What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety occurs when dogs are left alone.
With lots of us going back into the office after a year of working from home, you may start to see signs that your dog is experiencing stress.
What are the Signs?
Dogs will typically start to display anxious behaviours within the first half an hour of a guardian leaving – but signs can also take mere minutes to show.
They may bark, pace or have toilet accidents in the house. They might become destructive or try to escape.
How To Respond
It’s important not to punish bad behaviour, dogs will start to not only stress about you leaving but also your bad mood when you return!
Instead, reinforce good behaviour and distract from what is causing their anxiety.
Our Top Tips for Reducing Separation Anxiety
Here are some good steps to take to reduce separation anxiety:
- Downplay goodbye and hello – wait for your dog to be calm before greeting them and don’t make a big fuss when you leave.
- Leave them with distraction like a Kong toy stuffed with treats. Just remember to take this allowance from their daily food intake. Take the toy away when you get home so they look forward to the special ‘treat’ toy when you leave.
Keep them physically and mentally exercised. Try a walk 30 minutes before you go out so they’re more inclined to relax and concentrate on food when you leave.
- Leave them with something that smells like you (dirty laundry works!).
- Consider crate training, not only will it keep your dog out of trouble but the ‘den’ quality can make them feel safe.
- Consider a doggy camera, there are even fancy ones which will throw a treat or let you talk to your pets at home! Just be careful they don’t become reliant on you talking to them through the camera to keep them calm.
- Leave calming music on for them, you can find several hours of calming dog music on YouTube!
- Remember a dog shouldn’t be left for more than 4 hours alone, so if you can’t pop home at lunch, then contact your local dog walker (making sure they are fully insured!) to arrange for them to do the middle of the day visit.
In cases of severe anxiety we recommend you consult a professional dog behaviourist.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s anxiety, please call us on 01435 864422 or book an appointment..