K9 Separation Anxiety

Posted: September 10, 2010 by at General

Some dogs just don’t like being alone, and become anxious and distressed whenever their owner leaves them behind. They may scratch at the furniture, destroy the cushions and defecate on the carpet. It’s not pleasant for the dog or their owner.

This can be a very difficult condition to treat, and you’ll need the assistance of a veterinary behaviorist. They can create a training program for your dog to teach them to settle when they are alone, and prescribe anti-anxiety medication if they feel it’s necessary.

You can make changes to your departure routine, and to your dog’s environment, which can make his “home alone” time less stressful.

Make your routine different every time you leave your home. You probably do the same things in the same order each time – put your coat on, pick up your car keys and leave through the same door. Your dog’s anxiety starts to increase when you begin this sequence, and rapidly escalates. By changing your pattern, he is likely to become less stressed.

It’s a very good idea to occasionally rattle your keys, or go out the door and come back in, or put your coat on and take it off again, even if you’re not going out. This too will make your dog less likely to react when you do pick up the keys and go somewhere.

When you come home, don’t immediately fuss over your dog. He needs to learn that your coming and going is not a big deal. When he has settled down, then give him a hug and lots of attention.

Your dog may benefit from a DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) plugin while you’re away. This gadget plugs into a power socket and releases pheromones which make your dog feel calm and relaxed.

While you are out, make sure your dog is safe. Keep him in a crate or a small room with a blanket and some favorite toys, so he won’t come to any harm or damage your furnishings while he is alone.

In Summary – Most dogs with separation anxiety do need medication and a specific training program to help them get over their anxiety, so don’t hesitate to seek advice from your veterinarian.