May 8, 2014 (Powerhomebiz.net) The term separation anxiety is often misunderstood. True clinical separation anxiety is not common. Dogs do undergo stress and anxiety in response to the owner leaving the dog home alone, in other words when the dog is separated from the pack. Dogs need to be properly conditioned to being left alone. Otherwise, behaviors such as barking, destructiveness, escape attempts, and even housebreaking accidents may occur. Giving a dog too much, or the wrong type of attention can lead to such stress related behaviors.
– Petting the dog too much for merely existing or excessive cuddling as this creates too much of a void when dog is alone.
– Allowing the dog to sleep in your bed before behavior issues are resolved
– Petting and playing with the dog when they demand it
– Petting to calm the dog down when it is scared, stressed, angry, etc.
– Enthusiastically greeting the dog upon awakening or arriving home. Best to greet dog with less of a greeting you give adult residents. This will also help address jumping on you or visitors upon arrival.
Such inappropriate actions can make the dog too dependent and create neediness. This neediness cannot be fulfilled when the dog is alone. If the dog is experiencing stress when left alone, it will do things that he/she should not do.
It is important to keep a balance, so that the dog does not feel as alone when you are gone. Below are some suggestions for easing the dog’s stress. It is imperative that a dog receives positive, quality attention. Dogs are social creatures and need play time. It is important that the owner set the beginning and end time for the game. The dog should not demand that the game be played. Have a specific fetch toy and take it out only when it is time to play. If a dog is good for 6 fetches, stop at 4. Gradually add a repetition on each day until the dog will do 3 dozen back and forth. Put the toy away when the game is over. This will ensure that the dog stays motivated and doesn’t lose or destroy the toy. Have chew toys for the dog when not playing. Do not play fetch with dog’s chew toys as that’ll reinforce the dog demanding play at the wrong times. Controlling when to and what to play
with will put you in the role of leader as well as prevent dominance issues.
Diet, walks, and the home environment also play a role in preventing stress in the dog:
– Feed the dog twice per day. This will satisfy the dog as well as prevent possible mood swings due to possible low blood sugar.
– Calmly walk the dog twice a day for 30 minutes. On the walks, you can also include some basic obedience training. Take tiny soft treats and lure the pup/dog to sits and downs. This also encourages the dog to keep their focus on you. Treats are ok for a start but they eventually need to be faded out and the dog work for your approval with treats as a random bonus.
In the home environment when dog’s alone, be sure to leave the radio on for the dog. It’ll buffer outside noises and make the house seem less empty. Stick to an easy listening station so as not to excite the dog. Also leave a light on if it will be getting dark. Lastly, maintain a calm presence around the dog the last 30 minutes before you leave the house so as not to excite the dog and possibly induce stress. Don’t forget. To put pooch out for a quickie before leaving. These are all preventive measures. If you cannot resolve separation problems, seek professional help.
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