One of the most common complaints from dog owners is that their pet experiences separation anxiety when left alone, even for a few moments. Separation anxiety can be anything from excessive salivating, barking or whining, scratching at the door or floors, escape attempts, or destructive behavior. If your dog exhibits any of these behaviors on a consistent basis any time that you leave him alone, you could be dealing with separation anxiety. Knowing how to deal with your dog during these moments can help give you peace of mind while you are away, and calm your four-legged buddy.
Before attempting to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety, first, determine if his behavior is stimulated or true. Stimulated separation anxiety is a learned behavior. For instance, if he acts up, and then is verbally reprimanded, your dog may delight in this act because he is getting attention, even if it was for doing something bad. True separation anxiety occurs when your dog exhibits real stress when separated from you. Make sure that you determine whether your dog is just trying to get attention or is actually experiencing stress when separated from you.
What is causing your dog’s separation anxiety?
The answer to this will vary, depending on your dog’s breed, their exercise level, and learned behaviors.
Take for instance terriers have an instinct to dig, retrievers like to carry, and certain other breeds may be more protective. These are natural instincts that you may be keeping your dog from doing when you separate. Also, there is exercise. If your dog has a lot of pint up energy, he may become destructive because he is bored. Destruction and stress go hand in hand and often are manifested from a lack of exercise and being bored. Your dog also could be getting worked up because you are doing the same each time that you leave. These type of learned behaviors are coming from how you respond in each situation of leaving and returning home again.
How to relieve your dog’s separation anxiety
Teaching your dog patience, and how to be calm from the get-go is the best approach, especially when they are a puppy. But, if you adopted an adult dog or you didn’t train your dog properly from the beginning, it isn’t too late to start now. It is important with any dog that you remain consistent and teach obedience right from the beginning. Allow your dog some downtime or time alone; you don’t always have to interact with him. This teaches him how to entertain himself apart from you.
Spend some time training your dog. Training sessions shouldn’t be too long but should take place often, not just once a week during a training class. You should be able to work his way up to teaching him how to sit and stay at the door while you remain absent for a few minutes at a time. Slowly work your way up to longer periods as your dog shows he can accomplish the task. Always reward your dog for a job well done. Remaining consistent, and encouraging good behavior helps build your dog’s confidence.
Dog Training in Morristown
If you would like to learn more about dog training or the classes that we offer in Morristown at AllDogs Canine Care Center, please contact our office by calling (865) 475-2225. We also offer dog boarding and pet spa services to clients in Jefferson City and Morristown.