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

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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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

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

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Bringing Home Your Rescue Dog

I understand that bringing home a new dog is an exciting time for you and your family. Just remember your new dog will be confused about where he is and what is expected of him. He will be under a lot of stress with the change of environment, whether he is from a shelter or a foster home. He may not understand where his potty area is and have a few accidents. Give him time to acclimate to his new home.

Once you get home with your dog, take him immediately to his potty area and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area. Allow him to sniff around. Wait for him to relieve himself and give him lots of praise. (There should be no corrections for accidents inside the house.)

Remain calm and quiet around your dog for the first few weeks. Limit interactions, such as guest, neighborhood children, and dog parks. Allow your dog to settle in and get to know you before venturing out into the world.

Having the dogs crate in an area that you spend most of your time in the evening will help with training. Leave the door open and while you sit and read or watch TV, toss a treat into the crate and allow him to walk in and out of the crate on his own. When you go to the restroom, lock him in the crate and let him out when you return.

Also, walking in and out of your house without your dog will help him understand that you will be returning. Do not say anything to him when you go out or return. Varying the duration that you are away from the house will allow your dog to become less anxious as he learns that when you leave, you eventually come back.

When bringing home a new dog, it will take 4 to 8 weeks for him to become acclimated to his new surroundings. Be patient and understanding while keeping to the schedule that you intend to maintain for feeding, playing, training, walks, etc. This will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.

Always have your dog on a leash when opening the front door for any reason. If he gets out, he will not know how to get back to his new home.

Pay close attention to your new dogs’ body language while out in public to make sure that he is not becoming stressed or fearful.

Remember, your dog will be with you for many years to come. Take time to introduce him properly to his new life with you.



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.

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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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