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

Blog

Play Biting Behaviors in Puppies

Even though play biting behaviors in puppies is considered normal behavior, you should keep in mind that as dogs get older, it may pose a serious risk.

It may be cute in the puppy stage, but as they grow, it’s not cute anymore. You have to start while they are still a  puppy to get them to change their behavior regarding biting.

Play biting behaviors in puppies is a learned behavior that comes from their littermates. The first correction they receive is from their mother. Because they are not always with their mother, you will need to take on the responsibility of curbing this behavior.

While still in the puppy stage, allow the puppy to play with other puppies. They like to interact with each other and sometimes that will include biting. As they do this, they can learn to control themselves.

If there is one puppy that is overly aggressive, the others will get after the aggressive puppy for being too rough. As they continue to play with each other, the puppy will learn to subside with the biting.

Here are some tips that you can take to get an advantage:

Let the puppy know that you hurt when they bit you. You can be stern and say “no” or “ouch” to let the puppy know that it hurt you. The puppy will know that they have gone too far and they will think about what they’ve done.
Slowly take your hand away. Doing this too fast can cause more damage.

If they bite you again, repeat your verbal reaction. Step away from the puppy for a while. They will realize that you don’t appreciate what they did and will figure out that you don’t want to be around them.

Redirect them by giving them a toy to chew on.

Reward the puppy while the toy is in their mouth.

Be consistent when you are training them to stop biting. Continue to let the puppy know that biting is not acceptable.

Your puppy should take an obedience class. That way he can interact with other dogs as he gets older. He will learn about limits with humans and other dogs.

As your puppy gets older and grows into a dog, he needs lots of physical activity, including regular exercise. Also, give them a chance to play outside so that he can get some fresh air. Make sure he gets to walk and play fetch. This can help them not think about biting.

Keep them on a schedule with their physical activities. They will get used to doing things and will come to enjoy doing them.

Keep young children out of harm’s way by not leaving them alone with the puppy. The puppy may still be in the learning stage and may bite the child.

Refrain from aggressive behavior with them. That can influence them to continue biting.

If they continue to bite despite your best efforts, contact your veterinarian or a dog trainer for assistance.

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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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