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5 Easy Tips to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

It’s that time of year again… the kids have gone back to school after an action packed summer. It’s been fun for the children, and Buster has been so happy with the extra attention and playtime. Then one day, his world changes. The house is empty and he’s left home alone. Uh oh, does Buster have separation anxiety?

The stress of suddenly being alone may cause behavioral changes… excessive barking, destruction, escaping, pacing, chewing, scratching, and even the inability to lie down and rest.

While there is no evidence showing why some dogs have separation anxiety and some don’t, dogs are naturally social animals. So much so, that behaviorist and author John Bradshaw says, “Surprisingly, most dogs, given the choice, will actually prefer human company to other dog company.”

The ASPCA states,

“When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the dog’s underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the dog experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety.”

What You Can Do to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

1. Mix Up Your Patterns

Dogs are smart. They are constantly studying all of our behaviors, actions, and routines. If you always put on your shoes right before you leave the house for the day, the shoes tell Buster that you are leaving. If picking up your car keys is always a precursor to leaving, Buster may start to panic just at the sight of your keys. Start mixing up your routine. Pick up your keys and start cooking dinner. Put on your shoes and walk to your computer. Do the opposite and put on your shoes, open the door, but don’t leave. The idea is to keep Buster guessing so that he starts to unscramble the patterns you’ve already set in place.

Certified Professional Dog Trainer and behavior specialist Nicole Wilde calls it “The Faux Go”. In her book, Don’t Leave Me! she says, “You’ll be teaching your dog that the door opening and you walking out is nothing to worry about.” Separation Anxiety training protocol by famed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell can be found here.

2. A Little at a Time

If the kids aren’t going back to school for another three weeks, start practicing with very short departures today. If all goes well, start increasing your time, little by little. A human minute may equal a dog hour, so take puppy steps when increasing your time away incrementally.

3. Tire Her Out

A tired dog will less likely be inclined to tear up the linoleum while you are gone. Get up extra early to go for a long walk. Engage in a good game of retrieve. The amount and length of activity depends on breed, size, and age.

4. Training and Dog Tricks

While exercise and long walks are great at keeping him in shape, he’ll get more tired from mental stimulation combined with exercise. I joke that the more I hike with Gina, the better shape she gets in to prepare for even more physical activity. But, add in some agility training, and she actually gets tired. Don’t have any jumps at home? Try teaching Buster some new dog tricks daily.

5. Let Music Soothe His Fears

Don’t leave Buster home alone. Leave him with his own iPawd. While iCalmDog is the portable solution to canine anxiety, the clinically tested music works just as well at home as when Buster is on the go. Thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers worldwide have recommended the slowed down, simplified, classical compositions. Take a lesson and enjoy a soothing sound bath with your pup.

 

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Has your dog experienced separation anxiety? What have you found to help? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

 

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Sanchez is Woofin’ about Lisa’s Marketplace

Senor Sanchez here. Lisa is out and I decided to steal the computer keyboard. Please excuse the typpos, as my paws are just a little too big for accuracy on the keyboardddddddd.

I have to hurry, before Lisa gets back, so I’ll be brief. But, I’ll share a few thoughts on why I LOVE the items in Lisa’s Marketplace… 

Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety like I do? I listen to the Calm your Canine series and Elderly Canine when Lisa leaves me and it REALLY helps. Without it, I’m a basket case and bark excessively, waiting for her return. However, once she returns, I put on my macho persona and act as if I really didn’t care that she was gone.

And in addition to sound therapy, Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) Nicole Wilde’s book Don’t Leave Me is filled with tips and suggestions (including a recommendation of playing Through a Dog’s Ear) to help with this debilitating ailment. Nicole’s books is so interesting that even I couldn’t put it down, even though my paws weren’t so great at turning pages. Oh, and did I mention that I personally met Nicole last year? She stayed with us. (Shhh, but she whispered in my ear that she likes me more than Gina. Smart woman!)

I know I was just a pup in the photo in the upper right corner. Well Lisa (I mentioned that she’s out right?) was just a pup then too. She has a few more wrinkles and I have a lot more grey. But, truth be told, many people tell me I now look distinguished and handsome. And, ahem ….. well I agree. Don’t you? But, I reflect on my puppy years and I wanted some of that Joie de Vivre back. You know, a little more bounce to my step, quicker reflexes when Lisa tosses me a treat, and the kind of memory I had in my youth. Well, thanks to Neutricks, I now have it. Neutricks is a yummy dietary supplement that helps brain function in senior distinguished dogs. Everyone notices that I am happier taking Neutricks. And my happiness is even showing up in my sleep. Watch for yourself. (If watching on a mobile device, you may need to view here.)

 

I’m a Lab (duh)! And my inner dog is really a Hound (must be my jowls). So I LOVE LOVE LOVE to use my nose and sniff everything. So, you can only imagine how delighted I was when Lisa came home with beautiful aromatherapy sprays. Calm and Comfort are both just heavenly smells. Sometimes Lisa sprays them when Gina and I listen to Through a Dog’s Ear music and I just drift off into doggie slumber land……. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Did I mention that when you spend $49 or more in Lisa’s Marketplace between October 2 and 4, you can receive a free CD? Does it get any better? Click for full details on how to receive your FREE CD!

Yikes, I hear Lisa coming back in, so I need to sign off now. If you want me to take over the computer keyboard again, please leave a comment below. I’ll sneak back on when she’s gone next time to tell you more about the additional items in Lisa’s Marketplace. And remember that the profits from Lisa’s Marketplace benefit the Through a Dog’s Ear Shelter Program, currently playing and increasing adoption rates in over 1,500 shelters worldwide!

Have you tried Sound Therapy for your dogs? Through a Dog’s Ear is the only music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system.

     Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Through a Dog’s Ear

Calm your Canine Companion Music Series

Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free download will be delivered to your inbox for you and your canine household to enjoy!