If you’re tired of coming home from a hard day at work to find out the dog has chewed your shoes and he’s reluctant to leave our side for even a second as you change, get dinner ready and try to relax and your neighbour is complaining that your poor pooch was whining all day long, there is a good chance that you need to deal with your dog’s separation anxiety.
All of the above are classic signs that your dog can’t deal with being left alone. After all, dogs in the wild run in packs- they aren’t solitary beings – and they need company to make them happy. The good news is that there are countless things you can do to soothe your dog’s separation anxiety and make life better for him, you and the neighbours!
Here are some simple tips to soothe separation anxiety:
Walk Your Dog Before Leaving
If you take your dog for a long, brisk walk, which is enough to tire him out and if you reward him with some food and water before you leave the house, he is likely to want to rest, and he won’t be so preoccupied with the fact you aren’t there.
Don’t Make Your Leaving a Big Event
If you feel so guilty about leaving your dog alone that you make a huge fuss of him directly before leaving, by stroking, petting and playing with him, you are only going to make his anxiety worse. You need to leave the house without causing a fuss, So, don;t talk to, touch or even make eye contact with your pooch in the minutes before you leave. Remain calm and don’t make a big deal out of it and your dog is less likely to get upset when you go.
Say Your Goodbyes Early
If you’re having trouble with the above, it’s okay to spend some time with your dog and say your goodbyes to him; you just need to do it well in advance of the time you actually leave. Just remember that you’re doing this more for your own benefit and to assuage your own guilt than you are for the dog. He doesn’t understand goodbyes, after all!
Hire a Dog Walker
Some dogs will benefit from having a dog walker come in and take them out for a short walk during the day so that they aren’t being left alone for quite so long, and so that they are constantly being worn out and resting. However, it can make the problem worse for some dogs, so a little trial and error may be needed. You can visit this page to find a dog walker in your area. Just ensure that anyone you hire is experienced, has references and knows the situation with your dog first.
Remain Calm and Assertive
If you feel nervous and guilty about leaving your dog home alone, it will rub off on your dog, and he will start to feel nervous too, which will only serve to make his anxiety worse. Remind yourself that it’s fine to leave your dog as long as you’re not going to be gone for too long and he is well looked after in general, take a deep breath and remain as calm as you can.
Work Up to Longe Leaves
If you’re really struggling to soothe your dog’s anxiety, starts mall.Leave your dog for just five minutes before coming back, then 10 and so on and so on until you can safely leave him for an hour at a time. Eventually, he will come to realise that although you leave, you always come back and this will ease his anxiety significantly.
Play and Audiobook or Leave the Radio On
Numerous studies have found that audiobooks, which you can find by visiting this page, and talk radio shows can help to calm dogs down and ease their anxiety because it is almost as if there is someone in the home with them. So, it’s always worth trying this out if your dog is having a tough time coping when you’re not at home.
It can be very distressing to see your dog suffering when you’re not there, but the last thing you should do is panic. Separation anxiety can and is often eased by doing all of the above, and your dog will get used to being left alone when necessary. Instead of worrying, start implementing the ideas above, and you will soon see results.
Have you dealt with separation anxiety? How did you soothe your dog’s stress?