If your pet goes into panic-mode when you leave the house, you might be at a loss with how to help. The amount of conflicting information out there can make it hard to know where to start. We’ll make it easy! Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to helping your dog say bye-bye to anxiety.
Let’s get the tactics that won’t work out of the way first!
- Punishment. If your dog acts out when they’re feeling anxious, punishment will not help and could make the situation worse. Many destructive behaviors are caused by anxiety and the only way to rid your pet of them is to solve the root of the problem.
- Crating. Unless they have been trained that their crate is their safe place, they will only engage in the same anxious behavior but in a smaller place.
- Getting another dog.If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, you might be tempted to get another dog to keep your anxious pup company while your gone. Although, we’re a big believer that the more dogs the merrier, getting a new pet won’t help your already anxious fur baby. Their anxiety stems from being separated from you, not being alone.
- Radio/ TV noise.Another example of something that sounds like it might help in theory, but isn’t effective in practice. When we’re talking about separation anxiety, in particular, noise in the house will do little to calm your anxious pet.
Now let’s get to the good stuff!
- No big goodbyes. Minimize your behavior when you leave and re-enter the house. Upon leaving, avoid long drawn-out goodbyes, and only speak to them in a normal, level tone. When returning, ignore your pet for the first few minutes before greeting them. It seems painful not to immediately snuggle up to them, but it will help your dog in the long run! Animals take cues from us about how to react. So, if the owner acts like it’s a big deal when they leave, so will the dog.
- Leave a piece of you. Yes, this makes them sound like a stalker (a very cute stalker), but leaving clothing that smells like you with your anxious pup, may help them cope with your absence
- Use distraction toys. Toys, like kongs, that take your pup awhile to figure out can help distract your pup while you take shorter trips out of the house.
- Make a safe place. Unlike crating, creating a larger safe space for your dog might be beneficial and keep them from any destructive tendencies they might have. Choose a room with windows and toys, so they have room to walk around but not free rein of the house.
- Try CBD. Studies show that CBD can help anxious dogs stay calm and relaxed, safely and naturally. CBD helps pups with anxiety by altering the brain’s receptor response to serotonin. Because of its all-natural properties, CBD doesn’t come with the negative side effects that often come with prescription medications.
All dogs are different which means not all cures for separation anxiety are compatible with every pet. It may take time to implement different tactics to determine which one works best for your dog. If all else fails, consult your vet for what steps to take next.