Dogs are known to live in packs. Being surrounded by their group or family is essential for their well-being. You, as the dog owner, will be seen as "pack leader" by your dog and this will most likely cause stress and anxiety when you leave your dog by itself for a while. Separation anxiety in dogs is a destructive behavior associated with separation from their pet parent. Here are five tips on how to deal with separation anxiety.
1) Dissociate Emotions from Actions
Mix up your routine before you leave. If you can, leave through different doors or signal that you're about to leave by picking up your keys or shoes, however don't actually leave the house immediately. This can disassociate your dog's anxiety from these actions and won't trigger your dog each time you leave. Remember to give your dog a treat when before your departure so it turns into a positive experience.
2) Downplay Goodbyes and Hellos
If you put too much emphasis on your departure and arrival, it will trigger your dogs emotions and can lead to the fear of absence. Don't engage in your dogs excitement as soon as you come back. Let him calm down first before you greet him. The same principle should be applied when you leave the house. Do not make a big deal out of it and calmly say goodbye. Throughout time your dog will realize that your absence is nothing to be worried about.
3) Exercise Your Dog Before Departure
Playing fetch or walking your dog before you leave again is a great way to distract your dog from your departure. By exercising your dog will most likely be too tired to be stressed about your absence. If you need some new exercising ideas, check out this blog post.
4) Leave Comfort Items For Your Dog
Leaving items that have your scent on them, such as blankets, pillows or even some clothing items will comfort and relax your dog until you come back. Another great way to distract dogs from their owners absence is to hide treats around the house so they can hunt them while you're away. Last but not least, putting on relaxing nature sounds in the background can also help your dog relax!