What Is Canine Separation Anxiety?
Canine Separation Anxiety is indeed a natural panic response for being away from the owner even for a short period of time.
Unable to cope with canine separation anxiety is one of the most common complaints of dog owners and in most cases, they are not aware of what it is.
This behaviour is distressing for the puppy and its owner and happens when a dog is left alone. It happens more often to a dog or puppy that is overly dependent on his owner.
It isn’t just a bit of anxiety where the dog whines when you leave him alone. Nor or a bit of mischief or attention-seeking while you’re out.
Instead, it’s a severe and distressing condition that will often lead to the reason many new dog owners getting rid of the animal. The owners become frustrated and are unable to cope with the trauma.
What can you do to relieve Canine Separation Anxiety?
First off, don’t give up on your new puppy too soon and miss out on many years of unconditional love and companionship.
There are plenty of things you can do to help, but they all take patience and commitment. To begin, you will need to understand what causes your dog to act this way:
Reasons for canine separation anxiety include the following:
- The first time your puppy is left alone.
- If his ownership has changed
- When your puppy has been used to the company.
- Moving from a shelter to a private home
- Change in the family routine or schedule
- Loss of a family member
- Your puppy has little or no confidence.
What happens when a puppy reacts to Canine separation anxiety?
- He may howl, whine and bark excessively.
- Soiling indoors with “accidents” even though he is housebroken
- He may indulge in destructive Chewing, digging, ripping up carpets, scratching at windows, doors, and walls.
- A puppy or dog will drool, pant and salivate when experiencing canine separation anxiety.
- They may pace, often in an obsessive pattern and appear frightened.
- May also try to escape from their environment.
- He’ll show sign of being stressed, even under normal conditions
Exhibiting extreme behaviour
Often a puppy will not exhibit this extreme behaviour if you are around and insight. An overly dependent dog will get comfort from knowing you’re nearby. Occasionally dogs will, especially when they are young and unsure of themselves exhibit this type of behaviour. A dog suffering from separation anxiety will do them nearly all the time.
How to help your puppy?
First, talk to your vet to rule out any medical problems. Dogs will often have accidents in the house if they’re suffering from infections or hormone problems or other health conditions. It also could be due to incomplete housebreaking. If your dog takes any drugs, ask your vet if they are to blame, as Some medications can cause accidents.
If the Separation anxiety Problem Is Mild
Make sure your puppy has somewhere he can feel safe, a type of comfort zone. A doggie sanctuary can be in the form of a quiet den, a room with a comfortable bed or a dog crate, all with access to water.
Using a crate is useful for short-term confinement when you cannot supervise your puppy—or for keeping him out of mischief when you’re not around. Check out how to use a dog crate here.
Right from the outset, when you are home, regularly confine your pup for “little quiet moments” in his dog crate to teach household manners and imbue confidence. Then your dog can look forward to enjoying a lifetime with the full run of your house, whether you are home or not.
Teach Your Puppy to Enjoy His Doggy Den
- Start by giving your dog a special treat each time you leave him alone in his comfort zone (like a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter). At first, only leave you puppy for a short time – about 15 minutes. Only give your puppy a treat if you disappear from his sight.
- Increase the time you leave your puppy alone, but make sure he has proper toilet breaks.
- Some puppies respond to soothing music or the sound of a radio.
- Each time you return to him, don’t make a lot of fuss, but still, praise him with a calm ‘good boy.’
- Make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home.
If the Problem of Canine Separation Anxiety Is More Serious
A dog with severe canine separation anxiety won’t be distracted by even the tastiest treats. You’ll need to get your puppy to respond and to get used to your absence over some time.
Preparing dogs for inevitable periods of solitary confinement—and explicitly teaching them how to occupy their time when left at home alone—is the most pressing humane consideration for any new puppy. Every dog requires some form of enjoyable occupational therapy.
Chewing is the most accessible and most enjoyable solution to keeping a dog occupied. To prevent your dog from chewing indiscriminately, you’ll need to provide some form of a chew toy.
Your puppy may start getting nervous when he sees signs you’re about to leave. He’ll know you start putting on your shoes or picking up your keys.
So, the trick is to do those things, but then don’t go. Put on your shoes and then sit down at the table. Pick up your keys and watch TV. Do this over and over many times a day. Your dog should start to get less and less anxious as you perform these tasks.
When your dog starts to feel less anxious about that, you can slowly begin to disappear. First, go on the other side of the door. Ask your dog to stay ( use the command ‘stay’ even if your puppy is in a crate) then close an inside door between you. Reappear after a few seconds. Slowly increase the amount of time you’re gone. Put on your shoes and pick up your keys. Ask your dog to stay while you go into another room.
The stay game
As your puppy or dog starts to get used to the “stay game,” increase the amount of time you’re gone. Then use an outside door, but not the same one you go out every day. Make sure your dog is relaxed before you leave.
Only you can tell if your dog is ready to be left alone for more extended periods. Don’t rush things. Ensure you leave something like a stuffed chew toy to occupy your puppy’s mind when you’ve built up to 10 seconds or so apart. Always act calm when you leave, and when you return.
Continue the training
To relieve canine separation anxiety, you’ll to continue the training. Gradually build up the time until you can leave the house for a few minutes. Then stay away for longer and longer periods, until you’re satisfied, your puppy is happy with your absence. Be aware, this will not happen overnight and will require all your patience and commitment.
Reducing the risk of canine separation anxiety
Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercises every day. A tired, happy dog will be less stressed when you leave.
It’s also vital that you challenge your pet’s mind by using interactive doggie puzzles. Playing Hide and seek and using training methods hidden in play are all ways to keep your puppy happy and alert. Dogs are intelligent creatures, so work your puppy’s mind and body within fun games. When a puppy or dog has had a busy time and is happy and tired, there’ll be little time for canine separation anxiety in your absence.
A well-trained dog is a joy to have, but getting to that comfortable stage isn’t always easy, especially if you need to leave your dog for long periods.
So what is the solution?
Time, a bucket full of patience and a shed load of commitment on your part, and I’ll guarantee you’ll reap the rewards.
Your new puppy or dog will require all your love and understanding, especially when things don’t quite go to plan. Never shout at your puppy and never smack or hurt him, if you do, you’ll lose his trust.
Your puppy needs lots of attention, companionship, education, and play, even if you’re out at work all day. So, you will need to make time to meet his needs and gain his trust.
Teaching your puppy how to entertain himself appropriately (not chewing your best shoes) is vital. Your puppy must learn how to enjoy the time when left at home alone; otherwise, a social vacuum can be a very lonely place.
Canine separation anxiety will become a thing of the past for your dog or puppy once he understands you will be coming back. No more anxiously watching you for any sign of ‘abandonment’ and no having to stay in a crate either. Freedom is a beautiful thing, especially for the dog that can now enjoy the free range of your house and garden for the rest of his life.
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