Dealing with your dog's separation anxiety
Many people who have pets are quite often away from home during the day due to appointments and work. In these situations, our pets tend to get the idea that when we leave we may not come back, and some will suffer from a condition called separation anxiety. This problem is very common among many pets but particularly so among dogs.
Dogs are usually a part of a pack; they are used to being in a group of others by nature. When you bring them home they tend to make you and your family a part of their pack. However, the behavior can be one of a positive nature, when they are sure you are the leader of the pack, and one of a negative nature when they are trying to assert themselves as the leader.
Dog's like to know they have the love and affection of people around them. When left at home alone, dogs often begin to consider that you may never come back. This type of thinking leads to dogs getting frantic, at times destructive, and at times loud.
This separation anxiety can come for a variety of different reasons, there could be changes in your schedule, or it could come on if they are trapped in a traumatic situation. You may also find that this is a situation for dogs that have been abandoned and abused that you adopt from a rescue shelter, stray dogs that you and your family find in the street or dogs that were a part of a kennel. These dogs will usually be a little high strung and may spend a lot of time trying to get you to pay attention to them. If they do not get that attention they may exhibit destructive and often dangerous behaviors.
The dog that is having this type of anxiety will destroy your home, chew on your furniture and use the toilet all over your house, in addition to barking and biting episodes. All of these behaviors become progressively worse if the situation is not treated immediately.
There are many forms of treatment available for a dog with separation anxiety. The most important thing being that you take the time and use patience to help your dog with the feelings of panic they get when you leave them alone. Also you must remember if you should punish your dog for the destruction that happened while you were gone will only make the situation worse because now he believes that you don't love him and are angry and will be convinced that the next time you leave you really won't be back for him.
Patience and consistency are a couple of the most important ways to behave when teaching your dog to overcome separation anxiety. Try to learn new ways to calm your dog. One way you can do this is by just leaving the house for 2 minutes and then returning. Doing this several times will calm your dog as it will start to believe that you will in fact be returning.
Through practicing the techniques mentioned above, you will slowly be able to teach your dog that when you leave, it doesn't mean that you're leaving for good. Using a crate as a place of comfort and protection may also help your dog to feel safe. Lastly, its always a good idea to praise your dog and reward it for good behavior.