Separation Anxiety And Suggestions On How To Cure It

Separation anxiety is exactly what the name says it is.  It is often found in rescue dogs.  Separation is when you leave your dog, usually alone.  Anxiety is fear and leads to anger and panic.  Rescues are particularly susceptible to it because they fear of being abandoned, having been abandoned several times in their lives, starting with separation from their mother and litter mates, then their first (or several families) and complications from poor treatment and shelters.  The dog gets anxious as the owner begins to leave and builds throughout the “abandonment” (be it short or long) and then as a result of the anxiety, behaviors as destructiveness, incontinence, barking, and a host of other unwanted behaviors develop and never seem to subside. Some owners try a 20 trial, period, but without a full plan, they just resume the anxious behavior.  The plan is to start with a very short leave and then return and then incrementally increase the time you are away.  A camera on the dog will help you understand what it is going through.  When you leave the house, it should be done quickly and unemotionally without consolation or even a goodbye.  Dogs don’t understand the goodbye (God be with you) anyway. Start out by leaving for short periods of time, maybe 2 or 3 minutes and then incrementally increase the time you actually leave the dog alone.  You should show the dog the same procedure of leaving each time you go.  Dogs recognize our customs. That is why your dog seems to know when you’re leaving. You take a shower or wash up, brush your teeth, get dressed, put on a jacket, get your keys pocketbook or briefcase; maybe you leave after feeding your dog breakfast or after a walk.  It’s a routine the dog knows well. It can either get anxious about it or look at it as your leaving routine.  You can practice the routine several times a day if you have the time and inclination.  Leave for a minute or 2, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, maybe more maybe less. Just keep increasing the time slowly. Try getting in the car and starting it up and come back right away.  Don’t have to pull away yet.  Do that increasing the time slowly. Then leave for 5 minutes 10 minutes and just keep working it longer, so the dog becomes more comfortable and more assured of your return.  This practice routine should continue over the course of days, weeks or even longer until the dog is able to see the routine, tolerate it from shorter to longer periods and eventually, the dog should be able to tolerate the process and eventually go to sleep.  Small video cameras around the house can give you an idea of what your dog is doing when you leave. Limiting movement, limiting access to valuables.  Crating or using an x/pen or gate can also help your dog and protect your property You can also hide treats for your dog to find to keep busy or provide interactive toys or puzzles to occupy him or her.  They even have a remote treat dispenser that can be hooked up for a video to your phone.  Separation anxiety is one of the more difficult doggie issues to cure and requires extreme patience from owners. Another aspect of separation anxiety is leadership. If you spoil and do not show proper leadership, (not dominance) your dog will be more prone to separation anxiety. Training your dog with positive rewards will also make your more confident which also aids in alleviating separation anxiety.

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