Pawsabiliity Dog Behaviour and Training
*** More Dog Training Advice and Notes Here ***

How to stop your dog's separation anxiety

Firstly, it's worth pointing out, that your question -may be about anxiety - but not all dogs who whine, how, or bark when you're out are anxious. Some are just bored or having a lark. The only way to find out is to take a video and have a look at it - or get a behaviourist to have look at it. There's no point in treating your dog's anxiety, if they're not anxious..... However, if your dog's separation issues relate to fear and anxiety, please read on....

Some dogs can be very sensitive creatures. Living in our world, and under our rules can be quite distressing for them, and we need to help them to understand and cope with our human world. If we don't teach them how we want them to behave in various circumstances, then they will try something out and figure out how to get the reward they're seeking all by themselves. Unfortunately, although these behaviours can sometimes be endearing or amusing, the dog may not behave in an acceptable way, and may well be truly stressed.

Stress, in this case, meaning, the anxiety of not understanding things, or indeed of having to do a stressful job which we don't want or require of them can affect dogs (albeit differently) as much as we humans are affected by stress.

Consider the following -

  • does your dog follow your everywhere inside the house
  • bark at the door bell or people passing by
  • eat the mail - and try to eat the postman
  • bite or snap at you, or other members of the family
  • bite or snap at other dogs or pets in the house
  • growl or snap at visitors
  • take you for a walk
  • run away from you when outside
  • whine or yelp at you for your attention
  • bark or whine or chew the house down when you're not home
  • chew the furniture
  • toilet in the house ...........to name but a few behavioural problems

How does the dog get the wrong idea?

Various circumstances can lead up to your dogs behavioural problems. Perhaps (admit it!!) you've over-indulged your dog - they've demanded your attention and you've responded. Perhaps your puppy was never left alone for a minute when it was young? Perhaps you have a rescue dog who's spent some time isolated in a rescue centre or kennel? Perhaps you've taken on a dog who used to live outdoors? Perhaps your family circumstances have changed - maybe you've just had a period of time at home when you used to be out working all or part of the day.....

Of course, the above list is not exhaustive and also, there may be many other reasons for your dog presenting any of the above behaviours. The best approach therefore is to contact a qualified behaviour therapist near your home who can help you determine the cause and therefore the best solution for your problems. Trying to dive in and resolve the problems on an adhoc basis will be far less effective than following a carefully devised behaviour modification program. Please also beware of suddenly changing the rules for your dog (such as ignoring then when you come home, for instance) - your dog may become quite confused by this sudden change, become even further distressed, and start to perform further unwanted behaviours, or suffer further emotional problems.

What else can be done?

Improving your dogs diet will most certainly help - look for a food which is free from additives and preservatives and is not packed full of sugar or salt.

And also look here for more Thundershirts, Lullaby CD's, and the Pet Remedy Diffuser to help to calm your dog.

dapGiving your dog some space of their own - so that you both get a good nights sleep can also help. This frequently needs to be handled carefully, otherwise, again further distress may occur. Products such as a Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) can help your dog to settle in a new place. Read more about DAP and other calming products here.

 

canac food balls, molecule ballsMotivational dog toys are also very useful tools to help your dog learn to enjoy their own company and to provide mental stimulation and help ease boredom. Read more about motivational dog toys here

clickers for dog trainingTraining your dog in a gentle, rewarding and effective way - such as using clicker training - can help your dog to learn rewarding behaviours, and then choose to perform these behaviours. Training, if performed correctly, will also increase your dogs confidence, and help him to cope with your new rules.

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