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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

Separation Anxiety

Does your dog follow you around the house whenever you’re home? Does it never want to leave your side? Does it spend it’s time looking up at you, pawing or nudging you for your attention?

It can be quite comforting to come home to a dog that constantly wants to be by our side and show it’s endearing love for us. This behaviour however, if constant is not balanced or healthy for your dog. If it is left unchecked it can develop into various problems, one of the main ones being separation anxiety.

If your dog doesn’t know how to be independent of you when you are home it is highly likely it will have trouble being independent when you leave. Often there will be destruction to furniture or objects where it is being contained, scratching at the back door, your dog might become an escape artist or it might constantly bark causing disturbance to your neighbours.

Tip: If your dog is developing these issues we highly recommend you start to build your dog’s ability to be independent of you. One way to do this is to give it a peaceful place in the house where your dog can relax such as it’s bed, crate or kennel. Set up the bed so it becomes the place where great things happen. Have it be the place where is gets the majority of your affection including praise, pats and snacks.

When you are first training your dog to go and lie on it’s bed, stack things in your favour and do it after your dog has been on a big walk, eaten and been to the toilet. By draining your dog’s energy and taking care of it’s needs first, your dog is more likely to be ready to relax and rest.

Start slowly, expecting your dog to stay on it’s bed for a short time and gradually build it up. Spend time practising this while you are around so that if your dog gets off it’s bed before you want it to you can gently place it back. Some dogs may need to be physically contained (tied to or placed in a crate) on their bed when first being trained until they get they are to stay there until released. For some dogs this process can happen very easily and quickly, others that are more prone to anxiety will require you to be very consistent and strong in your communication. It is highly important that you communicate clearly to your dog! Ignore or correct any unwanted behaviours such as whining or barking and reward your dog when it is demonstrating behaviours you like such as calmly lying on its bed.

Generally we find when a dog is highly anxious and symptoms of separation anxiety are high there is also a lack of consistent leadership inside and outside the home.

Eventually if your dog is conditioned well and you have been consistent with having them stay in their resting place in the house, you will find your dog will take itself there and the following around the house will diminish. Over time you may also find the destruction that your dog was once causing has also reduced.This issue is not always a simple one, if you have any questions about this post please comment below as your questions are very likely to help someone else.

You could also call Michelle on 0403000122 to discuss it further.

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