Separation anxiety is a powerful phenomenon. Humans have it, especially young children. Your dog is no different. Your furry best friend does not like to be left behind! Bad behavior from your pet may be puzzling. Many of us work and cannot bring our dogs with us. There are doggie daycare centers, but those are very expensive. Having a dog walker check in on your dog is also pricey. Psychology explains what separation anxiety is and how to approach it.
Like humans, dogs form attachments. You have likely trained your dog on household behavior, but when you are gone their anxiety rises. Destructive behaviors will start to show as you are about to leave or within minutes of you leaving. Trying to escape, barking, urinating, pacing, and chewing as all typical symptoms of separation anxiety. Change in routine or surroundings has been shown to aggravate the anxiety. This will lead to an increase in destroyed items. A newer trend is adopting dogs from shelters. While this is a great way to place dogs with new owners, you may not know the history of your pet. An abused or neglected pet is more likely to suffer from anxiety and act out when left alone.
As an owner, you are probably wondering what you can do. Counterconditioning is a type of pet therapy that attacks the fear in your pet. Over time, your dog will learn to accept whatever is bothering them. This method establishes positive thoughts with being alone, such as the scent of the owner or tasty food. The goal is to desensitize your dog from discomfort. If the anxiety is severe, you may need to consult a dog trainer or pet psychologist. Anxiety medications are also given to dogs by veterinarians. If the issue is severe, bringing this issue up to a vet might be the right decision. Training your dog to accept the sound of getting ready to leave will eventually help calm them. The dog needs to understand that you are not leaving the house permanently and will come back. If you can train your dog by leaving the room or house for shorter periods of time. Then, slowing increase the amount of time you are away. This will acclimate your dog to being alone.
Left alone, dogs are also more likely to get bored. Boredom is a leading cause of destructive behavior. There are lots of toys out there for pets. Some squeak, some are chewable, and others can be chased after. Puzzle toys and making your dog hunt for food will occupy their time. These will mitigate. Some owners report that leaving a TV on will calm their dogs when left alone. When you are with your dog, be attentive. An active dog that plays games, goes to the park and sees other dogs is likely to have less anxiety. There are even dog sport activities and other training classes you can enroll your dog in. In turn, they are less likely to destroy shoes, beds, furniture, underwear, and other items.
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