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Diagnosis for Separation Anxiety in Dogs:

First, understand that your dog is not trying to get even with you for leaving him home alone. The destructive behaviors, going potty on the floor and neurotic behavior that accompany dog separation anxiety are linked to a panic response. Luckily, for you the owner, the panic response is a behavior that is successfully modified with corrective, positive reinforcement to help calm nerves and promote your dog’s confidence and wellbeing.

No one fully understands why there’s some dog that suffer anxieties more than others when some dogs don’t at all. However, it is known that dog separation anxiety sometimes occurs when a significant change in routine, structure or surroundings such as the absence of an important companion. This may also occur when moving into a new home, a new pet or person in the family, or perhaps a change in the normal feeding schedule.

Before we get into the process of what to do about dog separation anxiety, let’s spend a moment going over what NOT to do. First and foremost, don’t punish your dog. Punishment of any form is NOT an effective way to treat dog separation anxiety as well as any unwanted behaviors. A response such as this, on the part of the owner (you) only serves to reinforce the behavior you’re trying to do away with.

Providing another pet as a potential companion for your dog won’t exactly help either. Dog separation anxiety stems from your dog being separated from you and not so much from being alone. Being unable to play with another animal isn’t the same as just being plain old bored. There is a major difference between boredom and loneliness.

Incarcerating a dog with separation anxiety in a crate is also not the answer, nor a solution. A dog’s nature is to be free. A nervous dog locked in a crate is now left with a heightened panic response but now with a build up of paranoia and desperation on top of it. The added risk of your dog injuring himself in an attempt to escape from the crate is also heightened.

Obedience training alone will not address this psychological problem. Although, there is no question that obedience training is a satisfying and worthwhile experience for the both of you to enjoy. Dog separation anxiety is an uncorrected panic response and is unrelated to obedience as well as disobedience.

Crate Training

Crates and Kennels have become a popular way to begin dog training for furry friends of all ages.  Crates are known as a great way for puppies get through stages of separation anxiety, as well as a good way to put positive reinforcement on dogs ‘alone time’.  However, many dogs of older ages have issues adjusting to crates, so here are a few dog owner tips on how to handle Kennel training.

Introducing Your Dog

When you first get your dog a crate, it may be a foreign concept to your pet. The new addition to your home will most likely take some time to ease your pet into, so here are a few ways to make the comfortable switch into using one.  Make sure to introduce your dog to the idea of the crate.  Leaving the crate in an area that is frequented by family members (such as the living room) will reassure your dog that it is safe, and soon will become a normal thing in your home.  Many dogs have an automatic curiosity as to what the crate is, and end up looking around it.  Many dogs even grow automatically accustomed to spending time in the crate and need no training, but if that is not your case, keep reading!

Familiarity and Food

One of the easiest ways to get your dog into the crate, is to start feeding them inside it on a regular basis.  If you consistently present your pets meals inside the crate, they will grow to see it as a common place and become more comfortable spending time in it.  Another way to help familiarize your dog with the crate is to put some of their favorite objects inside.  Weather it be a loved toy or a comfy bed, placing these objects inside will make the kennel or crate more homey for your pet. Once they become less anxious inside of the crate, try leaving them inside for small amounts of time while you are home, and gradually increase the time until they are comfortable with going inside of it on a regular basis.  Additionally, try leaving them inside while you are gone until the action becomes routine.

Potential problems with crates and Kennels include dog separation anxiety and whining.  Try to always let your dog outside to go to the bathroom before you put them into the crate to assure that it is not because they need to pee.  If problems persist, consider Florida dog training for your pet.

How to Ease Dog Separation Anxiety

There are techniques to help your dog cope with separation anxiety.   A Florida dog obedience training professional can teach you specifics, but in the meantime, here are a few tips to help you start training immediately.

Step Away in Small Spurts

The first method utilizes the “stay” command.  Be certain your canine is able to master this command.  Once your pup is able to execute it properly, try stepping into another room, say the stay command, shut the door and wait.  Sit there for a short amount of time and walk back out.  It allows your dog to get used to the fact you are not present.  Do this a few times.

After completing the entering and leaving a room, implement the same technique with exit doors and food toys.  For instance, if you normally leave for work out the backdoor use it for this practice.  Walk towards the backdoor, put a toy filled with food goodies for the dog, say the stay command, shut the door and walk out of sight.  Stay outside for a time.  There are many messages sent via this action.

The food tells the dog regarding the time apart is a non-threatening, positive experience.  By departing for short amounts of time, it shows the dog you return and are not leaving permanently; therefore, there is no reason to panic or feel anxious.  Eventually, you lengthen the time in-between departures for your dog shall associate the fact of you leaving and being gone with everything is okay.  You always return.  As a result, it is solely a time to relax and not one of worry.

For more information on how to help your dog cope with being apart, meet with a k9 obedience instructor today.

How to Identify Dog Separation Anxiety

It seems that dog owners suffer from separation anxiety more than their actual pups.  It is tough to leave your dog at home alone.  But there are times when it is necessary.  It is part of life.  But how do you know if your canine is suffering too?  Here are some traits enabling you to pinpoint if your dog has fear of being apart from you.

Your Dog Turns Into Houdini and Escapes

Every time you leave your dog with someone else or alone, does your dog take-off and perform a magical disappearing act?  You may see evidence of your dog chewing through doors, digging under fences or clawing at the window.  If this is not normal behavior for your dog, and only occurs when you are not present, then your dog may suffer from nervousness due to you being gone.  Start taking note of this behavior.  If it persists talk to a Florida dog training professional about how to resolve this issue and keep your dog happy, even while you are gone.

Your Dog Walks the Line…Back and Forth

Does your dog leave a pacing pattern on the carpet while you are gone?  What about when you are present?  If your dog is relaxed in your presence, but turns into a pattern stepping fiend when you are gone, then your canine may be having issues.

To comprehend your dog’s actions, you need to watch your dog’s physical behavior.  If it changes when you are not around, then you need to take a closer look about how to relieve your dog from this stress.  Ask a k9 obedience instructor about what techniques to follow lessening the strain on your pup, and creating a serene state of mind for the both of you.