3 Reasons Why Your Dog May Have Separation Anxiety?
- They haven’t learnt to be alone and followed you constantly at home since a puppy.
- They may feel you need them as much as they need you to be about constantly.
- Dogs love company as much as we do. They can be with you all day, this is not the problem. The problem arises when we let them follow our every move from room to room, even when we just leave to pop to the rest room.
How Would You feel If You Were Separated From The One Your Rely On Or Who Cares For You?
Bear with me here … Now if you were go out of the house and inadvertently lock yourself out and you have left your young child in the house, what would you do? You’d most probably try and break in, scream and shout and quite frankly be beside yourself !! Your toddler would be the same locked in the house without you. He depends on you and you’re not there, Plus you are in a massive panic and rather than thinking logically for a solution you are compounding panic in your child.
If we become needy of our dogs company when we can’t see them, then your concerns will migrate to your dog. If you are constantly looking at your dogs every move, you are engaging them constantly also. You are creating an issue. You look at your dog as you get up to walk out of a room, you’ve called your dog with you non verbally. The routine and behaviour is set. But easily reversable with patience and consistancy on your part,
So put it from the dog’s point of view, families do not separate and it is a human thing they have to learn to cope with.
You have to educate your dog and show him that you neither need him 24/7 and he doesn’t need you 24/7 either. Its great to be together but equally it is ok for you to be apart for short periods also.
You may be advised to crate your dog, this will mean your kitchen won’t be wrecked but the dog still has a big problem.
The important thing to remember is to have short regular separations.
But also you have to be able to move around a room without your puppy/dog from needing to follow you and stick to you like glue before you even try to leave a room. Do not be lulled into thinking by leaving a room for 5 mins regularly will cure anxiety with separation as for many dog 1 second away from you result is sheer panic and that panic will rise the longer you’re out.
A look and walk away is a recall !!.
Many dogs have severe separation anxiety and in order to correct this behavior, it would be wise to seek more help. I do phone and skype consultations if you’d like more advise. However separation anxiety is solvable, hand on heart and It doesn’t take forever, it takes commitment.
How To Cure Separation Anxiety In Dogs
Its so importnat to keep your dog calm and not entertain them all the time. Just to be is the greatest gift you can give your dog at various times during the day. We can get into the habit of over exercising our dogs to wear them out but this does have the effect of masking issues and compounding others
“Take The Sting Out Of Leaving”
In order for your dog to learn their brain so needs to be functioning perfectly. It’s mighty important to feed a species specific diet for super brain function
We first have to desensitise your dog to your every movement. In our lives, one moment we get up and go to make a coffee, get up and go to work blaa blaa blaa. So we get up to go somewhere. If you look at your dog when you get up, you’re inviting him to join you, let the poor bloke have some rest, each and every time you’re asking your dog to be with you, he’s no idea why, but you obviously can’t function without him, this is sending you down that slippery slope to a dog that can’t be without you.
You need to break those triggers that mean your leaving
Remember just because you do A doesn’t mean B will follow.
Remember. Avert eye contact and stop speaking to your dog whilst doing this. Looking at him is to invite him to join you in your chosen activity and you’d love him to rest and relax.
7 Points to follow for success in solving separation anxiety
- When you’re sitting comfortably (wherever you are) in the home, make sure you can move around in your chair without him/her reacting.
- Make sure you can stand up sit down, without your dog jumping to attention. Usually, when we stand up we are going to do something, well just stand up and stretch, then sit again.
- Walk to the sitting-room door and back.
- Rattle the doorknob and sit down, each time making sure the dog settles on your return – you may have to use a ‘Calm Hold’ or calm walk to make this happen.
- Then out the door for two seconds and return, and sit…each time not looking at or acknowledging the dog’s reaction. You are showing your dog that you can come and go without it having to worry or react.
- Increase the time outside the door by seconds at first.
- As you increase your time away (very gradually), if you have the facilities then leave by one door and return by another.
All this is done REMEMBER by averting eye contact and not speaking to enable your dog to feed of what you are doing, how calm you are and how calm you smell.
If your dog gets up and has trouble settling between your movements;
Then just bring the dog close to you and use a ‘Calm Hold’ until he relaxes and lays down. Then continue after a short time so he relaxes further. By doing this you are showing your dog that there really isn’t an issue. You are completely relaxed and therefore so can he. You will need a huge amount of patience and time in some cases, so stick with it and you and your dog will be rewarded.
If when you return from any of the exits the dog is overly distressed;
This indicates you have been out too long. Go back to the period of time that the dog coped in your absence and move on from there. You will get to a stage when the dog does not react to your movement and stays relaxed wherever he may be. Do not get misled that your dog can only be relaxed in their bed. Remember though, to use your doors so your dog doesn’t have the opportunity to follow you everywhere. You will be showing him that you do not need a bodyguard – you can look after yourself.
Shut doors behind you even if it is only for 30 seconds,
you’re saying I don’t need you with me. When you open it you are indicating that you can come in if you like. If you’re going to be needy and get your dog to be with you every step, then he will know you’re needy and he’ll end up needy to…so everyone is needy and no one gets a rest.
Exhausting Your Dog with Exercise Isn’t the Solution;
A long active walk may just be a quick fix for rest in the day but ultimately if they are anxious when you leave, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been for a walk or not, they will still be anxious.
Does Leaving Food and Toys Down Help?
Sadly not. Just imagine if you were anxious about someones where about, would you settle down to a munch? It may alleviate some dogs anxieties for a short while and keep them other wise occupied. However in general for the truly anxious the food will not be touched until you get home and they are chilled.
Also this is not a go to habit for me simply for the potential chocking hazard.
More Information in “Why Does my dog do that?” By Caroline Spencer
Tags: anxiety, separation