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Dog Anxiety: My dog cries before, but now no more.
Separation Anxiety: Your dog does not want you to go.
You got to head to work or head out somewhere without your only pet at home, your dog. You have had taken your dog out and had prepared his meal and fresh water. You start preparing for yourself, but your mind boggles you. You are worried. You wish that you do not have to leave without your dog. You feel pity (just look at that face). Then, it is time. You pat your dog and look him once and say, “I will be back.”
We all have emotions including our pet dog. Mood is a product of emotion. Anxiety is one of those moods. In my story below, my dog and I fall in the same mood which is “anxiety”.
My Dog, Simba
Simba is a cockapoo (cocker spaniel-poodle breed), our darling furry member of the family. He seems so much a little boy. His face changes looks, looking like human! After getting groomed, he transforms into a little boy. A scary thought, but it is true. He was a Christmas puppy in 2006, born to a medium cocker spaniel mom named Georgia and a toy poodle dad named Sam. His breeders are Ed and Dorothy Van Dyke of Owen Sound, Ontario.
I have treated him like my own, like a baby and that is my fault for the strong anxiety that we both share. Neighbours complained about his cries and constant banging on the front door of the apartment. We structured improvised types of fencing to secure him safely away from the door, but nothing seemed to work each time he was left behind. Simba got over his anxiety after he turned 1 year old.
I was battling the same anxiety each time I was apart from my little four legged love so dear to me. I would be crying and wiping my tears inside the elevator. I would turn the key but I cannot leave right away having my ear pressed on the door listening to him. It was heartbreaking! I walked to work thinking of my dog. I believe in mental telepathy, so I tried to let it pass but it was not that easy because I was stuck of being anxious myself. Thank God, Simba got over it. But was I over it?
I have the same anxiety as my dog.
We have to go watch Spamalot for a 1 p.m. slot at the Casino Rama, north of Ontario, a two hour trip up to the show, and another two hour drive back. I have been home for quite a few months now being unemployed and 99.9 percent being around my dog.
I phoned Monika to remind her to be with the dog. She said, “Mom, you told me that already so many times!” She asked, “How long will you be away?” I replied, “Maybe 6 hours the most.” She exclaimed, “Oh my gosh Mom, I thought you will be away for an overnight or two days. He will be okay. It’s just a few hours and Muffet (my younger daughter) will be home from school. Simba will just be sleeping the whole time.” Monika added (probably annoyed and witty at the same time), “MOM, Simba WILL BE okay. YOU are the one who’s NOT gonna be okay.” "Simba is NOT the problem. YOU are the problem." Then, she laughs. I said, “Okay, fine.”
With the car radio blasting, the wind blowing, and the fresh drive-by of the countryside did not keep me from thinking of the dog I left at home. The Broadway's Monty Python's Spamalot was hilarious! Oh yes, I forgot worrying about my dog in less than two hours. After the show and during our drive back home, I had to check with my daughters again.
HOW TO BREAK ANXIETY BETWEEN YOUR PET AND YOU (out from my experience)
1. It starts from you. Be the leader and act like one.
2. Women mostly treat their pets like babies. I do. The more we do, the more anxious they would become, and the more anxious we would become.
3. My dog tends to starve himself when he is left alone. He would not touch his food and water. I make sure he gets his meal first and leave some extra, and take the time to give him a few minutes walk and to relieve himself.
4. I lay out some of his favourite toys out of the basket.
5. I leave him with a new rawhide to keep him busy. It is his favourite thing. Then, I will toss 1 doggie biscuit treat on my way out.
6. Be firm with your words and voice. I look at my dog straight in the eye, point my finger and say: “I WILL BE BACK. YOU STAY.” One pat or a kiss on the head and that is it.
7. Just an option: Leave your pet some soft music.
8. If you have a house phone. Let it ring with a few rings. But do it only once.
9. To make you feel rested and to answer your doubts, you can put up a video camera to record what your dog does alone at home.
10. Arriving home, give your dog a quick pat, a smooch or a treat acknowledging for a good behaviour. Do not overdo, then, walk away. Ignore your dog for at least 10 minutes after you return. You can start to play cuddle with your dog after a few minutes of ignoring. Once somebody arrives home, our dog would start drinking his water or have a quick chow. That is part of his excitement.
11. Command or practice with your dog to “stay” for longer periods, rewarding with a small treat. This will become handy even if you are away for a while with your dog in the car.
12. Dogs tend to follow anyone at home whoever they prefer to spend time with. Keep to yourself while he waits. But give your dog some play time. They get easily bored like we do. Adult dogs can spend up to 18 hours of napping per day. Sometimes, they could be half asleep. Like my dog that is snoring on the floor tends to get up on his feet quickly when he is asked if he wants to play ball.
13. Give them the love they deserve.
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I have thought of a small joke for you: “What pet is happy to see you leave?” “A Parrot.” “Why?” “You'd say, "BYE”, he'd reply…”BYE”!