Pet Care Corner: Help! My Dog Has Separation Anxiety!
By Deborah Hicks, Behavior Specialist
Does your dog bark incessantly when you leave everyday? Does he destroy things while you are gone? There is hope. Most dogs would love to be with you 24 hours a day if they could. But that does not fit into our everyday lives. We must go to work, to the grocery store, and other places where our dogs are just not welcome.
Here are some things you can try to help your dog cope with your leaving. First, do NOT make a big deal about your departure. Don’t start talking to your dog about, mommy’s leaving now, you be a good dog while I am away or start trying to reassure your dog that everything will be OK. Instead, change somewhat your normal departure schedule. If you normally put on your shoes and then pick up your keys and run out the door, instead put on your shoes and grab your keys way ahead of time and let your dog see you did not leave so he relaxes the next time he sees you pick up your keys. He says: ”Oh, every time she picks up her keys it does not mean she is leaving.”
Practice leaving and coming home. Yes, I mean go out the door as though you are leaving and then come right back in, BEFORE your dog starts barking. Each time he sees you come back in he realizes that when you leave you ALWAYS come back. Lengthen the time you wait outdoors before you come back in slowly. When you see he can manage two minutes try three minutes. The important thing is to not go too fast. If he starts barking then you are moving too quickly. Go back to shorter periods.
There are many more things you can do to help dogs who have separation anxiety. Dog training is very important for dogs who have separation anxiety.
Be sure to consult a professional dog trainer for these and other behavioral issues. They can provide a lot of relief for you and your beloved dogs.
Deborah, formerly of Atlanta, is a new resident of Mars Hill, NC. She has been helping dogs and their owners with behavioral and obedience training for more than 10 years in the comfort of their own homes. www.ugooddogu.com. Deborah can be reached at 828-689-8745.