Dogs are social, pack animals that have evolved to be with families. Dogs that get separation from either biological family or its natural social structure develop psychological problems, such as separation anxiety. Helping your dog overcome separation anxiety will need careful observation and significant steps to re-establish his relationship with YOU as his human protectors.
What Causes Separation Anxiety And How To Prevent It?
Dogs were social animals who could not survive without their companions. Being separated from their “pack” and left alone creates stress for them. Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety often exhibit undesirable behavior. This distress can lead to aggression and other undesirable responses.
There are several warning signs your dog may exhibit if he is suffering from separation anxiety namely:
1. Nervous pacing
2. Whining and whimpering
3. Chewing on objects
4. Excessive barking and howling
Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety are dangerous. One of my neighbors has reported that her anxious dog bites her multiple times each day, causing her to sustain bruises on her arms and legs.
When dog owners fail to recognize the foregoing signs or are not concerned about addressing these behavior issues, they may aggravate the behavior to aggressiveness, One of the ways to prevent separation anxiety in dogs is to change his psychological thinking and make him look upon you as his pack leader. In a nutshell, dealing with separation anxiety is a matter of psychology.
Never discipline or mistreat your dog if he misbehaves himself. Anxiety would usually cause him to exhibit some behaviors that you would find not acceptable. Be patient as you work on correcting his condition.
The old idea of harsh punishment will not work and can create a negative effect on your dog’s psyche. Instead, develop your dog’s obedience skills by using praise and treats.
You have to understand that your dog has his own mental, emotional and physical activities that are closely connected with your behavior. The only way you can change his behavior is to become his leader. Being the alpha dog, you would be able to change your dog’s perception of his role, which is a subordinate in the pack. All followers should listen to and obey his pack leader (alpha dog).
To ease the separation anxiety In your dog, you should make him develop an attachment to you. There is a number of ways to attain this. One of the most effective techniques is bonding. By making sure that you are always available to your dog, he will gradually develop a relationship of trust and respect with you.
This is similar to what we would do with our children. We would not leave our toddler alone all day, with little or no attention. We simply set certain times for our children to play and bond with us. The same thing should be done with your dog. It is the best way to prevent separation anxiety, though.
But don’t expect too much too soon. Dogs are just like human babies with a short attention span. You would need to set aside some time each day to interact with him. It would take a while before he starts to build that trust with you and overcome his anxiety.
A dog that lacks exercise will also develop serious behavioral problems. He is likely to get bored and over energetic, and will be much more prone to stress related illnesses. Such dog is far more likely to suffer from separation anxiety in the long run.
When you leave, put your dog in an area where he feels secure and safe. A laundry room, bathroom, or a small space such as a den are great choices. The laundry room is often an airy space where he can get in and out at his leisure. A den (crate) is similar, but smaller and can be stuffed with a comfy big pillow or blanket. Getting him used to these areas will help him get a sense of security and not feeling anxiety when you are not at home.
Lastly, speak to and ask advice from your veterinarian, dog trainer, or other pet professionals regarding the specific needs of your pet. As a pet owner, you are the best person to know what your dog needs.
If you know the needs of your dog, you will not be wasting your time and energy in searching for solutions to prevent separation anxiety.
Dog separation anxiety is a serious condition that cannot be ignored, If not treated, it can become progressively worsen as your dog gets older and can lead to other various health and behavior issue.
Sunlight, exercise, human interaction, even obedience training can help your dog to be more comfortable and overcome his anxiety. To have him love and attached to you, your dog must experience a certain amount of security.
There is nothing like coming home from a hard day of work, seeing your dog wagging his tail at you at the door. happy to see you. All dogs need love and that love comes through the practice of basic dog training.
Training does not need to be a dreaded task. In fact, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. Dog training requires positive reinforcement. Also, remember that each dog is a unique individual. So, it is all about how you handle the training, not about the techniques themselves. Training your dog well and it can enhance the bond between you and your dog,