A common challenge many dog owners face is separation anxiety. Sure, dogs enjoy your companionship, but naturally, a dog should be comfortable enough to be alone for normal amounts of time. If they are not capable of being alone, then the most common reason is their confidence is too dependent on the owner. Sometimes this is accidentally taught to the dog when they were a puppy, and sometimes it is out of the owner’s control if they adopted a dog not knowing this issue exists. Another reason could be a bad experience when the dog was alone, and the dog becomes worried that it will happen again when they are alone, hence why they do not want to be alone. Regardless of the reason, dogs can learn to be alone again although each case is different as to how quickly this can be relearned. It is important for you to learn how to deal with a dog that has separation anxiety to keep them happy.
Most dogs show signs of stress and anxiety in ways very similar to humans. If your dog is experiencing anxiety when left alone, you may see one or more of these common signs:
- Behavior problems (i.e., destructive behavior)
- Excessive whining or excessive barking
- Inappropriate elimination (or house soiling when a puppy is fully house-trained)
- Excessive salivation
- Attempting to escape
- Difficulty maintaining routine
If problems are persistent, reach out to The Dog Wizard for solutions. The Dog Wizard has 36 locations throughout the Eastern United States with services including dog behavior modification and training that can specifically help dogs with separation anxiety.
Ways of Treating Separation Anxiety
You can do several things to help ease your dog’s separation anxiety. First, you can be discreet when you leave home and when you return. Avoid making it a big deal when you’re leaving, and skip dramatic greetings when you return. It may even be a good idea to have your dog in a separate room when you leave. Low-key departures make leaving a less anxious time for your pet.
Another tip is to try doing some physical exercise with your dog before you leave, so they have less energy to focus on their anxiety. This could be a fast walk, chasing a ball or toy, going for a jog, playing with playmate – the key is to release as much energy as possible so they are ready to rest while you are gone.
Interactive toys are a great way to keep your dog active and entertained while you’re away. Leaving food puzzle toys such as peanut butter or a camera system that allows you to release treats while you are away is also helpful. You are trying to make positive things happen while you are away, so if they love treats, only treat them while you are away. The Furbo is a great device that allows you to treat from afar.
You can also leave some recently worn clothes out in your dog’s proximity. This will allow your dog to feel connected to you when you’re away. The scent of your clothes may help comfort your dog until you return home, especially if you’ll be away for longer periods. Overall, these preventive measures may make it a bit easier for your furry friend to self-soothe when you’re away for long periods of time.
You May Need Professional Help
If your puppy’s anxiety causes excessive behavioral problems, you may want to consider anti-anxiety medication to treat the symptoms. There are some over-the-counter medications available that specifically help with calming anxiety in dogs. Many pet parents notice a big change in their pets by adding supplements at the first signs of distress. Drug therapy is a proven treatment for severe cases of anxious behaviors in many dogs.
Seek separation anxiety training. The Dog Wizard offers Separation Anxiety Dog Training to help dogs become more comfortable with being left home alone. If you’ve tried other methods and your dog is still displaying unwanted behaviors, call The Dog Wizard at (877) 585-9727. You can also find professional dog trainers in your area online at our website if preferred.
Find Help for Dog Separation Anxiety
Puppy separation anxiety is a common condition many puppy owners experiences. Pay attention to changes in your dog’s behavior and know that there are resources available to help you in dealing with a dog that has separation anxiety.
If you’ve tried several methods to improve puppy behavior associated with anxiety and you still need help, reach out to The Dog Wizard. We’re here to support you as your dog learns to become more comfortable with staying home alone. We want you to have a happy dog!