Leaving dogs alone is never easy, especially if they suffer with anxiety, yet many of us do these following 3 things to comfort them, that are in fact more likely to make our dog’s separation anxiety worse.
We mean well and we certainly don’t want to cause any more anxiety, yet somehow all our care and concern only seems to make their symptoms more acute.
So here are the 3 biggest mistakes we all make when our dogs are suffering from separation anxiety and how we can go about reducing our dog’s anxiety at being left alone instead!
Making a Big Fuss Of Your Dog Before You Leave
Most of us hate leaving our dogs home alone at the best of times and its worse if we know they’re going to be anxious while we’re out, so we try compensating for it by giving them a big old fuss before we leave, stroking and petting them and telling them not to worry because we won’t be gone long.
That’s mistake No 1, because all of the fuss just adds to their anxiety because they sense that something is up. Its a bit like your 5 year old child giving you a big hug, telling you they love you and that you’re not to worry about them while they’re gone, and then disappearing. It’s guaranteed to send your anxiety soaring.
Create Rituals To Help Them Cope
You know the kind of thing. We take them for a long walk (because we’ve been told if they’re tired they’ll worry less), we get out their favourite toys (because we hope they will distract them) and then give them lots of attention before we leave.
That’s mistake No 2, as they’ll soon associate these rituals with you going out, and it will start to add to their anxiety before you even leave. Some dog owners will understand this one as they only have to pick up their car keys or get a coat from the cupboard to get their dogs whining or pacing the floor.
Get Anxious Yourself Before You Leave
We know they hate it when we’re gone, we know they’re going to be pining, we’re feeling guilty, we’re not sure what kind of destruction we’ll come back to this time… and the more we think about it the more our own anxiety levels rise.
That’s mistake No 3, because dogs are highly sensitive and will pick up on our own anxiety, so if we start worrying before we even leave, they’ll know about it.
Look at it this way, if a dog can pick up on the signs that their owner is going to have an epileptic fit up to 40 minutes before it happens, they’ll definately pick up on your feelings of anxiety! And if you’re anxious, they’ll assume something is wrong which will only increase their own anxiety.
Less is Best When Leaving Dogs Alone
So when faced with the problem of separation anxiety in dogs, the biggest key is to remember that less is best! Treat going out in a very matter of fact way, like its not a big deal and the same when you return home. The less fuss you make, the more your dog will calm down. Find out more about the problems of dog anxiety and how to deal with it by clicking on the article link.