What is the separation anxiety?
If your dog is not used to being away from you, it can be really difficult for her.
In some cases, she could develop a separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety means that your dog cannot stand to be alone strong>. Therefore, she starts to stress and can react in different ways.
Here is a list of various behaviors related to separation anxiety:
- Excessive barking, crying...
- Destruction of your furnitures (sofa, objects ... )
- Loss or excess of appetite in your absence
- Excess stirring at your return
This situation can be really stressful and difficult for the parents (and neighbors) who do not know how to cope.
How to act
One of the hardest things for your dog is to be away from you (when they are not proprely introduce to it).
Therefore, it is your job to teach her that it is not a big deal. It is only the everyday situation, 'you go', 'you come back', nothing dramatic, no reason to stress...
First, it is important to make your dog feel confortable by putting daily rules to structure her life.
Your dog will feel better supported and safer at home.
Your departure will rather sound like : "he goes out and told me to stay ?! OK, I get it I can wait." instead of "OMG! he is going out!! He is abandoning me!! What will I become here alone"...
Teach her basic tricks as ' Sit', ' Lay down', ' Stay ', ' Come '... This will give her the basics and help you later.
In most cases, it is difficult to work the mental of a dog without working his body first. A dog full of energy will be easily distracted and it could be hard to listen and respond to what is asked. So, a good walk, run or exercice before training is a great idea.
Once your dog externalized her excess of energy, she will be more relax and will listen easier.
Choose a quiet spot with no traffic to avoid distraction.
Teach her to like being in her bed, bring her in with a treat (or without if she does not need it) and reward her a lot.
Repeat the exercice many times a day at different moments and associate the word "Bed" for example.
Then, teach her to stay in it quietly. Make her sit or lay in her bed and ask her to stay.
Once she lays, move away slowly and calmly. Work slowly and progressively, one step away and if she stays, reward her then move two steps and reward... If she leaves, start back the exercice at the step before and make her lay in her bed calmly, without carrying her or touching her. It is her job to do not yours.
Feel free to hide little surprises (treats, toys) in her bed, this will make the training more fun and her bed more attractive.
Don't start the training right before an dentist appointment because this will probably take time and you need to stay calm and relaxed.
Discover some relaxation exercices on our page I relax(coming soon)
Once she stays in her bed, stay in the same room but do you own things so your dog can get use to stay calmly where you asked her to be.
Start by few minutes and increase the period then call her and reward her with treats, toy, game, cuddle...
For the next step, do the same exercice but leave the room then pretend to leave the house... Make sure to take your time for every exercice and always in a progressive way.
Go out-comeback-reward, Go out-comeback-reward, at first do it without waiting during each steps then increase slowly by staying out 2 seconds... 1 minutes... if your dog reacts at 1 minutes go back at 30 seconds...
This exercice needs a lot of time, consistency and effort from you but once this huge step passed you will be able to go to work without stress and your dog will feel way more confortable.
It is also important to teach your dog to not follow you everywhere. Do the previous technique at different times, in the garden... She is not your shadow and by repeating these exercices, she will understand that she does not need to be with you all the time and this will help with the separation anxiety.
Once again, it takes time but most issues can be solve. you just need to be patient and take control of the situation.
You can help her by offering her some activities when you are not home.
You can also use a crate. In many cases, the crate can act like a confort zone (if introduced the right way) but it can also increase the anxiety. Each dogs are different but they can been taugh new things you just need time and patience.
A lot think that getting an other dog will reduce the stress for your dog. In some cases it does work but sometimes it can happen that the new dog copies your dog and you have 2 "problems" instead of one. Plus, you must be able to take care of 2 dogs which takes a lot of time, money...
- Use tools that will reassure your dog as the radio/tv ON , one of your old clothe in her bed.
For a puppy, an alarm clock in the cover of her bed will reassure her because it will remind her her mother's heartbeat.
- Ignore your dog or put him in his crate or an other room about 20 minutes before you leave.
A simple "I comeback" is enough. Talking a lot to try to make her feel better could reenforce her anxiety because she may feel something is up. There is nothing going on 'You go, you comeback 'nothing dramatic.
- Do the same when you get home , ignore her/ leaver in her crate or other room until she calm down then reward her. After the reward, why not spend some time together to play, walk..., your dog will appreciate your training even more.
- Use a hormone diffuser or a rescue Pet product who can help your dog relax.
- Feel free to see a dog behaviorist to evaluate her behaviour issues and get recommandation to fix her anxiety.
- Go see your (holistique) veterinary , separation anxiety can be complexe and hide other issues. After a diagnosis, your veterinary will be able to give you medication/herbs/homeopatic drugs/essential oils... if needed…
NOTE: Medication only is not the solution. In some cases, the anxiety is so high that it is too hard for your dog to focus on what you are trying to teach him. In thos situation, you can (with vet permission) give her medication to help her relax a bit so your training can help her.
Your state of mind means a lot for your dog as he can get a feel of it, so it is really important for you to be calm, relax and confident.
Here is a list of different products you can use.
Feel free to clic on the name of the product, it will bring you to an area where you can get it.
The dog behaviorist/ trainer
“Tool” extremely convenient because he/she knows the subject very well and can help you apply the right methods without losing time.
The hormone diffuser (DPA)
This is a system that diffuse artificial hormone to calm the dog. Recreated by veterinarians, this hormone " the apaisine " is the hormone that all nursing mothers transmit to reassure their pups and remains effective for an adult dog. Totally natural, there are no cons-indications. Available as a collar, spray, diffuser to plug the wall and even tablet.
Bach Pet Rescue Remedy
It is flower essences that target an emotional state and soothe. There are 35 different flowers for different emotions.
Basically developed for the Human Being , it has been shown that our pets react very well to these natural products.
Therefore, a Rescue Pets formula, alcohol free, is reserved and adapted to pets'emotions.
Some examples to use Rescue Pets : in case of stress, before a visit to the vet or groomer, during a thunderstorm, a master of change, after a shock, fear, abuse ...
Use: Four drops directly on her tongue, a treat, a food or in the water. To renew, if necessary up to 6 times a day.
There are no cons-indications but do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian for advices.
The smart toys as Busy Buddy, Kong, KONG Extreme or Dog Activity allow your dog to have fun trying to recover the little treats placed inside which will entertain her while you are gone.
Dogs are crazy about these products and of course they can be used without moderation (just make sure you reduce his food volume to avoir weight gain ):)
The chewing toys as ropes, antlers, Goughnuts are specially adapted if your dog needs to chew. Chewing can help releasing some anxiety. p>
A clicker is a small plastic box with a metal piece. Once you press on this metal piece a click can be heard.
Famous tool in positive training, it is based on positive reinforcement, by rewarding the wanted behaviour (with treats, petting, toys...).
First, you will have to teach what mean the click. You clich then reward.
After some time, doggy will understand that the click is something good for her and will do what is asked to make it happen.
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