Dogs and Separation Anxiety

Posted by Kevin, a Canine To Five Customer Service Superstar and Dog Handler.  Learn more about Kevin and our other awesome team members.

For many people, separation anxiety is a very real reality with their beloved pets.  Separation anxiety, or separation distress, is a disorder where a pet exhibits physical manifestations of stress as a result of being isolated.  Some of the things generally seen are chewed shoes, excessive barking or whining, and even attempting to chew through doors, walls, or crates.  These behaviors can be the result of a psychological issue, or the product of learned behavior in your pet.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to help resolve some of these anxiety-type responses in your pets:

  • Adequate exercise.  A tired dog has less pent-up energy that can result in destructive and anxious behavior
  • Changing up your routine.  Dogs are creatures of habit, cues such as grabbing car keys, or putting on certain clothes can trigger anxious behavior.  Little changes in behavior such as grabbing your car keys and sitting down to watch TV, or making dinner in a business suit can ease your dog’s stress level when you leave.
  • Make your departures calm and emotionless.  Many animal experts, such as Cesar Millan suggest a “no touch, no eye contact” approach when leaving and returning.  If you don’t make it a big deal, it won’t be a big deal for them.

Anxiety type behaviors can oftentimes be contributed to a lack of leadership skills and confidence in your pet.

A great way to improve these vital skills and to not leave them at home all day is to bring him or her to dog daycare.  Daycare provides your pet with adequate exercise, while instilling the necessary confidence in them to know that you will return every time that you leave

For more information about anxiety disorder or separation anxiety, refer to the following links:

http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/dogtraining/Dealing-with-Separation-Anxiety-by-Martin-Deeley

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/11_7/features/Canine-Separation-Anxiety_16044-1.html

http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/problembehaviors/5-tips-for-separation-anxiety

http://hspca.convio.net/site/DocServer/separation_anxiety.pdf?docID=401

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