Separation anxiety, which is a feeling of being super-stressed when away from a loved one, is common among dogs. Especially our young canine friends, i.e., puppies, find it harder to stay alone. How to Protect Your Dog from Separation Anxiety?
Dog owners have to leave their dogs home alone to go to work, go shopping, or any other necessity. However, if the dog is stressed every time, it is left alone, it becomes worrisome.
How to Protect Your Dog from Separation Anxiety?
Canines who are suffering from separation anxiety will often display mischievous behavior like peeing everywhere, chewing shoes, acting out, etc., But don’t worry! This is normal among every breed, and if you train your puppy from an early age, you can successfully prevent this from happening.
This article will tell you about some useful tips for preventing separation anxiety. Let’s go!
1.Proactive Exposure, Training, and Socialization:
Experts believe that dogs who are exposed to various experiences from an early stage find it easier to get settles in different scenarios. Therefore, it is imperative to do proactive exposure training of your dog during their imprinting stage. At this early age, when the dog is below 16 weeks old, the brain absorbs these experiences and shapes the dog’s future behavior.
Some dog breeds are ready to be socialized at an earlier age than others; Some experts claim that most doodle breeds are ready for socialization from week 3 – 4, while some dog breeds are ready in week 2 or week 5. You must know the readiness age of your dog before you start to socialize them, as doing it earlier or later can cause lasting behavior damage.
Some pet owners chose easiest dogs to train, that helps them in many canine behavioral issues.
2. Create a Dedicated Space or Crate Train:
Crate training is the process of teaching your dog that a dog crate or cage is a safe place for them. Advocates of this approach argue that dogs are naturally den-dwelling animals, and therefore, they feel ‘at home’ and safe in den-like structures such as crates.
Trainers have found crate training to do wonders in curing separation anxiety too. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, training them to go to their crate or safe space can reduce that anxiety until you come back home.
However, it depends on the dog; some dogs take to it while others don’t. Dogs that are not fully trained to live in a house do not like crate training as they prefer an area where they can easily play around.
In such cases, you can use a confined area and block it with some portable doors. This space will let your dog play, jump, and have a good time when it is alone while considering it a safe space. However, do not leave the dog in this space every time. Do it only when you are not at home.
Furthermore, never forget to place all dog essentials in this area. It should have some safe dog toys, water, food, and a separate potty area. Now, you need to build a positive association with this confined space. For this, you can call your dog in this area and feed some favorite food or place the most favorite toys here. You can also spray the bed with pheromone spray to welcome your dog.
3. Let the Dog Stay Alone from an Early Age:
Dogs are famous for companionship, and many of them hate being alone. But if you have been working from home for a few months and now you need to go to your office, how will you train your pet? This sudden change will bring behavioral issues in the dog.
Therefore, make your dog habitual of being alone before such incidents. For this, you can set a schedule in which the dog stays alone for at least 1 hour every day. But, make sure to be kind and achieve this goal gradually. Start from 10 minutes and then increase the time slowly. This habit will also help in giving some space to you and your dog.
But this is not as simple as it sounds. You need to make plenty of effort. Moreover, try to develop positive associations with this time of being alone. Here are a few tips for this:
- Give some highly valuable toy to the dog only at the time of being alone. In this way, instead of becoming sad, it will become glad because of the toy.
- Give them a food puzzle and come back early before they finish the puzzle. Also, never leave the house in the early stage. Just go out of sight and notice how your dog is reacting.
- Do not forget to hide your favorite toy and puzzle after getting back. Otherwise, the dog will not give the same importance to this stuff.
- Set a goal of letting the dog learn that yummy and joyful things appear in your absence and disappear as soon as you arrive.
Now, you also need to combine these acts with desensitization. Here is how you can do it:
Here you need to cut down your pre-departure routine into chunks. For instance, wearing sports shoes, taking the keys, putting on your clothes, and getting your bag ready are a few acts that we do before leaving.
Do these acts in chunks. Like get your bag ready but then return to your routine work. Then after some time, wear your shoes and then come back to your room. This will stop your dog from associating such activities with your departure.
Here you will let your dog stay alone just for a few seconds. For instance, just open the door, go out, and then come back. Your pet will feel something strange but do not give attention. Slightly increase the time, and with this practice, the dog will become habitual of staying alone.
5. Act Normal at Arrival and Departure:
Just like our babies, these cute furry friends can sense emotions. So, try to stay as normal as you can. If you look anxious, the dog is likely to get the vibes. You can always say goodbye followed by a hug but try to act normal.
Similarly, you must be missing your pet and waiting to give a warm hug. But control your emotions and try to act in the same way as you behave in routine days.
6 .Physical and Mental Fitness is Imperative:
Never ignore that mental and physical fitness is essential for the overall well-being of your dog. Issues like depression and anxiety can never disturb your dog if it is doing regular exercise and having a good diet. But, make sure that the exercise is according to its age and breed. Always consult a veteran before setting up an exercise routine for your canine friends.
Conclusion: How to protect Your Dog from Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is likely to develop in any dog if you do not train it from the beginning. Therefore, plan a good routine for the little one. Use tactics like crate training, desensitization, proactive exposure training, and living in a confined space for becoming habitual of staying alone. With all these strategies, you can successfully save your dog from getting into separation anxiety.
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