With the change of season and the kids returning to school, just starting school, or headed off to university, there is going to be a drastic change in environment for your fur babies. How you manage separation anxiety and stress for your pets is crucial to ensure that certain behaviours do not erupt from this change. Thanks for taking a minute to read my blog. I’m Chad Pierce, the trainer at Furbaby Pet Care. I can offer you some direction and suggestions for your pup who may be going through separation anxiety, Read through my post here, and see if any of these suggestions might help you out.
Separation anxiety is a catalyst for a multitude of unfavourable behavioural patterns that often can lead to families actually giving up their pets. Separation anxiety happens when a dog that’s hyper-attached to their owner gets super-stressed when left alone. It’s more than a little whining when you leave or a bit of mischief while you’re out. But there are plenty of things you can do to help.
Understand what causes your dog to act this way
Be acutely aware when things in your life change. Even the smallest change could cause your dog to alter its behaviour. Events such as:
- Being left alone for the first time or when they are used to being with people
- Change of ownership
- Moving from a shelter to a home
- Change in family routine or schedule
- Loss of a family member
Separation anxiety may not be so easy to understand
There are telltale signs however that will nudge you if your dog is starting to demonstrate different behaviour that point to separation anxiety:
- Excessive drooling or panting (look for wet mark on any surface they lie on)
- Having accidents indoors even though they have been house trained for a while
- Chewing or destructive behaviours
- Howling or barking
- Signs of trying to escape
Now, there are a lot of things that accompany anxiety that are not so clear. Have you ever noticed your pet get a little testier with new people or other animals? Or being a little more reactive than usual? This could be a result of pent-up stress and anxiety due to separation.
Addressing separation anxiety
First, talk to your vet to rule out any medical problems. Sometimes dogs have accidents in the house because of infections or hormone problems or other health conditions. It also could be due to incomplete housebreaking. Medication may also cause incontinence; therefore, if your pet is on any medication, ask your vet of potential side effects.
Some potential solutions are:
- Give your dog a special treat each time you leave (like a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter). Only give them this treat when you’re gone and take it away when you get home.
- Make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home.
- Leave some recently worn clothes out that smell like you, spraying their blankets or crate with lavender may also help.
- Consider giving your pet over-the-counter natural calming supplements.
If it progresses, and the symptoms are getting worse, there may need to be a more systematic approach required.
Some recommendations for you!
I would always recommend crate training. It offers that consistent safe space for your dog where it knows it can go and will always be safe. To start the crate training process, simply do progressively longer stays in the crate while you are home and then start doing brief stays while you leave the house completely. Make sure there are no negative experience in or around the crate.
There have been studies that have shown certain types of music aids in the relaxation of dogs; like reggae and classical music.
Make sure to never make it a big deal that you are leaving or arriving. It important to maintain neutrality in all situations when leaving your dog alone.
Contact me if you need some direction
I’m always available for consulations and training sessions. Keep some detailed notes about your dog’s change in behaviour and I can help you focus ways you can help your pup.