Separation anxiety in dogs can confuse you as an owner. Every time you leave the house, your dog starts barking frantically and scratching at the door. Every time you pick up the keys and put on your coat, your dog will start to get uncontrollable. While you’re gone, your dog will chew on your furniture, pee on your carpet, poop on your shoes, destroy your houseplants, rip your curtains, dig holes in your backyard—the list goes on and on.
Not only is this frustrating, but it can affect your life immensely. You may not be able to go on vacation or leave the house unattended except during working hours without worrying about your dog trashing the place or getting lonely. Unless you can find someone to take care of your dog, then your life literally revolves around your pet and that is unacceptable.
So what do you do about separation anxiety in your dog? The first step is to understand the two main manifestations of separation anxiety.
1) Anxiety: This behavior is manifested through whining, howling, rapid breathing and snorting, as well as uncontrollable spinning. Another key trait of anxiety is excessive chewing, on EVERYTHING. Walking along a fence, up and down a hallway, or near windows are other good examples of anxiety.
2) Insecurity: This type of separation anxiety in dogs usually manifests itself through urinating and pooping on the floor while you’re away, although this behavior isn’t just reserved for the insecure dog with separation anxiety (as in the case of a dominant dog). , which will continually “mark” its territory through urination) is the main trait. For example, if you’re putting on your coat and getting ready to leave and your dog automatically urinates on the floor, it’s unsafe. Another sign of this is when your dog curls his head back as you prepare to walk out the door to make it look like a “U.”
Now that you understand these two main factors of separation anxiety in dogs, the next step is to fix it, but how do you do it?
First of all, dogs are not initially prone to separation anxiety. Instead, they become anxious and insecure because of the way you, as the owner, treat your dog. The worst mistake you can make as an owner is to consider your dog your best friend, your baby, or your companion alike. No matter what breed of dog you have, even strays, the fact is that dogs are man’s best friend because they perform a service for humans, and humans reward dogs with food, shelter, and survival.
Due to this simple fact, dogs have developed an amazing ability to observe us humans. They know how we feel from our tone of voice and our body language and the energy we project. Simply by watching us they learn to control us. To get what they want, which is food, attention, and exercise, they will manipulate us. They are very good at it. The problem is that you, as an owner, give in too easily to your dog because of his feelings, but when it comes to dogs, feelings are irrelevant: there is only one leader and one follower.
Human feelings cannot be attributed to dogs, dogs do not feel anything. Dogs want to be told what to do and how to do it. Your dog is the follower. You are the leader. When you start tending the dog, the dog assumes an unwanted role: that of leader.
Many people, when they have a puppy or even an adult dog, are more concerned with how cute the dog is. Most people, when they have a dog, want some kind of companion, something to fill a void. However, dogs only see humans as weak when they think “you’re so cute” or “I feel sorry for you”.
What does this have to do with separation anxiety in dogs? All. Here are some scenarios that can cause separation anxiety in dogs:
– You let your dog sleep with you at night
– When you get home, you immediately pet your dog, greet him, feed him and hug him
– You never correct your dog because you think he is “bad”, because you think you are going to physically hurt your dog or hurt your dog’s feelings or because your dog is so “cute”. Also, even though you may try to control your dog, you do so inconsistently and weakly.
– You don’t exercise your dog for at least 45 minutes a day
These simple actions on behalf of you as the owner can cause your dog extreme separation anxiety. The only way to solve it is to be the leader. Never let your dog sleep with you at night, instead buy him a dog bed or crate and let him sleep in the hallway.
When you get home from work or being out for the day and your dog approaches you excitedly, don’t pet him, pick him up, feed him and cuddle him. Instead, have your dog sit down and calm down. Ignore your dog completely until he has calmly walked away. Then, and only then, are you allowed to give affection. This makes your dog less attached to you and more dependent on himself.
Anytime your dog exhibits what you consider to be bad behavior, correct him EVERY TIME, not just sometimes and not just when he’s upset. You should remain calm whenever you correct your dog and never do so when he is angry or tired.
Above all, exercise your dog. Exercise is the most important part of decreasing separation anxiety in your dog, especially when chewing, urinating, defecating, and barking. Dogs need to walk just like fish need to swim and birds need to fly. The problem with many dog owners is that they just don’t feel like exercising their dog properly. And unlike people, dogs can’t turn to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol to satiate their cravings, so they start chewing, barking, howling, and developing separation anxiety in order to release their pent-up energy.
No matter what type of dog you have, a brisk 45-minute walk every day, without missing a day, will help cure your dog of separation anxiety. As Caesar Milan “The Dog Whisperer” always emphasizes, “Exercise, discipline, and affection, in THAT order.” You have to exercise your dog, and then you have to make your dog do something to deserve your affection, which can be food, petting, petting, or anything else. If your dog is tired and disciplined and doesn’t have any excess energy pent up, then he won’t have separation anxiety.
Instead of wondering whether or not your dog suffers from separation anxiety and what to do about it, start by looking at yourself. Most likely, you are giving your dog too much attention, not giving him enough exercise, and rewarding him for bad behavior without any discipline.