What can I do to help relieve my dog’s separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is one of the most stressful experiences for dog owners, especially for people living in condos or apartments. Your dog barks (annoying neighbors) urinates (even if they just got walked) and they can eat or dig at everything. Today we will go over several ways to solve this problem .
Dogs know when you are leaving and that is what triggers the fear. Putting on shoes, getting your keys, turning off the television are all daily reminders you are leaving. This technique teaches you to eliminate those signs. When you are in your home pick up your keys but don’t leave. Sit down watch TV shaking your keys or do your daily chores with the keys . Reinforce your dog anytime he is not concerned you are leaving . The same works with your shoes or purse. Reducing the stress of leaving will make your dog much more calm and comfortable . This takes time and patience but worth it.
Make leaving time as positive as the time when you are home. Anytime you leave give your dog an amazing toy/ treat. Something they only get when you leave. A frozen kong toy with peanut butter is great, this is redirection . This allows your dog to focus on positive treats instead of the negative leaving.
If your dog barks at noise, people walking in the halls, or cars driving by set your dog up for success. Crate training is great if your dog is crate trained. Leaving the television on can also be comfortable if you watch a lot of television when you are home, it also can drown out outside noise and if your dog barks it drowns out that as well. Put your curtains down so outside observations don’t trigger barking.
All these solutions are positive reinforcement training. Apply all or just one to your specific dog needs.
If behavioral issues can’t be resolved even with an experienced animal trainer there are medical solutions as well. Calming sprays, calming jackets and calming medications.
I treat everything behaviorally before medically. So have patience with this problem and be dedicated.