Separation Anxiety and Your Dog


 Is your new best friend having some separation issues? Does he follow you from room to room and always have to have you within his sights? Maybe that’s OK with you. However, do you have the following problems?
· Does he display destructive behavior while you’re gone?
· Does he bark or howl incessantly once you leave?
· Does he soil himself while you’re gone (and never when you’re around)?
These are issues that you want to address, but the good news is that there are steps you can take that to help ease the pain of your [temporary] separation:
1. Make sure you’re giving Fido enough exercise. Does he get real walks everyday, or are you just taking him out long enough to do his business? By spending his energy positively, he’s more likely to relax and nap while you’re gone.
2. Make it a game. Leave for a few seconds. Is he barking? Ignore his barking, and the next time he’s quiet for 10 seconds, come in and shower him with praise. Then make it 20 seconds. A minute. You get the idea. Before you know it, he’ll just know that you’re coming back for sure.
3. Distraction. Using something like a Kong item, you can stuff it with doggie yummies and give it to him just as you’re leaving. No need for a long drawn out goodbye. If he has something to distract him he’s much more likely to be fine once you’re gone.
4. Extra company. If you know you’re going to be away for a while, look into leaving Fido with a sitter, or hire a dog walker for midday walk. He’ll be happy to make a new friend and it won’t seem like so long till you come home.
The most important advice we can give you is to be patient, and to consult a professional if you are not seeing improvement. Everything is new to him too, and he may need some time to get acclimated. If that means taking some time off work or checking in with him during the day, it will go along way in building your relationship. That initial anxiety might just disappear on its own after a short period of time. Good luck to you and your new friend.

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