If your dog barks when you start leaving the house, than it is suffering from a mild form of separation anxiety. However if left untreated it can progress to a stage where your dog will wreck your home, make a mess or bark for hours after you left the house. It is important to cure dog separation anxiety at an early stage. The preferred method of curing separation anxiety in dogs is through dog training which will offer a long term solution to the problem.
What causes separation anxiety in dogs?
Dogs want to be part of a pack. Therefore, they will have a natural attachment to their owners. Most dogs will have some anxiety when you leave. This is due to certain actions that are missing when you leave. These actions can take the form of you giving them attention before leaving or a routine performed each morning.
Some dogs are susceptible to high level of anxiety when the owner is missing. The most like cause is behaviors that are reinforced every day, causing the dog to feel extremely anxious when you are not around. To cure dog separation anxiety involves reassuring the dog you will always come home.
Methods to cure dog separation anxiety
A number of methods can be used to cure dog separation anxiety. A brief outline of some of them are here:
Modify your daily routine – If your dog starts acting in an unusual way when the alarm goes off, it has associated the sound of the alarm with you leaving. This is called pre-leaving anxiety and you can solve this problem by varying your daily routine. Start by getting up at various times, getting dressed earlier, take your keys to the car and wait in the car for a short while before leaving.
Stop reinforcing behavior – If you pat your dog when you leave, or give them attention upon arriving home, you are reinforcing their behavior. To cure dog separation anxiety stop them associating your leaving and coming home with being attended to. When you arrive home do not give your dog attention for the first ten to fifteen minutes. This can be done through crate training or, putting the dog in a separate room and coming back and leaving at intervals. Upon leaving your house it is good idea not to pat your dog or, to give in if it starts to make noises.
Slowly leave for longer periods – Some dogs get agitated every time they see you going out the door. To cure separation anxiety in your dog in this case, start by going out for short periods of time and coming back. This can mean going out the door for a few seconds before coming back. Once the dogs see that you will always come back, you can gradually increase the amount of time you are out of the house.
Dog separation anxiety training is helping
Many people feel to cure dog separation anxiety through training methods such as the one above is being mean. In actual fact, you are helping the dog relax by assuring it you are always coming home and there is no need to feel anxious. Curing dog anxiety is good for the dog’s physical and mental health.
It important to take immediate action if your dog suffer from prolong and severe anxiety. In less severe case where the dog is merely upset by you leaving, you should still tackle the problem by training them not to associate you leaving with their survival.
source: Cure Dog Separation Anxiety