follow up to the previous rule, you can apply this technique through the day as well. This is a simple training technique, but one that requires discipline from the owner more than the dog. Simply put, if your dog is bouncing off the walls, ignore them. When they are calm and acting in a way you prefer, then reward them with gentle pets, treats, and attention. If they suddenly begin to get too excited from your attention then go back to ignoring them. Even negative attention is still attention, so when your dog is overly excited and misbehaving - yelling and getting frustrated is still giving them what they want. This is where your patience will truly be tested but overtime you will be rewarded with a calm dog.
10. Desensitize Your Dog to Your "Leaving Routine" - Your dog is very receptive to triggers, try this: grab your car keys and put on your shoes. Does your dog immediately jump to attention and begin to monitor your every action. They recognize your routine for leaving, just little sound and movements, like the sound of your keys can trigger them into a learned response of excitement or anxiety. Because you go through the exact same routine every morning your dog has picked up on your cue's they know you are about to leave. If you desensitize them to those daily triggers it will certainly reduce the separation anxiety felt when you leave.
Wait for the dog to completely calm down, and go through the entire process again. And again. And again. You may have to do this dozens of times, leaving slightly longer each time. But each time you do it you are causing your dog to relearn their emotional triggers. Eventually, and it may take some time, your dog won't even respond to your leaving. Keep testing how long you can leave before they appear anxious when you return, then dial it back a bit and keep trying to expand on your away time. This can be a big training commitment, so even using this technique a few times each day for several weeks can help curb this negative behavior. Unlearning a bad habit takes time, I recommend doing this over a weekend or when you have a few days at home.
11. Crate Training and Creating a Comfortable "Safe-Space" Even if you are training an older dog, all dogs in the wild will naturally seek out a small and dark shelter, so crate training can create a very comfortable and safe environment for them. But it must be introduced the proper way or it will cause even more distress - we want a safe-space, not a prison. Crate training is not something you can implement over-night. It will take weeks of training before you can comfortably leave your dog alone in a crate without causing anxiety. Crate size is very important, it should have enough space for your dog to comfortably turn around, stand up, and lie down in any position. Start by keeping the crate in the room you spend the most time, leaving the door open. Use comfortable bedding or blankets, and always present treats, toys, and food in the crate. The idea is to get them to go in by themselves and enjoy their time there. Never force your dog into the crate, you must introduce it as a comfortable place, and continue to do so. Forcing them in will cause even more anxiety and distrust. That means when you leave for work you can't just shove them in. After your dog has begin to spend their own time in the crate, have them spend short periods of time in it with the door closed, while slowly increasing your time away.
Don't always leave the house while they are in their crate, or they will automatically associate the crate with you leaving. If your dog can comfortably spend 30 minutes in the crate with the door closed, you can now experiment by leaving the house for short periods of time. Again, do not make a big deal of leaving or coming home, just go through the routine without showing emotion. You may need to follow Rule #10 to desensitize them to your "leaving routine", or they will become anxious every time it comes time to enter their crate. Keep in mind some dogs respond very well to crates, and some typically free-roaming large breeds, do not respond well at all. Through personal experience.
13. Chewable only Kong! Make off-limits chew objects undesirable. To do this, you can use hair spray. First coat a Q-tip and have dog approach it. It will taste bad when he licks it. Then liberally spray the hair spray on couch cushions, wood molding and other places the dog chewed before. The spray's smell and taste will repel the dog.
14. Turn on the tube! (TV) Flip on HGTV if your dog is a demolition do-it-yourself type or ESPN if he is more of an Air Bud. The background sound reduces the amount of external noises that could disturb your dog.
15. Give your dog a bedroom! This worked amazingly well for many dogs! Instead of giving dog free reign of my entire home, or reducing his space to a kennel, I just used a spare bedroom that had nothing but his bed and his favorite toys. I introduced it as a safe space, left items of old clothing that smelled like me, and my dog would often sleep in there during the day even when I was home. If you have the space available this may work for you.
16. Smelly Owner The Smell Of Its Owner Can Ease A Dog's Separation Anxiety! According to the ASPCA, one way to ease mild separation anxiety in your pet is through something called counterconditioning. Counterconditioning teaches a dog to develop an association between being alone and something good, like getting a treat or a toy. Or, if fMRI brain scans are any indication, something that smells like you.
And finally... Track Progress with Journals Photos and Video tapes! A baseline for panting, pacing, urination or defecation, whining or barking, and digging & chewing, as well as their timing and intensity is needed to determine whether treatment is working. A video camera can be aimed at areas where elimination or destructiveness has occurred - recording 30 to 60 minutes will provide a reasonable idea of the dog's distress immediately after departure. Audiotaping may be enough if barking is the primary complaint. Video or audiotaping should be repeated as needed to monitor progress. A journal of the dog's behavior is also helpful and should include when relevant elimination behavior outdoors as well as when the owner leaves the house and returns.
Depression Structure: Grounding Dogs with separation anxiety need your help, and the first thing to do is to start having your dog do things respond to commands for everything he gets: food, attention, treats, play and walks all happen after he listens and responds to a command such as sit. This will calm him and help reassure him that you are leading the team. For complete guidelines click here.
Space Separation anxiety dogs are often "owner addicts." They want to be leaning, touching, sitting on, gazing up at or sitting their owners every moment. This needs to change. Get a dog bed. It doesn't have to be fancy - a folded blanket will do and give him all his petting and attention there. Treats are given there. Meals are given there. Make this the best seat in the house. Do not call him off of the bed to come to you, and leave him be when he is on it. This may be hard for you at first but things have to change, right?
Teach & Train Get the interaction you crave through training. Take a class, pick up a dog sport and find new ways to spend time with your dog, ways that don't involve you attending to his needy side. If you want him more confident, you need to build his confidence through daily, fun training sessions. Developing shared communication between the two of you is a gift only you can give your dog.
Teach your dogs as many commands as possible. Your pet should be able to "sit", "relax" & "stay" on command while you stroke and reassure him. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to join a group obedience class. Each member of your household should participate in a take charge way because it is impossible to have happy, well-adjusted family pet if family members are below it in the peck order. The point of this training is teaching anxious dogs to relax and give it confidence. Do the exercises in various rooms of the house and in the yard. Give out praise effusively and chew treats liberally.
Confinement Many dogs can learn to be contentedly crated, as long as you take the time to make the crate a pleasant spot. Crating an anxious dog can prevent mishaps and calm him. If he is clean in his crate, the crate can be as large as you want.
Slow Start Start slowly. Introduce crating with treats, feed him in the crate and then crate for short periods when you are home. If you only crate when you leave, that can create crate stress.
Exercise Physical Long walks, solo fetch games up slight hills and swimming are all good ways to give yoru dog a work out. Playing wrestle-mania with a friend's dog works some dogs up, leaving them more excited and active. How do you know when you have found the right routine? When your dog is calmer after the session than before.
Mental Side Mental exercise is just as important than physical, if not more. Games that build his self-control, focus and patience are key to him getting better when alone.
Sleep Alone Sleep alone. If you sleep with your dog in your bed - stop. Snuggle together in bed if you like but when it's time to sleep, have your dog sleep in her own bed.
Calm your Friend Our advice? Leave and greet your dog the way you leave and greet your parents or spous - calm and matter of fact is perfect. Avoid long, drawn out, emotional partings because those only make matters worse for your dog. A good rule? Act the way you want your dog to act, he will follow your lead.
At the other end of the spectrum, skip yelling. As frustrating as this problem is, if you yell at your dog when you come home you will increase his stress about your coming home, making the anxiety more intense. Prevention is key, not punishment. Lastly, keep your routine the same seven days a week. If you give your dog 100% attention on Sunday, expect an increase in separation issues on Monday. Do him a favor and make his life predictable. Apart from using tried and true strategies for breaking a dog's separation anxiety, there are a number of useful tips and tricks that can help your dog. These small changes and practices can make a world of difference!
What Not to Do !!! There are certain methods that definitely won't work: just ask the numerous pet experts and fellow pet parents. These practices are not only ineffective, they might make things worse - both for you and your pet.
Punishment Most dog trainers agree: it isn't effective for treating separation anxiety and can even make the situation worse!
Another Dog Getting your dog a companion is not a cure-all and might double your problems. Consult with a behaviorist or trainer before taking on responsibility for another dog.
Ignore the Dog! Do not pay attention to your dog when he follows you or your family around the house. Many attention seeking behaviors, including separation anxiety, can simply be corrected by ignoring them.
Yell or make a Fuss Negative attention is still attention- and the last thing you need to do is to make your dog believe that being destructive is what it takes to be in the spotlight.
Obedience training While formal training is typically always a good idea, your dog's separation anxiety might not be the result of disobedience or a lack of training.
Calming Yo-Yo Exercise The Calming Yo-Yo exercise is designed to teach a dog how to remain calm during short, controlled absences from its owner. This exercise is useful for dogs who suffer from very mild to severe cases of separation anxiety, or for dogs who just don't like their owners to leave the room. A professional diagnosis of canine separation anxiety is not necessary to begin this exercise, but if your dog has a strong reaction to this exercise, it would be wise to consult a competent veterinary behaviorist soon. The principles of the Calming Yo-Yo exercise are the same as for most realistic, sensible treatment protocols, which makes it easier to understand how those protocols work. The insights gained from this simple exercise make it less likely that serious errors will be made if or when more complex behavior modification procedures are attempted. What the exercise does is demonstrate to the dog that being calm is the quickest, most reliable way to bring an owner back. Being anxious, whining, barking, stamping paws, panting excessively, or straining at the restraint won't achieve the dog's goal.
Dogs know when you are thinking of leaving long before you do. Perhaps it is because you put on your shoes, pick up your purse or car keys or put on your dress clothes. If you can determine what the clues are that you give your dog, you can try to desensitize him to these clues by repeating them frequently but not leaving and by giving him a treat and praise when he behaves well. When you have made progress, make your departures quiet and quick. Try leaving through a back or side door. Departures should be quick and quiet. The Family should ignore the dog 20 minutes before you leave and 20 minutes after you get home.
If none of the dog separation anxiety tips work the first time, it doesn't mean they won't work the second time around. Experiment and try out different techniques until one of them proves to be a match. Anxious behavior is just behavior. It looks and sounds terrible, but it can't go on forever. Separation anxiety can be treated with the right method, and finding one is just a matter of trial and error. However, if your dog's separation anxiety disorder is extreme, seek professional help sooner rather than later!
Make it Fun ! Associate your family's departure with something wonderful, like a rare treat that he only gets at that time of day. Also, always ask your pup to sit before you interact with him. This sets up a predictable, structured relationship between you and your pup and helps him to understand how to get attention from you.
On a certain level, it's easy enough to ascertain whether the program is working. If you come home and the house is not ripped apart, the dog has not relieved himself on the floor, and neighbors are not talking to you about excessive barking - the 3 major complaints of separation anxiety, you can feel pretty confident that the plan you have put into place, perhaps with medication, is having a beneficial effect. But to be certain beyond the shadow of a doubt, go the extra mile: set up Skype or a webcam or Face Time to see what your dog is actually doing while you are away. The bottom line: yes, there is a great chance of success when it comes to taking separation anxiety out of the picture. Some dogs, in fact, can even stop using medication. But that doesn't mean the problem disappears. It can be reignited, so to speak, and owners should, if necessary, be prepared to go through the paces once again.
EXCESSIVE VOCALIZATION CASES If the dog barks to express his separation anxiety, add the following to your program:
Do not give the dog any attention for any type of vocalization, not even eye contact.
Reduce dog's visual access to things he will bark at.
Catch him in the act of barking. Say OFF! and use a startle technique, such as a loud clap, spraying water at the dog with a spray bottle, or creating an unpleasant, interruptive noise. After the dog has stopped barking, wait one to five minutes and begin to reward the dog's quiet behavior.
Randomly, notice when your dog is not vocalizing in any way. Pass near him, toss a treat and say "good quiet." The dog learns that he gets rewarded for quiet behavior and gets startled for noisy behavior. These discipline techniques are not to be used with great frequency, nor should they be relied on as the sole way to stop barking.
Set up tape recorder or video recorder to chart the time the barking occurs. Come home for lunch. When you give your separation-anxious dog attention, dole it out in 1 second increments.
SIT & STAY REMEDY Teaching the Sit-Stay and Down Stay: Another technique for reducing separation anxiety in your dog is practicing the "sit-stay" or "down-stay" training exercises using positive reinforcement. Your goal it to be able to move briefly out of your dog's sight while he remains in the "stay" position and thereby teach your dog that he can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another. To do this, you gradually increase the distance you move away from your dog. As you progress, you can do this during the course of your normal daily activities. For example, if you are watching television with your dog by your side and you get up for a snack, tell him to stay, and leave the room. When you come back, give him a treat or praise him quietly. Never punish your dog during these training sessions.
POWER ON THE LIGHTS! Have a light source. Dogs do best when they are in a room that is well-lit by natural sunlight as this can combat feelings of isolation when home alone, however it is always helpful to leave on a lamp or overhead light as well. Even if you normally return home well before the sun sets, if it happens to rain or even if a storm is close by and the sky becomes cloudy, this can make a house very dark. Dogs that have separation anxiety are often sensitive to light changes, each will have a tipping point. 70% light, 50%. Each dog will reach a point when they perceive the room to be dark and that can exasperate the feeling of isolation.
ROOM WITH VIEW Some dogs prefer to watch the world go by. If at all possible, supply her with a view. If she can see the world going by, that's the next best thing to being out and about in it. Dogs with Separation anxiety should not have the run of the house, but she should not be confined to a crate either. A good compromise is a small room or a section of a room partitioned off by an exercise pen. If a window is available, the dog will not feel quite so isolated. Watch your dog's reaction, though, as sometimes a window can cause even more anxiety.
DOG SEPARATION ANXIETY: TREATING MINOR CASES This article is proudly presented by WWW.CANNA PET.COM
Rule out other causes. Notice when symptoms take place. If they occur when you are coming or going, separation anxiety could be the cause. But if your dog exhibits problem behaviors when you are just sitting put, it's most likely something else.
If your dog uses the bathroom where it's not supposed to while you are home the cause probably isn't separation anxiety.
Consider visiting a vet to rule out incontinence or digestion issues, or visit a trainer for help completing potty training.
Similarly, excessive barking or howling could be signs of incomplete training, especially if you didn't have a hand in training your dog when it was a puppy.
Most dogs go through a period of excessive chewing as juveniles. Do your best to make it understand which toys are for chewing and which items belong to you.
Make sure you don't leave shoes, clothes, or other tempting objects out during your dog's juvenile period, from a few months before its first birthday to a few months after.
Make leaving and arriving home routine and unexciting. Don't make a fuss when leaving and don't greet your dog immediately when you come back home. Give it a few minutes, then calmly pet it. High-arousal departures and arrivals can lead to an inability to deal with being alone.
Don't make your exit with lots of fanfare or with a big gestures.
Try to avoid giving recognizable cues, like grabbing your keys loudly, that signal you are leaving.
Take your dog on a long walk before you leave the house. Making sure your dog gets plenty of exercise helps to reduce anxiety, especially for larger breeds. Taking a long, brisk walk will tire it out and make it more likely to settle down. Engage in other playtime activities, such as fetching and other games that offer both physical and mental exercise. Make sure your dog gets at least 30 minutes of walking exercise every day. Go different places when you take it on walks so it's exposed to new sights and smells.
Leave an item carrying your scent with your dog. Your scent will help comfort your dog and will help keep it calm until you return. Dogs' primary sense is smell, and reassuring smells can offer safety cues. Leave an unwashed but unsoiled blanket, towel, or article of clothing with your dog before you go. If your dog is crate trained, leave the scent item in its crate with the dog.
How to Teach Your Puppy or Dog to Stay Home Alone If your dog goes into mourning every time you leave the room, it is important to teach her that your absence is not the end of the world. Start a training routine to help her get used to temporary separation. As with any training, it's important to work gradually and consistently. Start by asking your dog to "stay" in one room - preferably her "dog zone" while you are home with her. Gradually lengthen the distance and time of your separation until you can leave her alone for 20+ minutes without incident.
The quicker you follow the previously not so nice stuff your leaving, with the nice stuff - your giving food, the stronger the positive association between your leaving and the nice stuff. If you manage to start giving the food in under a second after you have jiggled your keys, you are good. The response tapers off in speed of acquisition and intensity above 1 second.
One of the most important aspects of desensitisation is that, when you are in session, the dog must under no circumstances be subject to stress or anxiety!
The technique here is by gradual exposure to the stimulus, starting with a really really easy situation for the dog, where he has no fear - walking toward your keys, not even touching them, and gradually rehearsing increasingly life-like departures until you can do the whole sequence without the dog batting an eyelid. Once you have reached the door, you also increase your absences using the same principle. The primary treatment for more severe cases of separation anxiety is a systematic process of getting your dog used to being alone. You must teach your dog to remain calm during "practice" departures and short absences. We recommend the following procedures:
Begin by engaging in your normal departure activities - getting your keys, putting on your coat, then sit back down. Repeat this step until your dog shows no distress in response to your distress.
Next, engage in your normal departure activities and just open the door, then sit back down.
Then, step outside the door, leaving the door open, then return.
Finally, step outside, close the door, then immediately return. Slowly get the dog accustomed to being alone with the door closed between you for several seconds.
Proceed very gradually from step to step, repeating eack step until your dog shows no signs of distress. The number of repetitions will vary depending on the severity of the problem. If at any time in this process your actions produce an anxiety response in your dog, you have preceded too fast. Return to an earlier step in the process and practice the step until the dog shows no distress response, then proceed to the next step.
Once your dog is tolerating your being on the other side of the door for several seconds, begin short duration This step involves giving the dog a verbal cue - "I will be back", leaving, and then returning within a minute. Your return must be low-key, either ignore your dog or greet him quietly and calmly. If he shows no signs of distress, repeat the exercise. Gradually increase the length of time you were gone.
Practice as many absences as possible that last less than 10 minutes. You can do many departures within one session. if your dog relaxes sufficiently between departures. You should also scatter practice departures and short-duration absences throughout the day.
Once your dog can handle short absences 30-90 minutes, he will usually be able to handle longer intervals alone, and you won't have to repeat this process every time you are planning a longer absence. The hard part is at the beginning, but the job gets easier as you go along. Nevertheless, you must go slowly at first. How long it takes to condition your dog to being alone depends on the severity of his problem.
Separation anxiety: a treatment protocol Gradually desensitize the dog to each step of your pre-departure routine: "routine rehearsal" through "safe sessions".
Frequently expose your dog to truncated cues of your departure - jigging keys, without it actually resulting in your departure: "fake departure cues"
Gradually desensitize the dog to increasingly longer periods of absence whilst NEVER going far enough that the dog reacts: "duration build-up".
Providing lots of physical and mental stimulation is a vital part of treating many behavior problems, especially those involving anxiety. Exercising your dog's mind and body can greatly enrich his life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal dog behaviors. Additionally, a physically and mentally tired dog doesn't have much excess energy to expend when he is left alone. To keep your dog busy and happy, try the following suggestions:
Give your dog at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity - for example, running and swimming every day. Try to exercise your dog right before you have to leave him by himself. This might help him relax and rest while you are gone.
Play fun, interactive games with your dog, such as fetch and tug-of-war.
Take your dog on daily walks and outings. Take different routes and visit new places as often as possible so that he can experience novel smells and sights.
If your dog likes other dogs, let him play off-leash with his canine buddies.
Frequently provide food puzzle toys. You can feed your dog his meals in these toys or stuff them with a little peanut butter, cheese or yogurt. Also give your dog a variety of attractive edible and inedible chew things. Puzzle toys and chew items encourage chewing and licking, which have been shown to have a calming effect on dogs. Be sure to provide them whenever you leave your dog alone.
Make your dog "hunt" his meals by hiding small piles of his kibble around your house or yard when you leave. Most dogs love this game!
Enroll in a reward-based training class to increase your dog's mental activity and enhance the bond between you and your dog. Contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for group or private classes that can give you and your dog lots of great skills to learn and games to play together. After you and your dog have learned a few new skills, you can mentally tire your dog out by practicing them right before you leave your dog home alone. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a CPDT in your area.
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