How to Help Your Dog Cope with Separation Anxiety
If your canine companion is well behaved while you're home but starts misbehaving whenever you leave, they may have severe separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety can cause dogs to incessantly howl or bark and could even result in unfortunate accidents or messes around the house. Don't let separation anxiety get in the way of you and your dog's companionship—help them through it! Learn how to help your dog cope with separation anxiety and teach them how to relax even when you're away from home.
Keep Your Hellos and Goodbyes Brief
One of the hardest parts of being a pet owner is saying goodbye to your furry friend before you leave the house. Though it may be tough on you, how you handle saying your everyday goodbyes can have an impact on your dog's behavior and anxiety. If you prolong saying farewell for as long as possible and make an event out of it, you will raise the dog's anxiety while you're away.
Instead of a long goodbye, send your dog off with the same word every time you leave. Eventually, they will associate that word with a safe return, and they'll feel less anxious while you're away. When you come home, let your dog calm down before saying hello. This will train your dog not to hop on guests when they arrive and will reduce separation anxiety.
Socialize Your Dog While You're Away
Sometimes, all a pup needs is a friend to keep them company. If you're able to own two dogs, they can keep each other company while you're away. Owning multiple dogs often isn't an option, however, so it may be more reasonable to have a pet sitter check on your dog while you're away or to leave your dog at daycare.
If you know that you'll be out of the house more often than usual or will be away for a trip, consider boarding your dog at a trusted dog hotel. Many dog daycare services also offer boarding for an additional fee. While they're away at the daycare or boarding location, they'll meet plenty of new friends—human and dog alike. There, your dog can learn how to socialize better with other dogs, which may help them overcome their anxiety.
Leave Your Dog with Something That Smells Like You
It may seem like a simple gesture but setting out an old sweater or blanket that smells like you can keep your dog calm while you're away from home. Place the item somewhere that your dog frequents, such as their bed or kennel. They can lay on the item and stay calm while they sleep and wait patiently for you to return home. Make sure that you don't mind losing the item—you may not want to use it after your dog has made it their own. But sometimes, the solution for how to help your dog cope with separation anxiety is as simple as giving them an old towel or sweater.