Preventing separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a group term to describe behaviour issues surrounding the dog being separated from their owners or individuals such as other dogs in the house. This can be more complicated then just your dog worried about being separated from you as an owner.

A large proportion of separation anxiety is down to the dogs needs not being met, frustration and a routine that isn’t suitable. This is not something that I can cover in a blog post so please chat to me as just these simple changes can make a big difference.

In this blog post I’ll talk about how to prevent separation anxiety becoming a problem.

Desensitise your dog to your arrival and leaving routine. A large proportion of separation anxiety comes down to the process of arriving or leaving being exciting or worrying. As you would with all desensitisation it is about making this process boring through repetition beginning with simply walking to the door and returning and progressing to leaving for a few seconds and then a few minutes. Try not to fuss your dog as you come back in the room - the goal is boring.

After your dog can be left alone for 10 minutes you can introduce a boredom buster. This could be something like a lick it mat or a kong. The reason you don’t want to do this at the beginning is it could become a cue for you leaving and will distract them from the process of you leaving - this sounds like a good thing but remember the goal that you leaving = nothing to worry about.

Teach your dog to enjoy spending time alone. One of the best ways to do this is to actively encourage them to choose to leave you. Tie a chew or kong to something safe and sturdy in a set place of relaxation (a training pen or near a crate or bed). Show your dog the object and give them the option to walk away from you to enjoy the enrichment. Slowly over time increase the distance they have to move away from you from a few feet to another room.

Leave your dog in a area where they are not stimulated - quiet and calm, warm, play some quiet music

Get a baby monitor or dog camera to monitor their behaviour to see if you are moving too quickly and if they are responding well

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