Separation anxiety in dogs: stop paying so much attention to your pet
Separation anxiety in dogs can confuse you as an owner. Every time you leave the house, your dog starts barking frantically and scratching at the door. Every time you pick up your keys and put on your coat, your dog will start to become uncontrollable. While you’re gone, your dog will chew on furniture, pee on your carpet, poop on your shoes, destroy your indoor plants, rip your curtains, dig holes in your backyard, the list goes on and on.
This is not only frustrating, but it can affect your life enormously. You may not be able to go on vacation or leave the house unsupervised except during work hours without worrying about your dog destroying the place or sitting alone. Unless you can find someone to take care of the dog, then your life literally revolves around your pet and that is unacceptable.
So what do you do about separation anxiety in your dog? The first step is to understand the two main manifestations of separation anxiety.
1) Anxiety: This behavior manifests itself through whining, howling, rapid breathing and snorting, as well as uncontrollable spinning. Another key trait of anxiety is chewing excessively, EVERYTHING. Walking along a fence line or across a hallway or near windows are other good examples of anxiety.
2) Insecurity: This type of separation anxiety in dogs usually manifests itself through urinating and defecating on the floor while you are away, although this behavior is not exclusively reserved for the insecure dog with separation anxiety (as in the case of a dominant dog). , which will continually “mark” its territory through urination) is the main trait. For example, if you are putting on your coat and preparing to leave and your dog automatically urinates on the ground, it is unsafe. Another sign of this is when your dog tilts his head back as you prepare to walk out the door so that he appears in a ‘U’ shape.
Now that you understand these two main factors of separation anxiety in dogs, the next step is to fix it, but how do you do it?
First of all, dogs are not initially prone to separation anxiety. Instead, they become anxious and insecure due to the way you, as the owner, treat your dog. The worst mistake you can make as an owner is to consider your dog as your best friend, your baby or your equal companion. No matter what breed of dog you have, even stray dogs, the fact is that dogs are man’s best friend because they perform a service for humans and humans reward dogs with food, shelter, and survival.
Due to this simple fact, dogs have developed an amazing ability to observe us humans. They know how we feel because of our tone of voice and our body language and the energy we project. By simply observing us, they learn to control us. To get what they want, which is food, attention, and exercise, they will manipulate us. They are very good at it. The problem is that you, as the owner, give in too easily to your dog because of your feelings, but when it comes to dogs, feelings are irrelevant – there is only leader and follower.
You can’t attribute human feelings to dogs, dogs don’t feel anything. Dogs want to be told what to do and how to do it. Your dog is the follower. You are the leader. When you start caring for the dog, the dog takes on an unwanted role: that of leader.
Many people, when they have a puppy or even an adult dog, care more about how cute the dog is. Most people, when they have a dog, want some kind of companion, something to fill a void. However, dogs only see humans as weak when they think “you’re so cute” or “I feel sorry for you.”
What does this have to do with separation anxiety in dogs? Everything. Here are some scenarios that can cause separation anxiety in dogs:
– You let your dog sleep with you at night
– When you get home, you immediately pet your dog, greet him, feed him and hug him
– Never correct your dog because you think it is “bad”, because you think you are going to hurt your dog physically or hurt your dog’s feelings or because your dog is so “cute”. Also, even if you try to control your dog, you do so inconsistently and weakly.
– You do not exercise your dog for at least 45 minutes a day
These simple actions on your behalf, as the owner, can cause your dog extreme separation anxiety. The only way to fix it is by being the leader. Never let your dog sleep with you at night, instead buy him a dog bed or cage and let him sleep in the hallway.
When you come home from work or being out for the day and your dog approaches you excited, don’t pet your dog, pick him up, feed him, and snuggle up to him. Instead, have your dog sit up and calm down. Ignore your dog completely until he has calmly left. Then, and only then, are you allowed to give affection. This makes your dog less attached to you and more dependent on himself.
Whenever your dog exhibits what you consider to be bad behavior, correct it EVERY TIME, not just sometimes and not just when angry. You must remain calm whenever you correct your dog and never do it when he is angry or tired.
Above all, exercise your dog. Exercise is the most important part of decreasing separation anxiety in your dog, especially when chewing, urinating, defecating, and barking. Dogs need to walk like fish need to swim and birds need to fly. The problem with many dog owners is that they just don’t feel like exercising their dog properly. And unlike people, dogs cannot turn to cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol to satisfy their cravings, so they begin to chew, bark, howl, and develop separation anxiety to draw out their pent-up energy.
No matter what type of dog you have, a brisk 45 minute walk every day, without missing a day, will help cure your dog of separation anxiety. As Caesar Milan always emphasizes “The Dog Whisperer”, “Exercise, discipline and affection – in THAT order”. You have to exercise your dog, and then you have to make your dog do something to deserve your affection, which can be food, petting, petting, or anything else. If your dog is tired and disciplined and does not have excess accumulated energy, then he will not have separation anxiety.
Instead of wondering if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety and what to do about it, start observing yourself. Chances are, you are paying too much attention to your dog, not giving him enough exercise, and rewarding your dog for bad behavior without any discipline.