Your dog ate your new sofa , ripped the living room carpet , shredded your favorite pair of jeans , and finally relieving himself on the floor of the bathroom! He greeted you guiltily … Or worse, as if nothing had happened ! Also, your neighbors call you to alert you that barked all afternoon !
This picture makes me laugh however even if I never been in this extreme situation, it is real! This can be your new sofa if you don’t train your dog to be independent….
Symptoms of canine separation anxiety:
– Incessant barking or howling
– Destruction points near exits (doors, windows )
– Destruction of familiar objects to the owner (shoes , sheets )
– Excitement to the owner ‘s return
– Excessive panting and / or excessive salivation or Hyper vigilance, Uncleanliness Stress when anticipation at the owner departure
– Excessive loss of hair Escapes ( cage , garden , house) excessive water consumption
– Follows its owner everywhere without stopping
– Do not eat when alone
My own experience with Separation Anxiety:
After reading several articles, I do understand why Sky is always glue to me: it is a form of Separation anxiety as well as hyper-attachment and it is true that when I leave the house he starts barking. Also Shiva is really anxious, she would destroy everything (wall, toys… Anything!). Now that she had her puppies she is quieter and I hope it is going to last for ever! However I made my investigation about this psychological trouble because it can become a huge handicap.
Anyway I do also undersand that I made them this way, if Sky is hyper-attached to me it is because I provided him too much attention and spoiled him. Regarding Shiva I think that my biggest mistake when she was 3 to 6 month was that I took her everywhere with me! Even at work , therefore she never learnt to be alone. And before she had her litter I couldn’t leave the house, she had to be in a kennel outside and even that she was digging or jumping to escape and meet me! So now that I have a new puppy home I am planning to meet a behaviorist and trainer in order to have a peaceful cohabitation even if they are better now it is never a luxe to meet a behaviorist.
Keep your distance to avoid separation anxiety!
From a young age, the mother teaches her puppies to separate gradually from her. She does not respond to all requests, requires him to sleep away from her, pushes it glue. Thus, at puberty, the puppy is definitely detached and saw his adult life in the hierarchy in the family system. Upon arrival in a new home, the puppy attaches quickly to one or more individuals. The owners often make the mistake of too much “spoil” the puppy. They pet and cuddle as soon as the puppy demands, and give it the dominant powers such as to let him eat first when watching him and accept he sleeps in height on the couch, on the bed “He’s so cute!” Yes he is, however, this may have consequences for the future life with your puppy. When acting this way, the puppy do not perform the detachment necessary to be independent. Therefore, when the dog sees his owner going out, he becomes anxious and hyper-obvious distress destroying and barking. In a word, he is dependent on his owner!
What to do to avoid Separation Anxiety?
If your dog is already anxious when you leave, you have, little by little, teach him to be independent of you:
To do :
- Entertain him: provide adequate exercise is a good start. A bored dog or if he is too full of energy can show symptoms of anxiety that actually are not! Let him something to entertain in your absence: kongs, interactive games, bones.
- Let the music: sometimes outside noise can stimulate anxiety.
- He has to sleep in another room.
- Break the rituals of departure and return: before leaving, ignore your dog for half an hour, so he does not associate the leaving with no contact between you.
You must do the same on your return: if he is jump everywhere to welcome you, ask him to go to bed in his basket, and pet him on your own, half an hour later.
- Record when you are absent: this will give you a good idea of his comings and goings as well as its behavior. This will also help to talk to your teacher.
Not to do :
- Leaving without your dog realizes it: by doing this you ‘lying’ to your dog and as in any relationship, lies breaks trust. You might as well increase your dog hyper vigilance.
- Get angry returning or punish your dog. Remember that these are panic attacks and your dog does more control in your absence, he is not himself.
- Using bark control tools (citronella collar, electric collar or vibration): it is only hiding a symptom that is anxiety, therefore you don’t help your dog to cure. Also, your dog may be self-injured.
- Adopt another dog: it is a double-edged swor, you can find yourself with not one but two dogs with anxiety!
- Do not allow him to spend the night with you on the bed or even in the room.
- Do not always meet the demands of the dog when he comes to pick caresses, but then call him to play, pet him even if it is only few minutes after you push him away. It’s always you who must initiate contact with the dog.
- Do not accept he is always behind you and sometimes send him in his basket so it will not be in the same room as you.
- If he cries, do not answer it, even to reprimand because it will associate your return to his cries, not a reprimand! Therefore he will keep doing it.
- If the dog does damage, do not scold him and do not clean in front of him, he would not understand and would be more anxious.
If this doesn’t work and that the barking of your dog creates trouble with your neighbors, it is better to meet a behaviorist or veterinary in order to find the best way to cure him. Some natural medicines exists to help him learn the separation easily.