Dog Separation Anxiety: Basics And How To Overcome It
Nowadays, dog separation anxiety is more common than ever before, due to simple reasons. Dog owners spend less time with their dogs, they are not especially interested in proper training and they cannot provide all that a dog requires. Dog separation anxiety is defined as poor mood when an owner leaves the house or only the room. Symptoms include barking, whining, sad behavior and excess salivation.
True and simulated dog separation anxiety
There are two types of anxiety your dog may experience. The first one is simulated. It means that a dog doesn’t actually suffer from anxiety. He learned that this type of behavior can get him all kinds of rewards, such as treats or spending more time with the owner. Simulated dog separation anxiety can be easily solved by gradually increasing the time in a crate or helping him realize that he isn’t all alone.
True separation anxiety is a bit different. A dog will actually be sad and suffer from several symptoms every time an owner leaves the room. It is a bit harder to overcome it and it definitely requires more time.
Both types of anxiety can be explained as lack of self-control and lack of leadership. In some, severe cases, overcoming true separation anxiety is complicated and time-consuming.
The cause of dog separation anxiety
There are plenty of causes for this issue, but the most important one is the fact owners neglect the natural instincts of their dogs. For example, terriers like to dig, retrievers like to carry stuff and etc. Due to modern lifestyle of the dog owners, we forget about these things. Dogs become unsure of themselves, which sets them in bad position each time you leave a room or a home.
Furthermore, owners now treat dogs as parts of the family, so they care so much about them. This creates a special bond which dogs prefer more than humans. This is also a reason why they get separation anxiety.
Preventing separation anxiety
The best way to prevent separation anxiety is to start from the beginning when your dog was a puppy. Make sure you reach him that it is ok for him to stay alone for some time. He should have his own crate, where he will stay comfortable at all times. Spend more time in different places with your puppy and later with a dog.
The next main thing to consider is that you should teach your dog obedience. He must realize that you are a pack leader, which is mandatory in order to eliminate the risk of separation anxiety.
Avoid constant interaction with him! This creates a bond, as we have mentioned earlier which has a huge importance to dogs. When it appears, your dog will want you next to him at all times.
Avoid possible tricks a dog may use. For example, each time he touches you with his paw, you will take him in your hands. For him, this means that he is in charge. The next time when you leave home, he will try to get you back in. You must prove him that you are a pack leader.
Crate training is important as well. It will teach your dog that he must stay alone for some time. If he barks, remind him that this isn’t allowed.
Dog separation anxiety is a severe issue which can be solved if you spend a proper amount of time and use obedience training from the early start. After that, you can use only training and crate training to overcome this issue. Luckily, your dog may be able to overcome separation anxiety within a few days or a week.