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Cloverdale, Clayton Heights, Panorama Ridge, Yorkson, & Willoughby

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Home Alone… Training Tips for Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a problem wherein a dog is very anxious when left alone. Symptoms can include: whimpering, salivating, barking, housebreaking accidents, chewing, excessive licking, scratching or digging. Some dogs may even show symptoms when owners go into another room, or to throw out the trash!

This can be very upsetting for pet owners as well. Not only does it tend to make one feel guilty for going out, but it’s also no fun to return home to accidents, home damage, or an injured pet. However, there are many things humans can do to prevent or alleviate this problem!

First, it’s very important to make sure your dog is confined to a safe area, such as a crate, when you’re out.  Dogs being den animals, feel safer in their own small, enclosed space. This will also protect both your pet and your belongings.

Next, be sure that you don’t make a big deal when leaving or returning home. Don’t smother your dog with kisses, apologies, and a tearful goodbye. A flippant "See ya later!" is more appropriate. When arriving home, you’ll need to immediately take your dog outside to eliminate. However, during those first 10 minutes home, avoid eye contact and act like your return is no big deal.

Another key ingredient is obedience training. This will help build your dog’s confidence so he feels more comfortable "in his own skin" and within your household pack. You’ll also be able to use commands such as the down/stay to teach your pet to be more independent when you are home. Practice having your dog down/stay while you move about the house, rather than always following you like a shadow.

"A tired dog is a good dog" also goes a long way with separation anxiety. A good session of exercise immediately before leaving will be more conducive to your pet relaxing while  you’re out.

Finally, and this is extremely important… never correct your dog for "crimes" committed while you were gone! This will definitely make the problem much worse, as your dog may be double worried… about you being gone, and you returning home!

Often, alleviating separation anxiety will require working with a qualified professional dog trainer. However, most improve quite nicely, resulting in both you and your pet relaxing when you’re out!