What Is Dog Separation Anxiety?

 

Separation anxiety is a critical behavioral problem, which can cause tremendous emotional distress for both dogs and their owners. It can occur in dogs of any age or breed. It is one of the most common reasons for pet owners to euthanize or give up their dogs.

Most dogs with normal behavior are more likely to sleep, bark randomly or chew their toys when left alone in the house without access to its owner. In general, they pretty much do what they normally do when you are with them. For dogs with separation anxiety, they can make leaving the house or even the room an emotional trigger and a difficult task for its owner.

Symptoms of separation anxiety

  • Urinating and Defecating
  • Barking and Howling
  • Chewing, Digging and Destruction
  • Escaping
  • Pacing
  • Coprophagia

Dogs with severe separation anxiety can destroy thousands of dollars in internal furnishings, injure themselves and defecate and urinate (eliminate) everywhere. Their howling, barking, and whining can also lead to problems with neighbors and landlords.

Do not scold or punish your dog. Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite. They are distress responses! Your dog displays anxious behaviors when left alone because he’s upset and trying to cope with a great deal of stress. If you punish him, he may become even more upset and the problem could get much worse.

Treatment for Mild Separation Anxiety
If your dog has a mild case of separation anxiety, counter conditioning might reduce or resolve the problem. Counter conditioning is a treatment process that changes an animal’s fearful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one instead. It’s done by associating the sight or presence of a feared or disliked person, animal, place, object or situation with something really good, something the dog loves. Over time, the dog learns that whatever he fears actually predicts good things for him.

For dogs with separation anxiety, counter conditioning focuses on developing an association between being alone and good things, like delicious food. To develop this kind of association, every time you leave the house, you can offer your dog a bye-bye bone that will take him at least 20 to 30 minutes to finish.

Read about a bye-bye bone here https://dogsmartatlanta.com/bye-bye-bone/

 

Disclaimer
Advice and opinions provided here are the opinion of Dog Smart Atlanta and are not to be construed as legally binding in any way. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical or legal concern, please contact a professional who can address the issue.

Dog Smart Atlanta and Sonja McBerry are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

Dogs Chewing

 

Dogs chewing is a natural behavior, especially for puppies that are teething. If you notice that your dog has problems with chewing, you will need to correct this as soon as possible.

Some dogs will chew on anything in sight which includes shoes, clothes, and furniture. Of course, these are things that you would rather they keep away from as it will become very expensive to have to keep buying replacements.

One of the easiest solutions to this problem is to get your dog 9 toys and separate them into 3 groups of 3. Place all of the toys in your dirty laundry overnight, this will allow them to pick up your scent. Give your dog the first group of 3 toys on day 1, the second group of toys on day 2 and continue to rotate the toys. Keep the toys in your dirty laundry for at least one week. Consistently encourage your dog to play with the toys.

While you are training them, also teach them not to chew on items that they are not supposed to be chewing on. It is also important that the area where the dog plays is kept free of clutter. For your part, make sure that there are no shoes or other items that they can start chewing on.

If the dog should happen to get something that they‘re not supposed to have, calmly remove the item from their mouth. Redirect, by giving them a toy. Immediately praise them for putting the toy in their mouth. You can also prevent them from not chewing your items by applying Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray on them.

Disclaimer
Advice and opinions provided here are the opinion of Dog Smart Atlanta and are not to be construed as legally binding in any way. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical or legal concern, please contact a professional who can address the issue.

Safe chewing toys https://dogsmart.vcardinfo.com/chewing

Dog Smart Atlanta and Sonja McBerry are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

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Quarantine with your dog

Being quarantined to your apartment?

What to do with your dog?

There are several things that you can do to prepare yourself and your dog to be quarantined inside your home or apartment.

Also remember that your local dog trainer is also stuck at home. Most will be offering some sort of remote dog training. This can be done through a phone conversation, face-time, Skype, or zoom. Others are taking advantage of Facebook Live and YouTube. 

Potty time

The easiest way to teach your dog to potty in your apartment (something you probably spent a long time teaching it not to do) is to act as if you are going outside.

To do this, you should prep for how you would normally go for a walk which can include grabbing a leash, bags and treats. This will cue your dog that this is business as usual, even if it’s in a corner of your living room instead of down the block.

Walk your dog to the area where you want them to go during a time when you think they need to potty. For most dogs, this happens in the morning, after exercising, after eating or after a nap. If at first your dog doesn’t go, give yourselves a break and return to another area of your apartment to hang out. Then watch for signs that your dog needs to potty and try again.

For cleanliness and to protect the area of the floor of your apartment that you are designating as the potty area, you can use newspapers, commercially available “pee pads” or even fake grass.

Exercise and Feeding

Although you might not be able to keep your dog as physically active while under quarantine, you can still keep your dog mentally exercised.
Learn to do some training with your dog while inside. Most all dog trainers are offering phone consults and online virtual dog training.

#1 tip: Take away their food bowl and use their meal for training or feed all meals from food toys which would make mealtime more enriching for your dog.

You can even make puzzles for your dog with items you already have around your home. Two simple puzzles that will entertain your dog:

• Box Puzzle: If you have been getting a lot of deliveries, you probably have boxes. With your dog in another part of the apartment, arrange empty boxes on the floor and hide treats in some of the boxes. Show your dog the boxes and let your pup use its nose to find the hidden treats. Rearrange the boxes with more treats.

• Cupcake Puzzle: Take an empty cupcake baking tray and 12 (or as many as you have) tennis balls. Place treats or pieces of your dog’s kibble into some but not all of the baking tray’s cups, and cover all of the cups with the tennis balls. Show your dog the tray and see how long it takes for your dog to move the right balls to find the hidden food. Each time you play, change where you place the treats in the baking tray.

Daily Routine

Another thing to consider is that you are staying home with your dog more than ever. Dogs are creatures of habit just like we are. Make sure to keep up with some of your daily routines and give your dog some alone time or crate time just as you would if you were leaving the home.

If you don’t, there is a good chance that they will go through separation anxiety when you do finally go back to work.

Mental Health

Yes, you need to be aware of your dogs overall mental health during this time. They may become anxious, nervous or depressed. 

There are all natural calming aids that can help your dog through. Most of them will have some combination of natural herbs and essential amino acids.

Calming Aids help promote normal nervous system function. Thiamine and L-Tryptophan help reduce stress and tension for situations such as traveling and fireworks. 

These are safe for your dog, however I would not go by the dosage on the package. (1 per 10 lbs) Instead, for dogs under 20 lbs, cut one in half and give 1/2 morning and 1/2 evening. For dogs over 20 lbs, give 1 morning and 1 evening.

Contact your veterinarian if your dog is on any other medications or has any health issues. For use in dogs over the age of 12 weeks only.

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Kong https://amzn.to/2Wp38dH

Calming Aids https://amzn.to/2Qr4MHS

Get a free ebook 38 Dog Training Tips

Disclaimer
Advice and opinions provided here are the opinion of Dog Smart Atlanta and are not to be construed as legally binding in any way. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical or legal concern, please contact a professional who can address the issue.

Dog Smart Atlanta and Sonja McBerry are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

KONG Classic

From the Manufacturer – KONG Company 

FETCH TOY: The KONG Classic’s unpredictable bounce makes for exciting games of fetch and other interactive play with your pet.
AVERAGE CHEWING DOGS: The KONG Classic red rubber formula is created for average chewing dogs.
GREAT FOR STUFFING: The stuffable KONG Classic is even more enticing when stuffed with peanut butter and treats. Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.


KONG Classic is made of natural rubber. There are two considerations when purchasing a KONG, size, and color.

Size: Make sure the Kong is not too small for your dog. When in doubt always size up.  Available sizes: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large. https://www.kongcompany.com/learn/size-guide

 

Color: KONG toys are color-coordinated to represents its rubber hardness and ability to withstand different levels of chewing.

 

Your Kong may be used outside for games of fetch. However, they should not be left outside. The rubber will dry out and crack in the sunshine and heat.

If you are looking for one that floats to use for water retrieval the KONG Aqua has a foam core that keeps it floating while your dog swims out to fetch it. (I would not allow them to chew on this one due to the foam core.)

Stuffing the Kong with your dog’s favorite snacks or meals is good for mental and physical stimulation keeping your dog busy.

You can read my blog on using the Kong as a Bye Bye Bone here https://dogsmartatlanta.com/bye-bye-bone/

 

Disclaimer

Advice and opinions provided here are the opinion of Dog Smart Atlanta and are not to be construed as legally binding in any way. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical or legal concern, please contact a professional who can address the issue.

Dog Smart Atlanta and Sonja McBerry are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

 

 

Apartment living with your dog

There are some breeds and temperaments of dogs that are not well-suited to apartment life. Dogs that are very high energy may really struggle being confined to a small space. Often the frustration of being cooped up and bored translates into destructive behaviors like chewing.

Be cognitive of the fact that many people will be sharing your building. A dog that barks constantly will not be favorably received in an apartment setting.

A dog that lives in a small space without a fenced yard will require daily leash time, probably more than a few times a day to go potty and release energy. Be sure to set aside time for activity every day, and recognize that leash walks will be part of your daily routine, even in the rain and snow.

Apartments can be noisy and busy. They are often located in city areas with traffic, bicycles and other animals. Don’t assume your dog will be comfortable with all of these new things. You may have to introduce her to these urban changes slowly and in a safe and calm manner for her to be comfortable.

Invest in a Dog Walker or Doggie Daycare: If you work full time away from home, hire a dog walker, take them to doggie daycare, or drop them off at a pet sitter. No pet wants to, or should, be left alone for extended periods of time — whether indoors or out — for their mental and physical wellbeing. Doggie daycare and pet sitters are great options if you don’t want your dog unattended, and if you want to keep them active throughout the day.

Most dogs love hanging out with other dogs because it gives them the opportunity to interact and play in ways they can’t with humans. Find other dog owners in your apartment building or neighborhood who would like to take walks with you or even just come over for a puppy play date.

You’ll also want to establish a routine with your dog. Dogs are smart and most can easily adapt to the apartment lifestyle. Set times for potty breaks, feeding, walking, and playing.

 

Disclaimer
Advice and opinions provided here are the opinion of Dog Smart Atlanta and are not to be construed as legally binding in any way. This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical or legal concern, please contact a professional who can address the issue.

Dog Smart Atlanta and Sonja McBerry are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com