Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety, just as some kids do. They can display this behavior in several ways including trying to escape from the house, going to the bathroom indoors, chewing or howling. The good news is that there are some things you can do to manage this behavior. Here are some solutions and ways to manage separation anxiety in your dog.
Minimize the amount of time they are left alone– Dogs that have separation anxiety do better in households where the people are not away for long periods of time. While no one is home 24 hours a day, every single day, is to lessen the time they are home alone. If this isn’t possible all the time, there are other options to consider such as taking the dog with you if possible or arranging for someone to stay at your house with them in your absence.
Do not scold them for behavior related to the anxiety– If and when you come home to anxiety-related behavior like urinating in the house, don’t scold or punish them. While you may be upset, scolding them will only make their anxiety worse.
Avoid using crates to curb the anxiety– Crating your dog is not the answer to dealing with separation anxiety. While you may think that this is the ideal way to prevent your dog from peeing in the house or chewing up your living room couch, they will only panic more. Not to mention that they will likely try and escape from the crate, leading to potential distress or injuries, or even both. Confining them to one room or area of the home using gates is fine, crating is not.
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Keep your comings and goings low-key– When you leave the house and return home, these events should be calm with no emotions shown. When you leave, always use the same phrase like “I will be home later.” You don’t want to hug the dog or kiss them on the nose. Making a big deal out of leaving will only increase their anxiety. When you come home, let your dog settle down for 10 minutes or so before interacting with them.