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Dogs With Separation Anxiety
Where are you going?!?!
My Daisy is a “nervous-Nelly“ , as I have said before, and I can tell you that scolding her is the last thing I would do to help her get over this. The whining and anxious habits that come with dog separation anxiety may be very annoying, but the best dog separation anxiety cures I have found have to do with being patient and consistent and providing a “security blanket“.
Daisy is just afraid to be alone. She was just a puppy when I got her, really too young to be weaned, and I’m sorry to admit that I spoiled her, so she is just way too attached to me. She finds it very hard to deal with times when I have to be out for the day, and I can’t even think about going away for a weekend. She just has to be boarded in that case.
Here’s how I knew Daisy was suffering from dog separation anxiety and not just being a regular dog:
- When I picked up my keys, Daisy would become very nervous, sticking to my legs like glue.
- If I put on my coat, she’d skuld around me anxiously and sometimes she’d wet the floor.
- Whenever I’d come back from being gone (even just to the store for a minute) she’d knock me over when I came in the door!
- My neighbors told me she howled the whole time I was away.
Of course, anxiety isn’t good for anyone, let alone dogs, so it’s a situation that I really wanted to get under control. I’ve heard of situations where dogs tear up the house, lose weight and actually get sick because they are suffering from severe separation anxiety in dogs.
Once I understood what Daisy’s problems were, I did a little research and put on my thinking cap to come up with some dog separation anxiety solutions. I decided to teach Daisy that having me gone was not always a bad thing and that it doesn’t last forever.
I started out by making the most use of her crate. She had used a crate as a puppy, but I had quit using it so much once she was housebroken. This was a bad idea. I’ve learned that you should always start out with crate training and then keep up crate use, even after the dog is grown.
I decided to make her crate a comfortable, cozy place to be by putting a good, supportive pad inside and putting a couple of favorite toys in there. Then I showed her to her crate, gave her a treat and went out for about 15 minutes.
I did this without doing the usual “I’m leaving the house…” routine. No keys, no coat. I just went outside for awhile and listened. She howled a bit at first, but then she settled down, and when I came back, the treat was gone!
I did this every day for a week and extended the time a little bit every day. After the first couple of days, I didn’t hear any howling. Now I’m able to leave Daisy alone in her crate for several hours without any problem. Of course, as soon as I get home, I give her lots of attention and take her right out for a walk. That gives her a chance to do her business and gives her something to look forward to when I return.
I think altering the “leaving the house routine” is very important. Now, when I am planning to be gone for a while, I make sure that my keys are in my purse in advance and my coat is ready to go. I might even take them out to the car before I start getting ready to go so that there isn’t any clue to trigger a dog anxiety separation attack.
Just keep it simple and follow these tips, you too, can have success managing dog anxiety separation.