Have you returned home one day to find your dog jumping or spinning like crazy because he’s happy to see you? And when you head to the living room, he follows you there only to find that he has chewed the arms of your sofa or your favorite pair of shoes. As if that’s not enough, one of your neighbors knocks at the door to tell you that your beloved pet drove them crazy by his constant howling and barking while you were away. If this scenario sounds familiar, your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety.
Dogs love spending every minute with their owners because they enjoy human company, love, care, and attention. But because of busy schedules, many people are unable to spend enough time with their pets. If your work, school, or business keeps you away from home for long hours, it’s important to ensure that this separation time is less stressful for your pet. We’ve compiled the list below to help you address separation anxiety in your dog, so read on.
Reduce Separation Anxiety by Leaving Your Dog in a Rested State
Before leaving your home, make sure you take your canine companion for a nice brisk walk. To make the walk even more rigorous, consider using a dog backpack to give your dog some extra weight. This will tire him so much he won’t have any energy left to do all the destructive things associated with separation anxiety.
After the walk, let him rest for a few minutes before giving him enough food and water. This is to ensure that he stays in a quiet, calm, rested state while you’re away.
Practice No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact
Many dog owners are guilty of touching, talking, and even playing with our dogs whenever we return or leave home. But, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety, doing so only makes things worse for him. If you want to help him overcome his separation anxiety, don’t make your leaving and returning home a big deal.
One hour before you leave or after you return, don’t touch him, talk to him, or have any eye contact with him at all. If you’re finding this hard to do, you can start with five minutes, then gradually increase it to 1 hour. When you do this consistently, your pet will learn not to make a big deal out of your comings and goings with time.
Reduce Separation Anxiety Saying Goodbye Long Before Leaving
If you feel guilty doing the above (no touch, no talk, no eye contact when you return or leave home) to your dog, then say goodbye long before you leave. Spend a few moments with him to show your love and affection before leaving. This can be done 30 minutes or even one hour before leaving.
Stay Assertive and Calm
Being guilty, concerned, and nervous when you leave home only heightens your dog’s separation anxiety. Because of this, you need to remain calm and self-confident whenever you’re ready to leave home. This will assure your pet that everything is okay, which, in turn, will greatly help to ease his separation anxiety.
Leave Him with a Good Audio Book
The sound of a human voice can also help to reduce your dog’s stress while you’re away and help calm him down. So the next time you leave home, consider leaving a good audiobook playing in your dog’s room to lessen his separation anxiety.
Overall, addressing separation anxiety in dogs cannot happen overnight. So, it’s always advisable to start out small before gradually increasing the amount of time you stay away from your dog. You can start by leaving your pet alone for just 5 minutes, then increase the time to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, one hour, until you can go for a whole day without him making a big deal out of it.