If your dog is disruptive when you're gone, it might not be a behavior problem that has them acting up. Your dog could be suffering from separation anxiety. If you think that separation anxiety is a condition that affects only humans, you'd be wrong. Unfortunately, your four-legged family members can suffer from the debilitating condition too. Some of the behaviors that may be exhibited if your dog suffers from separation anxiety include
- Defecating in the house after being fully house-broken
- Chewing and tearing up household items
- Uncontrollable barking or howling
If your dog acts up each time you leave, there are some simple steps you can take to help them learn that when you walk out the door, you're not leaving forever. Here's a step-by-step guide that will help your pet overcome separation anxiety.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, they might begin to act up as soon as you give clues that you're about to leave. For instance, they might become visibly upset when you put your makeup on or grab your house keys. The first thing you need to do is teach your dog that those actions don't always mean you're about to leave. Begin the training by picking up your house keys and then walking around the house with them. Put your keys back down and walk away. Repeat this several times a day until your dog no longer equates house keys with separation.
Progression of Separation
Once your dog no longer becomes visibly upset whenever you prepare to leave, you'll be ready to practice leaving. This portion of the training will require you to begin with short separations. Begin by going into the bathroom and closing the door. Leave the door closed until you can hear your dog becoming upset. Open the door and reunite with your dog.
Once your dog will allow you to go into the bathroom without becoming upset, you'll be ready to start using the exit doors of your home. Follow the same procedure as with the bathroom, but go outside through the front or back door. Stay outside until you hear your dog becoming upset. Open the door and reunite.
Time to Go
Now that your dog will let you go outside for longer periods of time, it's time to go. Start with short trips around the block and gradually extend the time until you're able to leave for the full day. It will take time, but eventually your dog will be able to make it through the day without an anxiety attack.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you need to help them overcome the distress. Use the simple steps to help your pet adjust to their time away from you. If your dog continues to exhibit distress when you leave, you should speak to a veterinary professional, such as Phoenixville Animal Hospital - R B Wolstenholme DVM, about other treatment options that might be available.