Ever had your dog barking, whining or tugging at your sleeve when you try to leave for work? Though those might not be all the signs that you see with your dog, you may have seen a thing or two associated with separation anxiety.
Why does my dog have separation anxiety?
Dogs are like children that we raise from the day we get ownership over them. Pet parents treat them like their children or a member of their family, and it’s only natural just like any child that gets separated from their parents and experiences anxiety, so do our dogs.
The big difference between our kids and our dogs is as they get older, they don’t get the same development that children do. Dogs don’t have a voice that would help them communicate with their pet parents, nor have they learned the same independence as a child turning into a teenager would.
How can I treat my dog’s separation anxiety?
Treating this condition isn’t a one-time thing, but a continuous process between the dog and the person they are possessive of. You may have to cut back or be careful of the words that you say around your dog that might induce the anxiety.
Practice door control: you can teach them that it is okay that you’re leaving, and you’ll be right back. Slowly increase the amount of time that you are out the door so that your dog will become accustomed to it. At Dogtopia we practice door control with your pups every hour in the playrooms to help our pet parents reinforce the good behaviors outside your home.
Redirection: if your dog is the type to bark, you can redirect their behaviour. We use redirection as a tool in our playrooms at Dogtopia. With lots of positive praise as a reward to reinforce the behaviours that we are looking to encourage.
Meet other dogs: your dog is possessive of you because you’re their pet parent. Have them meet other people and other dogs, so they become less attached to you. Taking them to a dog park can help them, but there is a likelihood that they’ll be glued to your hip. If this happens, trying a daycare that is willing to work with your dog and integrate them into a pack. In this environment, you will not be near your dog all the time. We customize each experience for our pups here at Dogtopia to help them have a smooth transition into our daycare and make sure they meet their best furry friends forever.
Crate training: the crate is their bedroom and home. It’s their comfort zone, giving them a place to be when you’re not around. Dogtopia locations across North America use crates to help our dogs find a place to rest during playtime and during boarding stays. We always use the word “House”, so they know it is a special place just for them.
What are some things I need to be careful about?
Small gestures like petting your dog because they’ve asked to be pet can come across as cute, but it’s those small gestures that might reinforce bad behavior. It’ll give them the idea that they’re in control to ask for whatever they want and attach themselves to you more. It doesn't end there! There are always more ways to help minimize dog anxiety and whichever method you’ve used for their separation anxiety, ensure that you’re continuing it so you can have a happy and balanced dog.