As I lock the door and walk down the steps to my car, I see him looking at me out the window. His eyes look so sad, and I really don’t want to leave but I have to.”Will you ever come back for me?” his eyes say, and I drove off feeling a bit of guilt. Sound familiar to anyone?
Our world today requires that most of us go to a job, the market, the gym, etc. and leave our pets behind at home. Even though our dogs are our family we cannot take them everywhere we go, especially big dogs. As a result, some dogs get overly nervous and when they left all alone.
Dogs are social animals that form strong bonds with people, so it is not surprising that they may feel somewhat anxious when separated from their social group, meaning their human family.
Most dogs adapt well to the typical daily separation from their owners. However, each dog is as unique as their paw print. Dogs act like us, learn from us, and they pick up on our personality. Are you making your dog anxious?
It is important to realize that dogs with separation anxiety are not doing these things to get even with the owner for leaving, out of boredom, or due to lack of training. These dogs are not being destructive out of boredom. We must work each day to train our dogs to be able to entertain themselves whether we are with or without them.
The dog with separation anxiety shows signs of distress when left alone and over-attachment when the owner is present. What can you do if your dog suffers from this problem?
Do not make a big deal out of arriving home and departing. Dogs live in the present, by making an overly dramatic reunion with your pet may be what you want to do, it is not what will help them to cope with your absence best in the future.
Try to break the cycle of anxiety your pet experiences first with short absences. Upon returning to a “normal” home, you reward your pet with praise and affection, again after ignoring them for 3-5 minutes first. They will probably not understand this at first, but will learn to calm down in order to be rewarded and praised by you. Repeat this several times, and they should begin to learn and expect that being “good” at home.
Give your dog a chew toy like a long lasting food treaty when you go out. They will associate this special treat with your departure. Your dog will have to work at removing the entire treat, so it will pleasantly occupy his/her time. Take the time to think of their needs and both of you will benefit together in the long run. If all else fails call me or another licensed, bonded and insured pet sitting professional.
Auntie Gail is a certified veterinarian assistant and has a pet sitting and dog walking service in the area. She can be reached for a free meet/greet at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at her website: www.auntiegailshappytails.com
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