Separation anxiety is a common occurrence in dogs. When a dog has separation anxiety, they can’t handle being alone. If you do leave them alone, they can cause havoc by barking and destroying things. Dogs with separation anxiety have higher stress levels when they’re on their own, which causes them to act up. Luckily, there are many ways to learn how you can help a dog with separation anxiety and keep your pup happy while you’re away.
Properly Diagnose the Condition
First, you need to rule out other causes of their symptoms. For example, excessive barking can be due to incomplete training. Here are a few things to know when examining your dog’s behavior for separation anxiety:
- Visit a vet to make sure your dog isn’t suffering from incontinence or digestion issues.
- A young dog or puppy may teethe by chewing on furniture and objects.
- Barking and howling can be due to juvenile issues or a lack of training.
If your dog has no digestion issues and is out of its puppy stage, it’s more likely that they have a case of separation anxiety.
Make Your Departures and Arrivals Boring
Part of their separation anxiety treatment relies on your actions. You should be very calm and almost uninterested when leaving and returning to your home. If you’re too excited when you greet or leave your dog, it can worsen the condition.
When you come home, don’t immediately pay attention to your dog. Carry out a few basic tasks, and then calmly pet your dog once they’ve settled down. It’s all about making leaving and coming back as regular and routine as possible.
Take Them on a Walk Before You Leave
Before you leave for the day, take your dog on an extended walk. Let them tire themselves out by walking, running, and sniffing things. The exercise will also help to naturally reduce their anxiety. Furthermore, try to mix up the locations that you walk to with your dog. Exposing them to new sights, sounds, and smells will help heighten their spirits and lower their stress levels.
Give Them a Puzzle Toy When You Leave
There are plenty of puzzle toys that you can buy for your dog. They feature a treat on the inside, which is the perfect incentive for a dog to tackle a challenging puzzle. These toys usually take around 20 to 30 minutes for the dog to figure out. They’ll be so preoccupied while you’re gone that they won’t realize they’re alone. They’ll also begin to associate you leaving with a fun activity and treat, which can ease their anxiety.
If none of these methods for how you can help a dog with separation anxiety work, you may want to consider leaving your dog at a doggy daycare or with a pet sitter while you’re away. The exposure to other dogs and people will help your canine companion learn how to socialize and will keep them busy while you can’t watch them at home. Make sure to find a daycare or sitter that understands dogs and will give them the specific care they need in your stead.