We are all familiar with the way our dogs behave when we leave home. They either act as if we might never come back and start running around nervously trying to find us, or they turn their attention to the house and nibble away at the sofa cushions to relieve their anxiety. Separation anxiety is a natural thing in dogs, and understanding and managing the phenomenon is necessary to ensure peace of mind for yourself and comfort for your pup.
Understanding Separation Anxiety
Our dogs and pets can make powerful emotional bonds with us, which leads them to act in specific ways that they think is necessary for our protection. This includes trying to keep us in their field of vision all the time. Although our pets do this with good intentions, it can have some unwanted consequences, especially if you sometimes have to leave your dog alone at home. Not being able to see and protect you makes your pup anxious, and they may express this anxiety in a variety of means.
How to Manage Separation Anxiety in your Dog
Managing separation anxiety has much to do with making your dog understand that it is okay to be alone and that you, the pet parent, are fine and okay when you leave the house. It also involves teaching your pet to respect their surroundings and engage with constructive actions to pass the time. To teach your dog to be comfortable while alone at home you can do the following:
Encourage Independent Play
When you are at home, encourage independent play and free time where your dog can go around the house or the yard playing by themselves without your involvement. Being too controlling of the dog’s actions also creates a need for approval that is lacking when you leave the house, making your dog too dependent on your commands.
Use Toys for Comfort
Use toys and familiar objects to create a safe space for your dog in a part of the house where you feel that the dog will be most comfortable. You can use this space to leave your dog occupied and feeling relaxed when you have to leave the house for a small period. After a while, your dog will attach a feeling of comfort and safety to those toys, and you can use them to keep your pet friend calm when you have to leave for more extended periods.
Reward Good Behavior
Teaching a pet is all about creating positive associations and rewarding good behavior with positive reinforcement. If you see that your pup is behaving well and managing their emotions while alone, you should reward their effort and good behavior with encouragement and treats to show them that you support their efforts.
Separation anxiety can be easily managed if the causes behind them can be understood. We always maintain that there is no time and place where being abusive towards your pet is okay. Always try to handle difficulties in raising your pet friend with patience and a calm demeanor. With the right amount of love and care, everything is possible.