Most dogs suffer from anxiety, particularly separation anxiety when their owners leave them for a while. Such anxiety might manifest with symptoms like barking, excessive salivation, scratching walls, escaping from the room, whining and much more. Well, here is what you need to know about separation anxiety in dogs and how you can handle it before it becomes a big issue.
Different Types Of Separation Anxiety
Before trying to handle the issue, you need to understand it in depth. Well, first you should know that separation anxiety is divided into true and stimulated categories. When your pet lacks self-control or leadership, it is likely to manifest stimulated separation anxiety. On the other hand, when the pet feels stressed when the owner has left, it will experience true separation anxiety.
With the stimulated type, the dog acts badly just to get some attention. In some cases, the pet might do something terrible just to get a verbal reprimand because it’s rewarding to be noticed in whichever way. This type of anxiety can be overcome very easily with gradual approach, obedience training, exercise and presence of strong leadership.
What Are The Causes?
In most cases, dogs get separation anxiety because of the owners. Most people make a big fuss when coming or leaving their homes. As such, the dog’s concern for the owner’s absence is rewarded thus stressing the pet further when the owner leaves. Most people carry their dogs around when they are puppies. When they grow big, they are left behind, especially at an age when their need to socialize with their owners has multiplied. That’s because at this age, the owner is the source of confidence and security.
On that note, changing routines for your pet is one of the causes of separation anxiety. Keep in mind, stress and destruction can also be caused by lack of exercise. Different breeds of dogs are meant for various purposes such as digging, carrying and protection. Therefore, if you keep your pet from doing their naturally born function, you’re holding it back thus resulting in some boredom.
If you want to start correcting these problems, you should try discipline, exercise and affection. It’s prudent to create a good balance between confidence, obedience and patience to avoid any separation anxiety. You need to nurture your dog’s behavior to reflect an harmonious relationship between both of you.
Your pet should always have confidence in itself and in your overall leadership. If your dog has enough confidence in you, it can always be confident to be left alone in the house. Basically, your pet trusts that you will always come home and thus the separation anxiety will never come up.
How Can Separation Anxiety Be Prevented?
If you take your pet to the vet, he/she might prescribe some drugs to cope with separation anxiety. Yes, these medications might calm down the dog but they don’t cure separation anxiety at all. They are basically a quick fix to the problem. That’s why you need to treat the underlying cause to avoid the issue popping up in the future.
The best way to cure the issue is by starting when your pet is little. For instance, when he cries out when he is left alone, don’t pick it up or let them out of the crate. If you start rewarding undesired behavior it will come back to haunt you later. That’s because the dog will realize how to attract your attention and will develop stimulated separation anxiety just to get to you.
Therefore, right from the start, you need to teach the puppy how to be quiet or settled for long periods. The dog needs to learn how to be patient and calm. If it learns these habits, you can always reward it for that. If you carry the puppy when going out, avoid interacting with him constantly. Rather, you should bring some toys along and let the dog play with them for a while.
Also, you should teach the puppy how to accept and appreciate the crate. Make sure the dog explores the environment under supervision and learn all the boundaries in place. Eventually, it will gain respect for the environment and become consistent. As such, when you leave for work, the puppy will not get separation anxiety because it is comfortable without your presence.