If your dog is destructive, has potty accidents, or barks incessantly when you’re not home, he may have issues with separation anxiety. Unfortunately, separation anxiety is a fairly common cause of many behavior problems, especially in rescue dogs. Here are some easy ways to help your pooch cope with this upsetting condition.
1. Go for a long walk before you leave the house.
A little exercise can go a long way toward burning off a dog’s anxious energy. Head out with your dog for a long, brisk walk before you leave the house. That should help to put your dog in a quieter, more restful mood while you’re gone.
2. Change Up Your Routine When You Leave
Change your routine by using a different door or keeping your coat and shoes in a different place so that your dog doesn’t associate these things with you leaving and begin getting anxious.
3. Don’t Raise a Big Fuss When You Leave or When You Come Home
By not making a big fuss when you leave and come back, you’re showing your dog that your leaving is nothing to get excited about. Remember, no eye contact, no talking, and no touching when you head out the door.
4. Give Your Dog Some Love Long Before You Go
Sometimes it can be hard to leave without saying goodbye. Try giving your dog some extra love and affection long before you actually go. This is purely for your own peace of mind. We promise, your dog won’t get his feelings hurt if you don’t say goodbye when you leave.
5. Set a Good Example
If you get nervous every time you leave the house, your dog will, too. Stay calm when you walk out the door. It’s just business as usual; nothing to get excited about! Remember, you are the pack leader, so your dog will learn from your example.
6. Start with Shorter Outings
If your dog is really having a tough time with you leaving, start by going out for short five or 10-minute outings at first. Slowly work up to longer outings over time.
7. Leave on Some Background Noise
Background noise from the television, radio, or even an audiobook and lessen separation anxiety and have a calming effect. Hearing a human voice can really help to reduce their stress levels while you’re gone.
8. Keep Him Busy
Try giving your dog a special toy like a treat puzzle to keep him occupied when you’re gone. This can be an especially good option when you only need to be gone for an hour or two.
9. Consider a Dog Walker or Doggie Day Care
If you need to be gone all day for work, consider having a dog walker come during the day to give your dog some exercise and attention. Check into doggie day care, too. They can be a great place for your dog to hang out while you’re at work.
10. Talk to Your Vet
If your dog’s separation anxiety is severe and these tips aren’t helping, it may be time to talk to your vet. There may be a calming medication that you can give your pooch when you have to be gone for long periods of time. Schedule an appointment with your dog’s vet and consider your options.
Helping your dog cope with separation anxiety will require lots of patience. But your hard work will pay off in the end with a much happier dog!