How to Deal with Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Nervous dogs or overly anxious dogs, often exhibit anxiety when left alone. This can manifest itself as barking or whining, chewing furniture or other items in the house, jumping at and destroying window treatments like blinds, or simply cowering away somewhere it feels more protected. The general term is separation anxiety, and can affect many animals and even humans. Do you have a dog with separation anxiety? If so, you may wonder how to fix it. Separation anxiety is something we work with daily at our Off Leash K9 Raleigh Durham. It is generally caused by lack of confidence and not feeling secure. In our Dog Training Durham, NC sessions, we can show you how to gradually correct separation anxiety and in the process make a happy, well-adjusted dog which is a pleasure to own instead of a liability.
If a dog is properly trained from birth, then you are unlikely to have any problem with separation anxiety. It is a learned behavior. As with any learned behavior, it is possible to correct if you are prepared to put in the effort. Every dog is slightly different and requires slightly different approaches to the separation anxiety problem. Some dogs get anxious as soon as the owner is out of their line of sight. Some are okay as long as there is a person somewhere in the house. Still others only become stressed after a certain amount of time has passed. Furthermore the behavior of the owner when leaving can significantly stimulate anxiety. Consequently, eliminating this problem is as much about training owners as it is about dog training. The symptoms of separation anxiety vary but in all cases, the same basic principles apply, though the way they are best applied require expert assessment. This is why you need advice from experienced trainers to help you through this.
A few tips:
Generally, dogs with separation anxiety need more separation. This means start desensitizing them to being left alone. How? Put them in their crate or in another room all throughout the day, even when you are still home, starting with short periods of time and increasing the length of time as they get better and better. The objective is to get them accustomed to being alone and separated throughout the day while you are still in the home and able to control the situation. Also, try to make it a positive experience, such as giving them a favorite toy or treat. Last, and probably the most important part, SEEK TRAINING. Yep! You read that right… obedience training is key as this is what builds your dog’s confidence. As I said before, separation anxiety stems from nervous or anxious dogs who lack confidence and a sense of security. Obedience training will help build healthy confidence in your dog and will actually make them feel more secure which helps aid against separation anxiety.