What are the solutions for separation anxiety?
The reason your dog becomes anxious when left alone is that is quickly learns the normal behaviors that you do each time you leave for work. It is always at the same time of day. You always perform a stereotype, repeated ritual of behaviors such as getting dressed in the same clothes, having breakfast in the same way. Then there is the tell-tale beeping of the microwave or the whistling of the kettle as you make your morning heart-starter. Noises are a big signal for dogs due to their acute hearing. When you leave, it’s always through the same door, always in the same car, always with the same leaving sounds and signals. Imagine how loud the boom of the garage door is as you finally close it to seal your dog’s fate! And then there’s silence. Don’t forget about the odors of the morning. The smells of your coffee, your shampoos, soaps, perfumes and so on are readily detected by your dog.
After all that activity and arousal – boredom city starts. The same old yard is there again. Nothing to do! No-one to direct your dog’s behavior for the better. Ho Hum – sad chum!
The ‘Trial Separations’ Technique
A technique called Trial Separations will help. The goal is to let Poochie know that he or she can be separated from you and enjoy it.
To do you also need to refer to the additional information on the No Bored Dogs Routine.
In summary, give your pooch a bone or pig’s ear something else from the ‘Carton of Magic‘ concept or some other delectable reward and place Poochie in a room that he or she is most comfortable with such as your bathroom, laundry or on your deck or veranda. We find the Kong Wobbler is the best home alone toys to speed the development of the Trial Separation Technique and to create this separation
If this works you have the problem licked. All you now need to do is to gradually increase the time of confinement until Poochie tolerates an hour or more in the bathroom when you are home.
The next step is to do the same thing but leave the house for a little while, even if it’s for only five minutes. Some folk will lock the dog in the bathroom and go and water the garden.
Gradually build up the time of departure and the distance from your dog.
When you dog is tolerating this degree of separation, start your normal work-leaving behaviors but on a weekend when you aren’t really going to work.
The beeping of the microwave, the sound of your work shoes on the wooden floor and so on will start your dog on its downward spiral. However stop before your dog looks anxious. Place him in the bathroom with the bone or pig’s ear and take off your work clothes and shoes (but get dressed in other clothes – we don’t want to stress the dog further!!) Take the dog out and play a game with it. You have just shattered a learnt behavior. Now your dog does not know what to expect. The more you do that, the better your dog will be.
Refer to the No Bored Dogs Routine for unique information and products that will help you to give your dog a wonderful lifestyle continually throughout the day while you are away.
Using Adaptil pheromones to create calmness
Another way of creating calmness in your dog when you are not home is to use the Dog Appeasing Pheromone (Adaptil). This is available in collars and as a plug-in diffuser.
Pheromones can be up to 70% effective when used correctly and have no side effects. They are also easy to use.
Medications for Morose Mutts
Some dogs are so anxious when their owners are not home that their emotional state totally overrides any training you may care to attempt, no matter how much you practice it. For such dogs medication is useful, if not essential. There are new medications being used for anxiety disorders in dogs that work well for this type of problem. These smart drugs have minimal side effects and are very ‘kind to the system’. Contact my office for more information.
What about Doggie Day Care?
One recent advance that is very helpful for those who have home-alone hounds with problems is to not leave them at home!!
That’s were a dog sitter or a doggie day care system fits the bill. I am very keen on day care centers for dogs. These centers are run by knowledgeable folk who will make your pooch feel very welcome. There are also many websites which also match dog carers with dog owners.
Alternatively, you may be able to find a neighbor who loves dogs but doesn’t want the commitment of a dog of their own and who would leap at the chance of minding your pooch while you’re at work. Try placing an advert in your local convenience store.
For more information on the treatment of Separation anxieties, view the Separation Anxiety Pet Pick.