Are There Any Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions?
Boy, that is a question I must have asked a million times! Hard to believe that our Jake, the relaxed, without a care-in-the-world dog pictured below, could have ever been anxiety-ridden. But, it is so true and we’ve got the scratched drywall, chewed woodwork and destroyed hardwood floors to prove it.
Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions:
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- Make your departure as uneventful as possible. Resist the urge to hug, kiss and make over your dog in an attempt to soothe your guilt. This lets him in on the idea that something big is about to happen and he probably won’t like it. I’ve done this and it never ended well. Instead, keep everything as low key as possible. Pet him if you must but make it a quick pat and just move right out the door as if it is no big deal. You can cry in the car if the need arises (and I have.) Overcoming dog separation anxiety requires you to be tough.
- Leave lots of his toys about to give him something to amuse and distract. Be cautious of any toys you choose to leave when you are not at home. Leave nothing with small parts or made of material that can be chewed off and potentially cause your dog to choke. A good choice I like is the Kong Extreme Dog Toy. This toy is a hard, durable rubber. Your dog will love to chew on it and it also has openings on each end to hide treats for your dog to shake loose and enjoy. It comes in an assortment of sizes, shapes and strengths, to meet each dog’s needs. Also, an old piece of your clothing can provide some comfort to him. Your scent is one of his favorite things.
- Try crating your dog or confining him to a small room. Allowing him the run of the house can be overwhelming.
- Leave a piece of your unwashed clothing with your dog. Your familiar scent can be comforting.
- Start out with short absences. Try 10 minutes to start, gradually increasing by 5 minutes increments. He’ll realize each time that “Hey, they do come back!”
- Make your return as uneventful as your departure. Enter the house calmly and greet him but do not hug, make baby talk and generally display your guilt to him. After in the house for a short time, then you can play and have some fun.
- Be sure to doggy-proof the house before you leave, for his safety and your sanity.
- Another thing that proved to be effective to stop my dog separation anxiety is the ThunderShirt
. The shirt fits snugly on the dog’s body, creating a sense of security. The Thunder Shirt is also helpful for dogs with a fear of thunderstorms. It worked well in helping one of my other dogs to get over her fear of the storms.
It may seem impossible at the moment but take it from someone that has been there; dog separation anxiety can get better with a little effort. It’s worth your sanity and your dog’s happiness to try these dog separation anxiety solutions.