Separation anxiety disorder is a situation where an individual feels or experiences excessive anxiety when they are separated from people they were strongly emotionally attached to.
Dogs also have feelings and they get emotionally attached to someone. When you get a new dog, it is more likely to suffer from separation anxiety disorder due to its emotional attachment to its previous owner.
Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit behavior problems when they are left alone. They could howl, bark, dig, scratch at doors and windows when they are separated from their guardians.
1Below are the steps you should take on How to help a dog with separation anxiety:
- Mental training
Mental exercises are meant to improve performance and boost the confidence of your dog. You could come up with fun games for your dog that will help boost your dog’s confidence and focus for instance, tug of war but beware of the risks. You could also do hide and seek or do a game of fetch.
You could run your dog around the compound or up and down the stairs, teach her some tricks like how to find a hidden toy or anything and much more. By doing this, you will also be bonding with your dog and the two of you will be best friends before you even realize it. This is without doubt one of the most effective on how to help a dog with separation anxiety.
- Spend time with your dog
Absorbing yourself into your busy work schedule and ignoring your dog could only be worsening the situation for your dog. Try to spare some time to bond with your dog. During this bonding time, the two of you could go for long walks or just hang out in the park and have some good time together.
Let your dog be free around you. You could also do some routine training like commanding her to sit or stand during your time together. Spending time with your dog will help her to be confident and start getting used to her new owner or guardian and this will help her deal with separation anxiety.
- Embrace physical exercise
This is a very important element on how to help a dog with separation anxiety. Before you leave your house for work or to run errands, you should remember to take your dog for long morning walks, or run around your compound or a park. You should make it a habit to go to different places every often while doing the exercises.
Physical exercise as important to a dog is it is to a human being. Exercise helps relieve stress and reduces anxiety. It will also help your dog to relax and be calm. Visiting different places with your puppy will help her learn sights and different smells.
Most dogs with separation anxiety disorder would try escaping from their new homes to go back to their previous owner. They do this through digging, or scratching doors and windows in an attempt to escape.
This may lead to injury and cuts, it is safer to leave your dog inside when you leave in case she has separation anxiety issues, but remember to leave her enough chew-able food and toys to play with just to keep her busy and distract her until you are back.
If not, you should try leaving her at a dog care center and pick her up when you leave work. You should keep doing this until you are sure your dog will not try to escape anymore. Grounding can be a good technique on how to help a dog with separation anxiety.
- Avoid letting your dog get bored
Usually, some dogs freak out when they are left alone due to fear and boredom. They become restless and need something that will distract them and stimulate them mentally. Get your dog some toys to play with.
This will keep them busy and reduce anxiety. Toys and games can be very helpful to your dog’s mental health, just like babies, let your dog play around when she is bored. Let her have fun and feel at home.
There are many games for dogs in case you need any. Or you could just do some hide and seek, and also teach her tricks. If you keep this in mind and practice it, you will have greatly helped a dog with separation anxiety.