Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs when they are left alone is manifested in various ways including hysterical barking, chewing, pacing, inappropriate urination and escape attempts. If your dog has separation anxiety, you need to work hard to fix it. This is best accomplished by a program of desensitization and counter conditioning. This would include:

• Making your departure and return uneventful. In other words, leave the house as if you are merely walking into another room and when you return, ignore your dog for a few minutes and then say hello quietly – there is plenty of time for cuddles later on.
• Defuse the physical cues of your departure by doing them when you are not leaving. For example, pick up your keys & sit down, dress up & make yourself a drink/meal, set your alarm to wake up early but remain in the house, etc
• Mix up pieces of your morning ritual before departure – do not be predictable in your departure routine.
• Practise leaving the house a few times a day but returning 10 to 30 seconds later before your dog start showing stress. Gradually increase the duration of your absence.
• Leave your dog with a safe, durable chew toy, stuffed kong or a bone to occupy him during your absence.
• Do not punish any damage done during your absence. Your dog will not make the connection between the punishment and his destructive behaviour.
If the separation anxiety continues, Game on Dogs recommends that you seek the advice of a professional trainer in www.apdt.com.au

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