How To Help Your Pup Overcome Separation Anxiety

January 21, 2022 3 min read

You’ve just come back from a long day at work and are hoping to spend some cuddle time with your new puppy. Instead, you walk into a full-blown meltdown – excessive barking, whining, furniture damage, or toilet accidents all over the house.

Has this ever happened to you? If so, your new best friend might be suffering from separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is when your dog suffers from extreme stress after you leave the house. It’s especially prevalent in puppies, as well as dogs that have just joined your family. After all, they just met you. So how do they know you’re going to come back the next time you walk out the door?

Below, we’re going to let you in on some advice that will help your dog overcome their separation anxiety and be more relaxed while you’re away.

1. Don’t be too clingy.

We’ve all been there. You bring home the new furball, and you want to be together all the time.

However, constant attention might be detrimental to their development. It can be more challenging for your dog when you leave the house because they’re so dependent on your presence.

Training your dog to be independent even while you’re in the house is critical. Start by locking yourself in a room away from them for 5 minutes. Then, try it for 10 minutes the next time, and so on.

This technique will get them accustomed to being away from you for short periods. So the next time you go out for a longer stretch, it won’t be such a shock to their system.

2. Make them look forward to your departure.

Treats and rewards – sometimes they’re the best way to get our dogs to do what we want. Separation anxiety is just like any other behavior that can be addressed with positive reinforcement.

A treat before you leave the house and another one when you come back is a great way to take the sting out of separation. Right now, your departure carries a negative association. But with the right amount of snacks and chew toys, you can add some positivity to the mix as well.

3. Exercise can kick out the anxiety.

Let your pup have a good long run before you go to work in the morning. It’s a great way to manage separation anxiety symptoms and helps establish a schedule that they can look forward to.

The more tired and content your dog is, the less nervous energy they have. This means they won’t have as much motivation to tear up your couch. However, if your dog is more Stephen Hawking than Usain Bolt, mental puzzles and cognitive games can do the trick too.

4. Play it cool.

Dogs are notoriously intuitive. If your puppy makes it a big deal when you leave, there’s a chance that you’re exaggerating the situation too. Try leaving and entering the house without too much fanfare.

Long-winded goodbyes and over-enthusiastic greetings can make your dog think that separation is a bigger deal than it is, further fueling their anxiety. The more relaxed you are, the more they’ll be able to pick up on that calming energy.

5. Consider professional help.

As they say, prevention is the best cure. But suppose you’ve tried everything and still can’t get any results. In that case, it might be time to ask for help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist.

However, it’s important to remember patience. Most dogs adjust just fine with some dedicated training. Continue to work with your dog every day and hopefully she will learn how to make the most of their alone time while they wait for their best friend to return.

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