Dogs who suffer from canine separation anxiety can fall into times of deep sadness and depression if we are not careful to help them through it and decrease their stress. Autumn can be a particularly tough time for dogs. People go back to school, and the holidays create events that take their owners out of the house more often, and other clubs and social gatherings that might have been paused for the summer resume. This leaves your four-legged friend alone more often. And for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, this is dangerous. Below you will find a few ways to help your dog get through this difficult time.
Before You Leave
Before you leave the house, take your dog for a walk. This is a great trick to help calm your dog for multiple reasons. A brisk walk will help tire your dog and increase the chances that he will be able to fall asleep after you leave. It also provides some quality time between you and your pup before he is forced to say goodbye for the day. When you come back inside, give your pup some water. This routine sets your dog up for success and puts him in a calm resting mode, which will help him get through the hours you are away.
Leave the Drama Behind
It is vitally important that you do not make a big deal about leaving. The more you focus on it, the more your dog will focus on it. And that is exactly what you do not want. If you give off a vibe that your leaving is no big deal, your dog is more likely to believe it too. But if you act sad and draw attention to it, your dog will instinctively pick up on that, and it will increase his own distress at your departure. If you are an emotional or affectionate person and like saying ‘goodbye’ to your dog before you leave, do so long before you leave. If you can, get all your affectionate head pats and ‘I love you’ moments out of the way an hour before you actually leave. This way, your dog will not recognize it as a ‘goodbye’ for the day.
Give Your Pup Something to Do
If your dog has something to distract him, he will be less likely to focus on your absence. An easy and fun way to do this is to give your dog a toy that will keep him occupied for long periods of time. Special puzzle toys filled with tasty treats are the perfect option. These ‘puzzles’ will keep your dog focused on getting to the rewards inside instead of on the fact that you are gone. Remove the puzzle toy when you get home, that way it becomes a special treat for when he is alone and gives him something to look forward to when you are not there.
Send Your Pup Back to School
Perhaps you or your kids are heading back to school. Why not send your dog back too? Even if your dog is well-trained and well-behaved, he could benefit from learning new tricks or simply spending time with other animals. Training classes or dog boarding can provide him with companionship and a sense of purpose. You do not have to do this every day, but once or twice a week, these dog training sessions could really brighten your dog’s spirit and give him something to strive to.
If you are interested in learning more about canine separation anxiety, please contact Canine Commander. We offer a variety of lessons and classes and even provide boarding and training options if you would like your pup to stay for an extended time. We look forward to meeting you and your four-legged friend.