Canine separation anxiety ranges from mild to extreme and can start at any age but can be corrected with a bit of time and effort from you, the owner. First, you need to assess whether your dog is experiencing separation anxiety or boredom as some signs of separation anxiety can also be symptoms of boredom.
* urinating & defecating indoors
* barking or howling
* chewing and destroying things
* trying to escape & injuring himself such as cut paws or broken teeth
* excessive salivation
Is your dog suffering from canine separation anxiety or boredom?
Many of the symptoms for both of these are the same such as urinating or defecating indoors, chewing and destroying things, or whining, however, the big difference is when these are caused by boredom then your dog will display these symptoms while you are home with them.
When these symptoms are displayed while you are out of the home then they are signs that your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.
Some common causes of separation anxiety in your dog can be:
* A recent move to a new home
* A new baby in the family
* A new pet in the family
* A sudden and extreme change in schedule (such as suddenly spending long periods of time alone)
* A death in the family
* A family member suddenly moving out of the home due to divorce or a child growing up and moving out
Your dog may display boredom symptoms such as...
chewing or destroying things, whining, barking, etc for some of the following reasons:
(1) Your dog is not getting walked enough. Your dog has all this excess energy and no way to get rid of it. This is why walking your dog once or twice a day is very important in producing a well behaved and content dog. I think people under rate how important walking your dog is for their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
(2) Your dog should also have a variety of toys to play with or chew on to keep him stimulated. (Keep a couple of them at a time put away and reintroduce them and hide other ones so your dog has renewed interest.)
(3) Another way to keep your dog from being bored is a chew toy that you can fill with treats or peanut butter. These toys make your dog work for this treat and therefore, keep your dog occupied and stimulated for quite awhile.
(4) Loneliness can cause boredom in dogs because if you are gone all day long then your dog is obviously not getting walked, played with or stimulated by your company.
(1) The most effective treatment of canine separation anxiety is to train your dog to gradually be left alone without getting stressed when you are gone.
You can start this by training your dog to be alone while you are still at home either in a separate room in a comfortable spot or in his kennel. Start with a short period of time such as 5 or 10 minutes then gradually increase it.
Eventually you can start leaving the house for a short amount of time such as 5 or 10 minutes and gradually increase it until you get to the amount of time that you will need your dog to stay alone such as 4 hours or more if needed. This needs to be a very gradual process for it to be successful.
(2) Another thing to work on while you are at home is that your dog should not require your full attention at all times. You should ignore him for periods of time so that he gets used of being more independent of you and content without your constant company or attention. He may whine or bark but do not give in to these attention seeking actions. He will adjust to this if you consistently ignore these actions.
(3) You should also work on the trigger signs for your dog that you are leaving the home such as picking up your keys or purse and putting on your jacket or shoes by doing these things around your dog when you are not actually going anywhere.
Just grab your keys and put them in your pocket then not actually leave just continue doing your regular stuff at home. Continue to do this so that your dog starts to understand that these things do not necessarily mean you are leaving and he will not started getting anxious as soon as you do them.
(4) Taking your dog for a good walk a short while before you leave your home will also get rid of any excess energy your dog has. He will be ready for a nap and some quiet time.
(5) Keep everything calm before you leave your home and when you arrive back home. This means that you do not want to display excited and prolonged goodbyes when you leave nor excited greetings when you return.
Canine separation in your dog can be treated so that your dog can go on to live a long, content and happy life without the stress of separation anxiety. Over a long period of time the stress may start leading to health problems for your dog so it is best to deal with it sooner rather than later.