Does you dog suffer from Separation Anxiety and what to do…
Dogs love us, if you ever find your dog staring at you then consider it a hug, If they bring you a toy to play with, they are not only after some fun, they are sharing something they value with you. To your dog, you are more than an owner, you are family and part of, and often the leader of, the pack. When you are separated some dogs will become distressed.
The distress might show in various forms, some dogs forget their toilet training, others will damage property, some dogs will attempt to flee and some dogs will just whine.
You’ll no doubt know f your dog fouls or damages your home when you’re out, but the flight mechanic and the howling can be harder to spot.
How to find out for sure.
If you suspect your dog has separation anxiety then these days it’s becoming easier and easier to find out. Simply set up a web-cam on your laptop near the door or in an area your dog is likely to frequent like the sofa or their bed.
Then all you have to do is watch the video either remotely or you can record it and play it back. Be careful, seeing your dog suffering from separation anxiety can be hard to watch so have the tissues ready.
Separation anxiety can be mild or terrible. Some dogs will have a little whine and then go for a sleep on the sofa, other dogs will sit at the back door and howl until you return. Dogs have no abstract thought they literally have no idea if you leave whether they will ever see you again, but like most other canine behaviours dogs can be trained to cope with separation anxiety.
How to train your dog to live with the condition.
If you have established your dog has a problem then help is at hand. Behaviourists and dog therapists are an option, but for milder conditions the solution is pretty simple.
Dogs often know what we are up to before we do, they are body language experts. They know the moment we put our shoes on or when we pick up our keys that we are going out. One simple trick to help them cope with these triggers is to change them. Have some treats handy, and then act like you are going to leave the house. Follow your routine, put on your coat, get your keys, but as you are going out the door, stop and give your dog a treat instead and then return to the living room and watch some TV. It’s all about breaking up the pattern of doom that your dog has come to associate with being abandoned.
Other techniques include making sure your dog has plenty to stimulate them when you are out. A peanut butter kong can make an excellent diversion, but you can simply scatter some kibble over the floor.
Also leave the radio or TV on when you go out. Keep the volume low because dogs have far more sensitive hearing than we do, but the audio can help them relax.