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How to tackle separation anxiety in your pet

How to tackle separation anxiety in your pet

Does your dog become anxious as you prepare to leave the house? When you get home, do they erupt in pure joy? Did they trample your shoes, break the door, or eat the corner off an end table during your absence?

 Your dog might have separation anxiety.

When a dog is overly dependent on its human and is left alone it results in separation anxiety. It involves more than just a little whining before you go or some trouble while you’re gone. It’s a serious condition, and it’s frequently the cause of dog owners’ frustration and eventual surrender. However, there are many things you may do to assist.

Most common symptoms of separation anxiety

1. Barking and Howling

Barking and Howling
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When left alone or separated from its owner, a dog with separation anxiety may bark or wail. This continual barking or howling doesn’t seem to be caused by anything other than being left alone.

2. Urinating and Defecating

Urinating and Defecating
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Some dogs urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their owners. If a dog soils the home while his guardian is there, separation anxiety is most likely not the reason.

3. Escaping

Escaping
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When left alone or separated from his owner, a dog who suffers from separation anxiety may attempt to escape from a space where he is restricted. The dog might try to dig and gnaw through windows or doors, which could cause the animals to injure themselves by breaking teeth, cutting and scraping their front paws, or damaging their nails. When the dog’s guardian is around, his escape habit doesn’t happen if separation anxiety is the cause.

4. Digging, chewing and Destruction

Digging chewing and Destruction
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When left alone or separated from their owners, some dogs with separation anxiety may chew on things, door frames, or window sills. They even dig at doors, or destroy household items. These actions may lead to self-harm, including cracked teeth, scraped and wounded paws, and chipped nails. Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety are more likely to chew, dig, and cause damage when their guardians are not around.

5. Pacing

Pacing
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When left alone or separated from their owners, some dogs may walk or trot in a set pattern along a predetermined path. Pacing dogs can move in a variety of ways. Some go in circles, while others walk back and forth in straight lines. When his guardian is around, a dog’s pacing habit is typically not driven by separation anxiety.

What causes separation anxiety in pets

1. Change in Schedule

Change in Schedule
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A sudden shift in the amount of time or frequency that a dog spends alone might lead to the onset of separation anxiety. A dog could have separation anxiety as a result of a change in circumstances, such as when a dog’s guardian switches jobs and must leave the dog alone for six or more hours at a time instead of spending the entire day with him.

2. Change of Family

Change of Family
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Separation anxiety might start to develop if your dog is abandoned, handed over to a shelter, or given to a new family or guardian.

3. Change in Household Member

Change in Household Member
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Separation anxiety can emerge as a result of a resident family member’s sudden departure, whether due to death or relocation.

4. Change in Address

Change in Address
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Separation anxiety might occur as a result of moving to a new home.

How to help your pet with separation anxiety

1. Don’t leave your dog in their training phase

Don t leave your dog in their training phase
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The fact that your dog should never be left alone once the training process starts is one of the main difficulties in treating separation anxiety. Even if you are unable to be at home with your dog, you can still enlist the assistance of a neighbour, friend, relative, dog walker, or daycare centre to assist with the training process.

To protect the training progress, we are making, managing absences is crucial. For instance, if we train the dog to be content for 30 minutes, but the next day we leave him alone for two hours, we may have undone all of our hard work. He can no longer wait till his guardian returns before he becomes anxious.

2. Modify your “going away” signs

Modify your going away signs
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Use a separate entrance, put your coat on but wait 15 minutes before leaving, and put your shoes, pocketbook, and keys somewhere else. The objective is to prevent your dog from associating these behaviors with your departure and causing separation anxiety. Give your dog a treat or a toy to play with before you leave to keep them entertained. Dog calming treats are a temporary solution for separation anxiety. Additionally, they will help your dog develop positive associations with your departure and learn that being alone is not fearful.

3. Downplay the hellos and Goodbyes

Downplay the hellos and Goodbyes
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Avoid being overly sentimental when leaving your dog or enthusiastic when you return. You run the risk of increasing the dog’s fear of your absence if you pay too much attention to your leave and arrival. Calmly bid farewell and depart. When you return, greet your dog discreetly and hold off on showing your dog any affection until she has calmed down.

4. Don’t encourage Clinginess

Don t encourage Clinginess
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Don’t reward excessive clinging behavior. Instead, train your puppy to be alone in another room, even when you are at home, to help him gain independence. One such strategy for combating excessive attachment is to teach a strong stay. Start with brief periods of time; after your puppy can remain in the room for several minutes, you can start to leave. You should eventually be able to step away from him for a period of five to 10 minutes. Additionally, it’s crucial to maintain your composure when leaving or entering your house. Do not become overly sentimental when you greet your dog.

5. Crate Training

Crate Training
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Don’t reward excessive clinging behavior. Instead, train your puppy to be alone in another room, even when you are at home, to help him gain independence. One such strategy for combating excessive attachment is to teach a strong stay. Start with brief periods of time; after your puppy can remain in the room for several minutes, you can start to leave. You should eventually be able to step away from him for a period of five to 10 minutes. Additionally, it’s crucial to maintain your composure when leaving or entering your house. Do not become overly sentimental when you greet your dog.

Consult a qualified animal behaviourist who uses positive reinforcement training techniques if you require more help resolving your dog’s problems.

 

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