Whole Dog Journal Tips November 22, 2011

(Canine Separation Anxiety #3) - Canine Separation Anxiety - Tips That Can Help

Have you ever had the misfortune of walking into your house to find overturned furniture, inches-deep claw gouges on door frames, blood-stained tooth marks on window sills, and countless messages on your answering machine from neighbors complaining about your dog barking and howling for hours on end in your absence? If so, you’re probably familiar with the term “separation anxiety” - a mild label for a devastating and destructive behavior.

Dogs are naturally inclined to become anxious when left alone. Here are some avenues to explore, to complement your modification work:

  • Exercise your dog well before you leave. A tired dog has less energy with which to be anxious and destructive. End exercise sessions 20 to 30 minutes before you go, so he has time to settle down.
  • Five minutes before you leave, give him a well-stuffed Kong to take his mind off your imminent departure. 
  • Make your departures and returns completely calm and emotionless. No huggy/kissy “Mummy loves you” scenes. If he gets excited and jumps all over you when you return, ignore him. Turn your back and walk away. When he finally settles down, say hello and greet him very calmly.

For more details and advice on ways to prevent and cure canine separation anxiety, purchase Whole Dog Journal’s ebook, Separation Anxiety.