Dog Separation Anxiety
Dealing with dog separation anxiety
Many dog owners report that their dogs show signs of separation anxiety. After all, dogs are man’s best friend, and they want to go wherever you go! Most puppies and dogs learn that when you leave, you’ll eventually come back. Others, however, become extremely agitated when their owner leaves them. They may bark or whine excessively, inappropriately urinate, or even become destructive. You’ve likely heard—or even lived!—horror stories where dogs chew up baseboards, destroy sofas, or worse. Imagine living in an apartment and receiving constant complaints from your neighbors about your dog’s excessive barking!
For other dogs, the problem may be less severe. Your dog may not want to let you out of his sight or become agitated when you get ready to leave the house. Of course, you can’t take your dog with you everywhere you go. Addressing this issue early will help reduce your dog’s anxiety and help maintain a sense of balance in your life.
Training and coping strategies can help you desensitize your dog to your departure. Some people find it effective to give their dog a special treat each time they leave the home. They take the treat back when they return, which helps the dog associate the departure with something rewarding for him. It can also be helpful to make your departure and return as low-key as possible. That means not exciting your dog excessively when you return to the house. This sends the message that you coming and going is not a big deal—and you’ll always come home.
What if my Dog’s Anxiety is More Severe?
The training methods and coping strategies described above may be helpful for dogs with mild or moderate separation anxiety. However, dogs that overreact when their owner leaves may require additional, specialized training. Of course, lots of owners don’t know where to begin with helping their dog cope. Even when they apply the “simple solutions” consistently, their dog still freaks out when left alone. He may tear up pillows, go to the bathroom inside, or become destructive in other ways. In those cases, it’s best to have a professional step in for training support.
Overcoming Dog Separation Anxiety
Mark Govoni is the lead trainer at Desert Sky K9. Over the past 27 years in the industry, he’s never encountered a dog with separation anxiety who was beyond help. Mark assesses each dog individually to determine its triggers and the type of positive reinforcement to which it responds. Some dog owners seek professional training as a last resort, certain that their dog is never going to change. Mark’s attitude about training is that every dog can be helped. He is careful not to try to change the dog’s personality; instead, he works with that personality to find new outlets and coping methods for their stress. This also involves some close work with the owner to make sure everyone is on the same page and that the lessons learned at the training facility translate to the home!
Mark and the Desert Sky K9 team have helped countless dog owners who want to improve their relationship with their dog. Check out some of the reviews left by happy clients, or contact us today to find out how we can help you!