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Behavioural Solutions For Severe Separation Anxiety In Dogs

by Claire Gordon (follow)
Claire Gordon
Pet Care (148)      Pet Ownership (77)      Behaviour (46)      Dog (6)      Anxiety (4)     
It is common for many dogs of all ages to suffer from separation anxiety. This can cause a lot of concern for owners and even damage to their property. There are behavioural modifications you can do though to ease your dogs anxiety.

Image by Claire Gordon

○ 5mins before leaving and entering the house pay your dog no attention - DON'T make you leaving the house and returning home a big deal.

○Instead of giving your dog breakfast as normal, give him/her dry food in a large kong. Do this 5 minutes before leaving. This can keep your dog distracted and provide something to interact with.

○Leave an old item of clothing either in your dog's bed or on your sofa etc that smells like you to comfort him/her. Even leave your dog with a pile of dirty laundry (your smell comforts him/her as this is separation anxiety).

○React calmly to anxiety attacks. Remember the bigger your reaction the more he/she believes there is a reason to be anxious.

○Don't scold dog for any damage they may have done, he/she is already in an anxious mode and is behaving this way because your dog wants you to come home.

○Ensure your dog has "interactive" toys like kongs. Over 80% of single dogs don't play with toys when left alone. So ensure they are either interactive or bones your dog really enjoys chewing.
When home, remove these particular interactive toys/treats/bones. Your dog must see these items as a treat for when you leave the house, something to look forward to.

Sometimes medication can be appropriate for separation anxiety. However this should always be discussed with your veterinarian or veterinary behaviouralist.

Image by Claire Gordon

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