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Your dog is suffering from dog separation anxiety if he unleashes destruction when left alone at home. Just like humans, dogs develop separation anxiety when dramatic life changes occur. Barking, chewing, urinating, defecating, and trying to escape are all signs of separation anxiety in dogs. Separation anxiety should be diagnosed early in a dog’s life. Self-injury and home destruction may occur if left untreated.
1. Conditioning Treats and Toys
In order to treat dog separation anxiety, it’s mandatory to teach your dog to enjoy or tolerate being left home alone. Conditioning your dog to form positive expectations upon your departure helps to reduce your dog’s anxiety levels. Classical conditioning techniques were first derived from the infamous Pavlov’s dog studies. Research gathered from these studies indicate that dogs can form associations between a stimulus and a positive reinforcement. Tasty treats are great positive reinforcements. Interactive toys and dog bowls containing treats are great reinforcements for conditioning. It’s important to stimulate your dog’s mind even after you leave home. So, make sure he doesn’t consume his rewards too quickly by leveraging slow feeders.
2. Gradual Separation
Gradual approaches are necessary for moderate and severe cases of dog separation anxiety. Begin this approach with short duration separations. Gradually increase the duration over the course of several weeks. Patience is essential. Use deconditioning exercises to break the association between your departure routine, and the departure itself. Reward your dog upon return appropriately by praising good behavior.
Calming supplements ideal alternatives for calming separation anxiety in dogs. Chew supplements containing L-tryptophan naturally calm, relax, and reduce hyperactive behavior. L-tryptophan is found in animal and plant proteins and is used to treat sleep, mood, and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, it produces a calming effect on dogs with separation anxiety.
Though it only applies in some cases, adding additional dogs to the family can help reduce anxiety symptoms in dogs. Dogs have temperaments just like humans, so there’s no telling if the new family addition will make a positive impact until the introduction takes place. Don’t rush the decision to acquire a second dog. You must be sure that your household is ready for the second set of doggy responsibilities, both financially and emotionally.
5. Ambient Noise
For some dogs, a little background noise helps to reduce dog separation anxiety. Leaving the television or radio on is a simple solution that often helps mild cases. A combination of ambient noise and treat-based toys help keep your dog busy when you’re away.
Separation anxiety in dogs is a condition many dog owners encounter. Remember, your dog can cause significant damage to your home or themselves. In order to avoid difficult cases, it’s important to address the disorder early in the early puppy years. In the case that your adopted dog is beyond their puppy years, be patient, and don’t give up. Every bit of effort helps. By utilizing the right tools and being patient, you can reduce your dog’s anxiety symptoms or even remedy the disorder permanently.
What causes separation anxiety in dogs?
Many factors can contribute to separation anxiety in dogs. The loss of family members is among the leading causes of dog separation anxiety. This could pertain to the death or the moving away of a family member. Dogs are prone to developing the disorder when their schedule or living arrangements change. It’s more common for older adopted dogs to develop behavioral issues, in comparison to single-family dogs.
How to Diagnose Dog Separation Anxiety
When preparing to leave home, you may notice your dog’s anxiety levels become agitated. Upon your departure, your dog is subject to depression without your presence. Some dogs are even known to take measures to prevent their owners from leaving.
Common symptoms include:
- Howling and barking
- Urinating and defecating
- Chewing and destroying things
- Attempts to escape
- Spacial Pacing
- Coprophagia (eating stool)
Rule out other medical problems before you diagnose your dog with separation anxiety. Your dog displays behavioral issues for many reasons. Puppy separation anxiety symptoms include urine marking, incontinence, chewing, and over-excitement.
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