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How Can You Help Your Dog's Separation Anxiety?

Feb 1, 2008
Separation anxiety is a horrible problem for both dog and owner. It is an extremely complicated issue. Its complexity lies within trying to understand the underlying reason for the anxiety in the first place.

Some dogs with separation anxiety have been mis-treated before in the past. In these instances, the dog may be afraid anytime the new owner leaves. These dogs bond with their new owners to a much greater extent than most normal dogs. Although the bond is strong, it can be destructive as in many cases dogs with separation anxiety destroy property. In addition to the destruction of property, a dog experiencing separation anxiety may also act as though he is not properly potty trained.

I have a dog with separation anxiety and when I've gone out of town for even just a few days, my dog has used the carpet as her potty. She's normally a very well behaved dog, but even though I hire wonderful pet sitters who let her out often, she chooses this method to act out. It's her way of letting me know she's not happy that I left. On one other trip, she even tore up her own dog bed.

While destructive and discouraging, there are some ways to control and hopefully lessen the degree of the dog's anxiety. They are listed below:

* Act as if you are leaving the house but before the dog starts to get nervous and bark, come back in. This way, the owner is not reinforcing barking but rather silence and relaxation. Do this many times. Next, leave the house, but come right back in. Again, before the barking. Continue this with longer times away, be aware you, as the owner must proceed extremely slow with this behavior modification training.

* Pick up your keys but rather than leaving the house, go sit on the couch and watch T.V.

* Change your leaving routine until your dog does not pay attention anymore.

* Do NOT give your dog a lot of attention when you leave the house. The bigger deal the owner makes out of leaving the house, the more upset the dog will become.

* Leave the T.V. on for the dog when you leave. Make sure the temperature is comfortable, there is light in the house, toys to play with, one of your old shirts on the floor with your scent on it.

* Upon return, do not may a big deal out of it by giving the dog lots of praise. Also, if they dog has done something destructive (chewed up a shoe...) do not punish him. He will then associate punishment with you coming home.

* Lastly, if the dog's separation anxiety is extreme and severe, there are medications available for this condition. Keep in mind it will not solve the problem, however it will treat it. See your vet.

So remember, while your dog wants to be good, separation anxiety is so powerful, your dog may not have a choice with his or her bad behavior during an episode. Your dog may be acting out without thinking. Try the tips above to help get your dog's separation anxiety under control.
About the Author
If your dog's separation anxiety is getting you down and resulting in bad dog behavior problems, then visit http://www.stopbaddogbehavior.com online. Learn the fastest and easiest way to prevent your dog's antics, including aggressive dog behavior from making you crazy!
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