Separation Axiety in Dogs Tips to Help Them Cope

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Separation Axiety in Dogs Tips to Help Them Cope

by Mary Spies

Separation Anxiety in Dogs is a common problem and can be especially difficult for older dogs. Not only is it difficult for them, it's equally devastating to you. They are your special friend and your companion ... they care about you even when you have those bad days!

Dogs may become very anxious when they sense you?re about to leave. And, when you do leave, they may become destructive ? whining, chewing or scratching at windows and doors. A symptom of separation anxiety in dogs can even cause them to urinate or defecate on the floor.

Many dogs whine when you initially leave, but then they settle down. But, what do you do when they do not settle down and continue to be anxious the entire time you?re gone?

Tips to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Give your dog something to look forward to when you?re gone .. a favorite treat, a bone or something you know they?ll enjoy. This distraction can almost eliminate separation anxiety in dogs. If, however, the treat is still there when you come home, their separation anxiety may be more extreme. Many dogs will not eat when they?re anxious.

Begin with short departures. Determine how long you can leave your dog before he or she begins to act out as a result of separation anxiety in dogs. It may be only 10 seconds, so start there. Leave for 5 seconds, then return. If your dog has remained calm, it?s time for a reward. Gradually increase the time you?re gone, always returning before the dog becomes anxious. This could take weeks or months, so please be patient.

Don?t make a big deal about leaving or coming home. This simply reinforces separation anxiety in dogs. Try ignoring your dog for 20 minutes when you return. Yes, it may be difficult for you, but it helps teach your dog with separation issues to be more independent.

Practice "sit-stay" and "down-stay" as you move around the house, to keep your dog from following you from room to room. Do not forget to use treats to keep the training fun.

Make sure your dog is comfortable. The right temperature, a soft bed, sunlight, even some easy-listening music may help. Some dogs will be more relaxed if they can see the outside world, others may become more anxious. Some canines that suffer from separation anxiety in dogs may also suffer from arthritis. Be sure to check for those symptoms.

Break up your dog's day. If you?re gone for long periods of time, think about having someone come in to let your dog out and give him or her some exercise. Older dogs usually need to go outside more often to urinate and defecate.

DO NOT punish your dog if you come home and find there has been destructive behavior or a housebreaking "accident". Punishment never stops this behavior and will only increase your dog's stress level.

Think about kenneling your dog ? that is ... ONLY if they?re comfortable in a crate. Think of a crate as their bedroom, someplace they can go and feel secure and comfortable. This may reduce separation anxiety in dogs, and make it safer for them and your home.

LASTLY - Patience ... Patience ... Patience ... Rome was mt built in a day; helping to resolve separation anxiety in dogs may take weeks, maybe even longer! Remember, they?re just trying to tell you they love you and want to be with you! Could you ever find a better friend and companion?

Separation anxiety in dogs can be extreme. If your dog's anxiety issues can not be resolved with these tips, talk to your veterinarian. Treatment should always involve specific behavior modification that teaches your dog to accept your departures.

More information on dogs can be found at If you have an older dog, this site promises to be especially beneficial to you.

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