By Nancy Cope
Approximately 10% to 15% of all dogs exhibit symptoms of dog separation anxiety. This is a serious condition that can sometimes require very extensive treatment.
In some rare instances, dog-owners have been forced to hire professional trainers to help their pets deal with separation anxiety symptoms, and in even rarer, very sad instances, dog-owners have been forced to place their pets in shelters because they simply could not take it anymore. The good news is that dog separation anxiety can be dealt with and cured; however, it may take a lot of patience, time, and effort.
Some of the symptoms of dog separation anxiety include consistent whimpering, gnawing on furniture and tearing up household items, excessive urination, diarrhea, nervousness, excessive barking, and an unwillingness to cooperate. One of the most saddening parts about dog separation anxiety in relation to the owner is that if the owner does not understand what is happening, he or she may dismiss their dog’s foreign behavior as rebellion.
Oftentimes, the dog that experiences separation anxiety has had a bad experience, such as abuse form another owner or perhaps has had to remain in a cage in a shelter or store for quite some time. Other times, dogs that experience separation anxiety do so when they have been living with other dogs who they now consider their “pack”. However, most anxious periods occur in dogs that are separated from their owners, even if it is only for a few hours per day.
Obviously, the symptoms exhibited from a pet’s separation anxiety can indeed get in the way of regular, everyday living. One of the best ways to break your pup from his bouts of anxiousness is to get him used to your dismissal.
This can easily be achieved by pretending that you are about to leave. Grab your keys and start putting on your shoes, coat, make-up etc. You might notice that this is when your dog’s symptoms begin flaring up. He may start whimpering, getting nervous, or maybe even howling. Whatever symptoms he exhibits, do not pay them any attention. Simply head for the door, and then stop, remain calm, and go back to what you were doing before.
Practicing the above method several times per day should help your dog to realize that there is nothing to fear. Eventually in time, your pet will forget about his anxiety and become used to the idea of your separation.
If after a few months, your pup is still showing symptoms of separation anxiety, more aggressive treatment may be required. You may need to take your pup for a trip to the vet for medication in order to get his symptoms under control. Although you may opt to give your pet medication, persist with your at-home methods. Keep in mind that this may take some time. However, if you remain persistent, treatment of the issue should not be difficult.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.