Separation Anxiety in Your Pet


One of the greatest joys of dog ownership is the tight bond we experience and encourage with our dogs. However, if your dog becomes too reliant or dependant on you, dog separation anxiety can develop. From your dog's perspective, you are the most important thing in his life. If your dog had a choice he would spend every waking second of his time with you. So it's only natural that when you go out, your dog can experience varying degrees of distress and anxiety. He becomes confused, vulnerable, doesn't know where you are going, why he can't be with you and he panics that you will not be coming back to him.

dog sufering separation anxiety

Dog Separation Anxiety is an enormous problem to an estimated 10% of all puppies and older dogs. It can be a very difficult and time consuming problem to turn around.

These dog calming products have been proven to help dogs suffering from separation anxiety. They can bring about a degree of calm that will certainly help a fretting dog, although it's unlikely that these products alone will solve the problem. A combination of dog calming products plus the steps outlined below has a much higher chance of success.

Punishment is never the answer to treating dog separation anxiety!

The procedure below is that described by Chris Smith on his website http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com when curing his Dalmation, Harry of his separation anxiety.

Step 1

Since Harry was always by my side when I was home I had to slowly teach him that he didn't always need to be close to me. I started out by ignoring his attention seeking behavior (jumping up, barking etc.) and then did some solid practice of his down stay. Little by little we extended the time and distance we spent apart, until he was happy to be alone for up to 30 minutes. Of course, we still spent lots of fun time together.

Step 2

The next step was to get him used to being outside when I was inside. Again we started off with very small periods apart and gradually lengthened the time over a couple of weeks. If you try this Separation Anxiety treatment make sure that you don't just leave your dog outside to get all worked up and stressed. The trick is to start out leaving your dog out for a few seconds, then going out and reuniting before he shows any signs of Separation Anxiety. Give your dog a treat or dog toy to keep his mind off missing you. Only initiate contact with your dog when he is calm and quiet.

Step 3

The next step in fixing Harry's Separation Anxiety problem was to eliminate the distress caused by me getting ready to leave the house for work. What I did was write a list of all the triggers that started Harry's anxiety. I then set about desensitizing him to these triggers. I'd put my shoe's on, and not go anywhere. Put my coat on, then sit down to read the paper. Pick up my car keys and just carry them around with me, jangling along as I went about my business. After a while (about 3 weeks) Harry barely offered a sideways glance at my shenanigans.

Step 4

When Harry was completely calm in situations that would have unsettled him in the past, I left the house. At first I just stepped outside, shut the door and came back inside within 20 seconds - before he made a sound. Again this was a slow process, similar to step 2. I extended the time outside the front door and then graduated to starting the car, then driving around the block before I came back inside. You can provide a tasty treat to your dog on your way out the door, something that he can work on for a while. Harry's favorite was a frozen Kong stuffed full of peanut butter and a few liver treats, this eventually kept him occupied for hours. Remember that when you return home, don't make a huge fuss. Come inside, get changed, pour yourself a nice hot coffee, then greet your calm dog.

This process did prove effective for me and my anxious dalmation. All up the 4 steps took about 5 weeks to work through and fix Harry's Separation Anxiety problem.