Does Your Dog Love You Too Much? Here Are 3 Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions For A Happier Pet
In 2017, there were nearly 90 million dogs living as pets in households across the United States. This was a huge increase from almost a decade ago when a 2000 report revealed that number to be 68 million. There’s no denying it: people love dogs!
Dogs are complex creatures. They feel a wide range of emotions, from happiness to protectiveness to compassion. They even experience the feelings of — you guessed it — anxiety, sadness, anger.
Have you ever come home to a doggy disaster? Toilet paper everywhere, pee and poop, a damaged heirloom?
You may feel like yelling, but hold off — dog separation anxiety solutions are out there. And they don’t involve punishment.
Instead, it takes training, diligence, intuition. It doesn’t happen overnight, either, so prepare for a worthwhile project. The end result is a blissful Fido — and owner!
Here are three tactics to try if your poor pup suffers from separation anxiety.
Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions for You and Your Pooch
Before we begin, let’s learn more information about some signs of distress:
- Barks or screams excessively for long periods when you leave
- Has destructive behavior, like chewing, destroying belongings, or trying to break out from their crate
- Your dog does things to receive attention without doing a “trick” or following a rule
- You have minimal boundaries, offering affection without fulfilling your dog’s needs
- Urinates or defecates in the home although they’re housebroken
Some symptoms are more severe than others. There are some behaviors not listed here. Consult with your vet about anything serious, harmful, or bothersome.
Now let’s jump into some solutions.
1. Your Dog Needs Activity
Whether it’s going on a walk, a visit to the dog park, or even a puzzling toy, dogs need stimulation. This is one of the best ways to keep a healthy pet, both physically and mentally.
Give your dog at least 30 minutes of activity a day. The more tired they are, the less stressed they’ll be when you leave.
2. Change Your Cues
Do you tell your dog “sad goodbyes” and greet them with overwhelming joy? They’ll have no choice but to stress in your absence!
Stay calm, quiet, and subtle. Don’t use the high-pitched voice. The less attention you bring to your comings and goings, the better for your pup.
You can also mix up your behaviors, conditioning your dog to not stress at your pre-leaving tasks. For example, put on your shoes but stay inside. Or grab your keys but stick them in your pocket as you stay and cook.
This type of training takes diligent, daily work over the course of weeks or months.
3. Try Frozen Food
We’re not talking about TV trays. We’re talking about the almighty Kong toy. It has a hole in the bottom for a reason!
Fill the said hole with food of your choice: dog-friendly peanut butter, their own dog food. Stick it in the freezer. The next time you go to leave your home, give it to your pup.
Freezing the food makes it harder to get out, giving your dog a longer task. The hardest separation time is right at the beginning. Ease it with some peanut butter goodness.
Confront Anxiety with Calm and Care
These dog separation anxiety solutions should work for most pups. Remember that all conditioning and thorough training takes time. If you want your pet to be happy, you’ve got to be happy showing them how.
Keep in mind that your dog’s distress might not be your dog’s fault either. Certain medications or behavioral changes could mean more than separation anxiety. Some behavior could be the sign of a greater problem.
Here are five warning signs all pet owners should be aware of!