A puppy with separation anxiety.

Dealing With Separation Anxiety

Does your puppy bark excessively or show destructive behavior when you leave the home. Are they having accidents when you leave even when they are perfectly potty trained? It could be separation anxiety and it can be a big issue. There are however some things that you can do to solve or at least make the problem manageable.

Mild Cases Of Separation Anxiety

With mild cases, your dog might just howl or bark more when you are away. It is normal for your puppy to miss you, but if they make an excessive amount of noise or do it for an excessive time, this can be a problem. This can be a particularly big problem if you live in an apartment or a townhouse with shared walls. The excessive noise could get you fined, so you need to deal with it.

The good thing is that most dogs will grow out of mild cases of separation anxiety if you give them a little help.

The first thing that you need to do is not make a big deal about coming or going. This will only get your puppy worked up and then let down when you walk out the door. A simple goodbye will do on your way out the door. Likewise, when you get home do not make a spectacle of it. In fact, you should try to ignore your dog for a few minutes.

Also, give your dog a special toy that they only get when you are away. They will be excited to see it and forget that you are not there. Puzzle toys are particularly good because they take time to solve and reward your puppy with a treat.

Major Cases Of Separation Anxiety

If your dog has a serious problem with separation anxiety, they will likely be more destructive when you are gone. Their anxiety and frustration will lead them to chew on furniture and walls and to even try to escape. If you are having these problems, a special treat will probably not do and you will need to take a long term approach.

The goal will be to ease the anxiety that happens when you leave. Dogs pick up on your cues and they will realize that you are getting ready to leave your home well before you do so. This leads to a build up of stress that just pops when you leave.

To deal with this problem, try to not give your dog clues that you are leaving. Do things like putting on your shoes and grabbing your purse or wallet well before you leave the home. Say goodbye to your puppy long before you leave and when you do finally walk out, make no eye contact and do not say a word.

Gradually work up the time that you are away from home. If you can afford to do so, start with just a few minutes and then work your way up to several hours.

If all else fails, consider taking your puppy to your veterinarian. There are several medications that may help your dog get over separation anxiety. You might be leery of drugging your beloved pet, but if it keeps them happy and your home intact, it might be worth it.

General Tips To Ease Anxiety

  1. Walk your puppy before you leave.
    A tired dog is generally a happy one. Even a generally lazy dog such as a french bulldog puppy could benefit from a short walk before you leave. If you have a more active breed like a German Shepherd, you might have to commit to a long walk.
  2. Provide some background noise.
    Just leaving the radio on could be enough to soothe your pup. It may keep them from getting bored and it will disguise all of those little outside noises that set them off.
  3. Don’t get your dog worked up.
    Leaving the home should not be a big thing. When you are ready to go, simply leave your home without even talking to your pet.
  4. A treat ball can work wonders.
    A good treat ball can occupy your puppy for hours. Try to find one that they have to work on to get the treats, it should not be easy.
  5. Don’t give them any clues.
    Try not to telegraph the fact that you are leaving. Gather your things and get ready to go and then sit back down for awhile. This should help your dog from building up anxiety.
  6. Give them a scent.
    A piece of recently worn clothing can help ease your puppies mind. They are much more scent focused than we are and having something that smells like you can be beneficial to their well being.
  7. Train them to be in another room.
    Command your dog to stay in one room while you go into another. Work up from 30 seconds to 30 minutes over time.

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