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Dog Care Info, Issue 42
July 30, 2012
Dogs with separation anxiety show distress and behaviour problems when they're left alone. The most common behaviors include:
Set up a video camera and record your dog when you leave the house to help you assess your dogs behaviours.
Digging and scratching at doors or windows. Destructive chewing Vocalization - Howling, barking, and whining Urination and defecation
Is it separation anxiety?
The behavior occurs primarily when he's left alone and typically begins soon after you leave. He follows you from room to room whenever you're home. He displays frantic greeting behaviours. He reacts with excitement, depression, or anxiety to your preparations to leave the house. He greets you in over excitement when you arrive home.
What to do?
Work with a professional if possible on a possible Systematic Desensitization program. This will include working with possible triggers that sets your dog off already even before you leave. These can include you taking a shower, picking up your shoes, picking up your handbag and keys. You will then work on getting your dog to be in a neutral and relaxed mood when these triggers are present. You can also introduce treats to these trigger when systematically desensitizing but it will not be contingent on behaviour it will just be there to help your dog associate something positive with the action or trigger.
It will go something like this…
Start to figure out what is the first trigger to your dog.
Touch your bag; no your dog is already over his threshold.
Take a step back; before you pick up your bag, you brush your hair. Touch the brush, yes, your dog seems fine. Pick up the brush he is still doing well, brush your hair he is still doing well.
This is a slow process and professional help might be needed to help you through the steps.
When you get ready to leave, you will start by only touching the doorknob, opening the door, closing the door for a few seconds, starting the car, driving down the road and come back.
These steps will happen over a few days even a few weeks and in the meantime, you must still be able to leave your home. Instead, while in training see if you could arrange for a dog sitter or take your dog to a doggy day care. You might take a few steps back in training every now and then as you might just need to rush off somewhere, but do try to limit this as much as possible.
Leave an item of clothing of you with your dog as well. Do not make a fuss over your dog when you leave the house or return. Only give your dog attention once he has calmed down after your return. Leave a chew treat or favourite toy with your dog in a safe area. If the separation anxiety is severe, your dog might not be interested in chewing on the treat you can also scatter food around for your dog to find.
Engage in mind stimulating activities with your dog like hide and seek and increase his exercise.
Contact us if you think that your dog might be suffering from Separation Anxiety
We are having a book launch along with our annual open day on the 4th of August! The titles are: Winter Dogs, Living with Huskies as Pet Dogs & Shaping Your Dog-The Positive Way. Author: Louise Basson Also come and view our boarding and training facility and our brand new office and dog shop. Open day will be from 9:00 – 12:00
Click on the image for more information.
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