Best Ways Of Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety


Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety

So you think your dog may have an anxiety problem.

Firstly, relax. You should know that although it can be extremely annoying, it is not uncommon for a dog to experience some type of separation-related anxiety at some stage in his life.

Please don’t make the common mistake many people make and get upset with your poor dog. While it is understandable that you would be frustrated, the poor dog is having a hard enough time as it is. You need to learn how to deal with the behaviors associated with his anxiety and how to use your dog’s natural instincts to rid him of this potentially dangerous behavior.

Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety

Identifying Separation Anxiety

How to tell if you have a potential problem on your hands

It is important to make sure you are actually dealing with a case of separation anxiety. There are specific behaviors that dogs who are experiencing anxiety would exhibit. You can regard these as the signs and symptoms of your dog’s separation anxiety. These signs and symptoms can and should be, distinguishable from the behaviors he would demonstrate if he is bored.

Take some notes as to what you see your dog is doing. One of the reasons separation anxiety is so hard to treat and even harder to diagnose is that it takes place while you are out of your home. You can, however, gain valuable information by just sitting outside your home, near the door and listening.

Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety

Check off any of the following behaviors you see in your dog:

  • Immediate barking or whining as soon as you shut the door.
  • Whining that eventually becomes barking over the course of 5-10 minutes.
  • Relieving himself when you are gone, each time you leave. It’s important to note if this takes place in many areas of the house.
  • He chews on your personal belongings. Not just anything, but specifically your items.
  • Destruction of items close to the door, including the door itself, the molding around the door and the floor next to the door. Look for signs of scratching and biting.
  • Your dog is wild with delight when you get home. (And this wild behavior lasts for more than 5 minutes after you are home.)
  • He notices when you go through your routine of preparing to leave the house and shows signs of anxiety.
  • Your dog is always by your side, pressing you for attention. (Not simply following you around but actually pressing against you for attention).
  • He is still uneasy even if there is someone else at home.
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He doesn’t have to fit every point but if you can tick off three or more you probably have a problem.

Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety

Dealing with it

Taking the first steps

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Very wise words. It may feel like you have a thousand mile journey lying ahead but once you have taken the first steps and have started seeing positive results you will realize the journey may be a lot shorter than you think! Separation anxiety is not hard to treat, it’s hard to identify. If you have never dealt with it before it may seem like a huge problem. Rest assured it’s not hard to treat once you know how.

Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety

The first thing you should do is take a few steps to reduce the level of anxiety your dog is suffering from.

I found a good start is to address his anxiety before you even leave the house. As soon as he starts exhibiting any of the telltale signs that he is getting anxious when you start getting your house keys and coat ready, then make a point of putting your coat on, getting your keys ready and then sitting down with him for a while. Watch television or give him a toy with some of his favorite treats inside. He will have forgotten that you have started leaving and will concentrate on getting the treats out of the toy.

This way he won’t immediately associate you putting on your coat with being left alone, and you will start breaking down the patterns that create his anxiety.

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Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety

You can also try going out of the door, staying away for five or ten minutes and then coming back in. When he exhibits delirious joy at seeing you – and THIS is a hard one – do not make a fuss over him. Rather, just ignore the fuss he makes. Treat him as you normally do and he will start to realize that you going out of the door and staying away is normal. More importantly, he will realize that you will come back, sometimes quite quickly.

Dealing With Puppy Separation Anxiety

I want to point out that you need to have compassion for your dog. Just imagine your worst nightmare. He experiences this every day, for hours on end. In fact, he experiences this all the time you are not at home. Once you realize the extent of his relief at finally not having to be alone with his anxieties and terrors anymore, it isn’t much of a surprise that he is so ecstatically happy to see you.

It’s important to tackle this problem now. Mild anxiety WILL turn into major anxiety. Immediate Action is Required.

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