Separation Anxiety is an extremely common problem with domestic dogs! Why is this so?
Dogs are a pack animal and their need to be near their pack is instinctual. Whilst we cannot change their instincts we can condition them to being left on their own.
One of the biggest mistakes we make which is one of the causes of separation anxiety is not conditioning your new puppy to being on its own. So often we get new puppies and spend as much time as possible with him, you may even take time off work.
I think it’s great that we dedicate time to spend with the pup but you should spend time conditioning your puppy for what you want in the future. Generally, the first thing people focus on is sit and stay etc. but obedience at this age is not as crucial as ensuring your pup doesn’t develop behavioural problems.
Contain your puppy correctly
The best thing you can do for your puppy is create distance in the home. I highly recommend a play pen and a crate. Both these will help contain your pup and prevent your puppy from over bonding to you and your family.
The puppy may cry when you leave the room but as long as you do not come back to her she will learn that you will come back but not when she is crying. Obviously, you have to ensure your puppy is safe in the pen or crate but generally they are just calling you back. It’s never nice to hear a puppy cry but what you do in those first few days can help your dog for a lifetime.
The added bonus of using a play pen or crate is preventing your puppy toileting all over your home. If you contain your puppy correctly and take him out at the right times you could have your pup toilet training within 1 or 2 weeks.
Do you feel trapped in your home?
Every week I see clients that feel trapped in their homes, their dog cries/howls/digs/destroys things/escape or barks every time they leave the house. What we don’t realise is that we have trained the dog to be near us all the time. Because we feel guilty leaving them we over compensate when we are back at home. Unfortunately, this is just adding to the problem.
Sometimes just putting your dog in the backyard and not allowing her to follow you around the house will help. I’m not suggesting you don’t spend time with your dog. I’m just saying it’s important that you help them understand it’s ok to be on their own. I would love my dogs to be with me 24/7 and whilst I would be fulfilled with that I would destroy my dogs ability to wait at home when I’m out.
Seek professional help for separation anxiety
If you think your dog is suffering with separation anxiety please seek professional help. Whatever you do, DON’T buy a barking collar this will make your dog worse and create other problems. Suppressing the problem is not the answer.
Anxiety in dogs is one of the hardest things to work with but with patience, persistence and hard work you can help your dog overcome it. Remember, there is no quick fix, the anxiety didn’t develop overnight so thinking it will disappear overnight is unrealistic.
Give me a call on 0488 908 048 to find out more about how Kats 4 Dogs can help you with your dog’s separation anxiety.