How To Cure Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation Anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can cause major problems and destroy your relationship with your pet.
Separation Anxiety in dogs is among the more common conditions that dogs can sometimes develop.
This disorder, is defined as a state of acute panic induced by the dog's detachment from it's owner. For example when you depart for work, your dog is engulfed in a state of nervous anxiety which escalates very quickly.
Dogs are sociable creatures so they require lots of company and social interaction to keep them happy. Dogs don't like to be left alone for long periods of time, but some dogs react a lot worse than others.
These dogs are the ones most likely to suffer from separation anxiety. There are a various contributing causes to this condition. Some dog breeds are genetically predisposed towards anxiety and insecurity, which is something you should deliberate when determining which breed you're going to choose especially if you're going to be away from your dog for long periods of time.
A few of these breeds include Weimaraners, Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, and Airedales and a substantial number of dogs from rescue shelters develop separation anxiety.
Most of these rescue dogs have experienced significant trauma in their lives, they've been abandoned by their previous owners, and so they have little confidence that their new found owner isn't going to abandon them too.
Dogs that were separated from their mothers and siblings too early have a good chance of developing separation anxiety. Puppies from pet shops are a perfect example of this, they're generally taken away from their mothers well before the earliest possible age - 8 weeks, and detained in a small glass box in the petstore for anywhere between a few weeks to two months.
The dog's early weaning, along with the lack of exercise and affection while in the petstore, is psychologically traumatic for the dog. Neglect is the main cause of sepration anxiety in dogs. If you're away much more than you're with your dog, separation anxiety is really inevitable.
Your dog requires your companionship, affection, and care in order to be happy and content. The symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs are quite distinctive. Your dog will normally learn to realise when you're about to leave, she'll hear keys jingling, will see you putting on your outdoor clothes, and will start to become apprehensive and nervous.
She may follow you around, whining, quivering, and crying. Some dogs will get aggressive, to try and stop their owners from going out. After you've left, the uneasy behavior will quickly get worse and normally will peak inside half an hour of you leaving.
She may bark continuously, scratch and dig at windows and doors in a bid to escape from confinement and reunite herself with you, chew at inappropriate items, even urinate and defecate within the house.
In extreme instances, some dogs will self harm by licking or chewing her skin until it's raw, or pulling out fur, or will engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, like gyrating and tail-chasing.
When you come back, she'll be overly excited, and will jump around you in a hysteria of pleasure for a drawn-out length of time. This extensive greeting is at the root of some misunderstanding, without recognising that such a salutation in reality signifies the presence of a psychological disorder, some owners actually promote their dog to get even more worked up upon their return.
It's important not to behave this way with your dog, it's tempting and seems harmless but actually you're just confirming her belief that your return is the best part of the day, so she's so happy but, when it's time for you to leave again, her now exaggerated happiness at your presence is under threat, and she gets even more unhappy when you leave.
Give her plenty of exercise Really tire her out: the longer you anticipate being away, the more exercise she should get before you leave. For instance, if you're departing for work in the morning, in all probability, she'll be by herself for at least four hours, and, if you've got a dog-walker to take her out mid-day instead of coming back yourself, she won't see you, her owner, for at least nine hours so she needs a good, vigorous walk before you leave in the morning.
Distract her from her tedium, loneliness, and anxiety by giving her an attractive option to pining, pacing, and whining. All dogs love to chew, so bake her a couple of marrow bones for about 20 minutes, then slice them up into chunks of a few inches long, and give her one about 15 minutes before you leave. It'll keep her happy and engrossed, and will act as a smokescreen for your departure.
When you do leave, put the radio on to a soothing station: classical music is great, but any station having lots of talk shows is also ideal. Keep the volume quite low, and it'll calm her down a bit and give her the feeling that she's got company. If you can, provide her with a view: if she can see the world going by, that's the next best thing to being out and about in it.
Do things nice and slowly, practice getting ready to go, jingle your keys about, put on your coat, and open the door. Then instead of leaving, sit back down. Do this until she's not reacting any more. When there's no reaction, give her a treat and shower her with praise for being so brave.
Next, practice actually walking out the door but return immediately, again doing this until there's no reaction. Bit by bit work up to the time when you're able to leave the house with no signs of stress from her. Don't act too sympathetic when she's crying.
Although it sounds very cold-hearted, trying to soothe and comfort your dog by showing her affection is really one of the worst things you can do as it is fundamentally confirming her fear.
Be certain she can't tell that you feel sorry for her, so don't ever say, "It's OK, good girl" when she's upset. If you're interested in getting a more detailed look at how to deal with your dog's separation anxiety, you might like to check out Secrets to Dog Training. It's a great learning tool for anyone who wants to learn how to deal constructively with their dog's problem behaviors.
All of the common behavioral problems are dealt with in detail, and there's a great section on obedience commands and tricks too.
You can visit the Secrets to Dog Training site by Clicking Here