Ever come home to find that your dog has left scratch marks on the door or destroyed a pillow?
The behavior may be an indication that your dog isn’t properly house trained, but it can also be a sign that your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is a relatively common medical condition for dogs. It’s triggered when a dog’s owner or guardian leaves them alone.
Separation anxiety can manifest itself in a number of ways. The dog may chew up furniture, bark, or try to prevent their owner from leaving in the first place.
Ahead, we’ll take a look at five of the dog separation anxiety solutions for the health of your dog and your home.
Tire Them Out
Exercising your dog is one of the most effective ways to limit their separation anxiety. Take them for a walk or spend some time playing with them before you go.
Try to allow 30 minutes for your dogs exercise every day. If your schedule allows, do this right before you leave the house. If your dog is tired, there’s a better chance they’ll be more relaxed when you’re gone.
Keep Your Dog Busy
Make sure your dog’s time is occupied, so they don’t spend the whole time thinking about how much they miss you. Give them plenty of interactive toys to play with while you’re gone – things that don’t require you to be around.
If possible, hide some food around your house so your dog can hunt for it. Dogs live in the moment, and if they’re thinking about potential food, they won’t even notice you’re away.
Rewire The Way Your Dog Thinks
If your dog expresses stress signals when you’re about to leave, try to disassociate certain sounds and triggers.
The jingle of keys is a dead giveaway that you’re leaving, so change your behavior. Pick up your keys, put on a jacket, then sit on the couch with your pooch.
You can even give your dog a treat when you leave the house. Instead of barking and stressing, they’ll start to associate your absence with a delicious snack.
Gradually Increase Alone Time
If separation anxiety is too severe, start small with your time away. Leave for five or ten minutes, then come back. Start to increase the duration little by little until you can leave for a couple of hours without an issue.
The goal is to have your dog know that you’ll always come back.
If other dog separation anxiety solutions fail, get a dog sitter to watch your dog while you’re away. If you can’t find anyone available, dog boarding is always an option while you’re at work.
Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions
Implementing a few of these suggestions could be the difference in a dog’s life while you’re gone. Coming home to a trashed house is annoying, but the dog is suffering far worse for the hours you’re away.
Don’t punish the dog for their behavior. Instead, address the problem and not the symptoms. Make the time you’re away active and fun for your dog to improve the quality of life for both of you.
Check out our blog for more helpful tips about all kinds of pet owner problems.