Dogs are known as our “best friends” for a reason. They provide companionship, love, and loyalty to their owners while also being great workout partners. However, what many people don’t know is that dogs can also suffer from anxiety just like humans. This anxiety can be caused by many things such as being left alone, changes in routine, or even loud noises. Below are some ideas to help your dog overcome separation anxiety using various methods. And remember – Doggie Daycare is ALWAYS a great option!
1. Give Your Dog Mental and Physical Stimulation Before You Leave
Try to leave your dog after they have had some exercise or training, a full stomach or some form of mental exercise. This will leave them tired enough to nap, chill or relax.
2. Dogs Prefer a Daily Routine
Start organizing your pet’s day now to eventually match your routine post-lockdown, with regular playtimes, exercise, and most importantly dedicated quiet time apart while you work. Settle them in their own bed or comfortable crate in a safe, quiet room.
3. Keep ‘High-Value’ Toys and Treats for Positive Distractions
The first 15 minutes apart are often the worst for dogs, so use this time to pair with a positive stimulus, like high-value food-based toys. Keep them occupied and distracted with ‘goodies’ but gradually increase the time spent apart from your dog in small increments daily, ideally out of eyesight.
4. Practice Leaving with Increasingly Longer Times
Practice leaving the house alone for short periods of time. While you’re gone, set them up with toys and chews they can play with. Spy on them with a webcam and wait for them to stop scratching or whimpering. Return once they’re playing or chilling. However, if your dog is in serious distress, return to them calmly, and seek advice from a professional trainer to help you graduate the process, and help your dog triumph.
5. Every Dog is Different
Every dog is different regarding separation anxiety, differing greatly due to age, breed, background, and personality. Consider any contact your pet makes with you while you watch TV, sleep, and do daily chores. More pets may make your dog more dependent. Reward your pet for calm, chilled, independent behavior, especially if they are usually clingy.