Canine body language is something we all think we have figured out. Man’s best friend is intertwined with our culture for so long that we’ve picked up on a lot of it. However, some things are a bit more elusive and that can be dangerous. Take a look at our guide to canine body language to be sure that you and yours are safe around dogs.
Separation anxiety in dogs is a really common issue that occurs when owners leave their dog alone for extended periods of time. It can result in a variety of behaviours such as barking, whining, destructive behaviours, and much more.
It’s important to understand and stress that these dog behaviours are not intentional, but are a result of your dog’s severe fear and anxiety. This anxiety is far more likely to appear in a less confident dog . However luckily, there are a wide range of tips and techniques that can be used to help reduce the severity of anxiety in dogs.
Ultimately, with the right combination of care and training, many dogs should be able to feel more comfortable and secure when you leave the house. In this post, we take a quick look at some common ways to decrease separation anxiety and other separation related behaviours in your dog. Read on to learn more, and if you need puppy separation anxiety and dog’s separation anxiety training in Glasgow, get in touch with Pawsitive Solutions today.
Provide Lots of Mental and Physical Stimulation
Typically, most dogs who are prone to experiencing separation anxiety usually benefit from a stimulating environment in which they are kept constantly engaged and stimulated. A great way to provide your dog with physical and mental stimulation is to include lots of exercise and physical activity in their daily schedule.
Exercise can reduce the stress and your dog’s anxiety. What’s more, you can also stimulate your dog with different toys and playtime with you, the owner. Playing with your dogs tend to reduce their boredom and give them something to focus on other than their anxiety.
Help Your Dog Build Coping Skills
Another way to help reduce separation anxiety in your dog is to teach it coping skills and how to better deal with stress. Other dogs who suffer from symptoms of separation anxiety usually need assistance with learning how to cope with being away from their owners. They need to be left on their own for short periods so they learn you will return. Teach separation ideally at an early age to avoid issues later.
There are few things that you can do, as an owner, to help improve your dog’s coping skills. For example, teach specific techniques for coping with anxiety such as sitting in their bed and not your knee for short periods during the day. Stop them following you everywhere around your home.
Provide Consistent Leadership
In addition to this, you need to give your adult dog proper leadership and guidance. This can be done through consistent verbal and physical reinforcement of good dog’s behavior, as well as setting clear rules and boundaries. You must be consistent with the implementation of any rules and boundaries
When you give your dog constant leadership and attention, it will help them to become more comfortable in their personal environment, and equip them with the confidence to cope better when left alone.
We Teach you How to Help your Dog to Cope with Separation Anxiety
Teaching your dog to separate from you for short periods is a brilliant way to reduce the level of anxiety that your dog currently experiences. Ideally, you should begin this training at a young age, as it will teach your dog to become more comfortable with being left alone for short periods of time.
Here at Pawsitive Solutions, we are a leading dog trainer in Glasgow providing the best dog behavioural service in the area, as well as across Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire. Our experienced dog trainers can work with your dog to improve its behaviour and say goodbye to separation anxiety.
If you’d like to learn more about our dog training in Glasgow, then please contact us today on 07842 050 998 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.
I thought you might find it interesting to read the actual e-mail sent to me by the owner describing her dogs issues and what we did to resolve the problem.
I have two Cocker Spaniels, both girls who haven’t been spayed. Rosie is 8years old and Libby is 2 years.
I have had both dogs from puppies.
This has never been a problem before but recently the older dog Rosie growls as soon as the younger one goes near and it then develops into a fight and is very distressing. I got bitten the last time trying to separate them.
My vet and other people tell me I will need to re-home one of the dogs but I can’t do that. I love them both and couldn’t bear to loose one of them although I know it would probably be kinder.”
The Solution we put in place
When I went out to see the dogs and owner in their home environment it was very obvious to me that Libby in particular was doing what she wanted in the house. She would race past Rosie to get out the door first, She would jump up on the settee before Rosie, the owner had to stand between the dogs at feeding time or Libby (who wolfed her food down) would rush over to Rosie and try to get her food.
Contrary to what most owners think, when their dogs show aggression, these dogs did not hate one another. They used to play happily together. Something had gone wrong.
In this case the younger dog (Libby) had matured and was challenging the older dog for the lead position in the house hold. Rosie was not prepared to let Libby take charge so she had been warning her for months by growling and eventually this escalated into regular fights.
This is classic pack behaviour whether in a domestic situation or in the wild Depending on the temperament of the animal if they think the top job is vacant they will challenge for leadership. (The majority of dogs of the same sex live harmoniously together but on occasions different temperaments can produce rivalry)
Rosie was simply putting the younger dog in its place and she needed support from the owner.
Rules and boundaries were put in place. Lots of one to one work was done with Libby and she responded well She was taught not to jump on people and furniture. She learnt to wait behind the owner going in and out of doors, We did lots of basic focus exercises where she had to give eye contact and respond to the owners commands. Both dogs were fed separately.
Libby started to see that the owner was taking control and the top job was filled ! She calmed right down and became a much happier dog. Her temperament meant she was never a natural leader anyway.
Rosie saw she had support from her owner and did not need to chastise Libby again so severely, a little growl occasionally was all that was needed.
The owner of these dogs was committed to keeping her dogs together and worked very hard at changing how she handled them. It was not always easy and took a bit of time but both dogs now live happily together and the owner knows she must retain the ‘top job’ in the household.
I was recently called out to a 4 year old Collie cross called Dougal who could not be left alone at all or he would bark and destroy the house until the owners returned.
The owner had re-homed the dog from one of the rescue centres 4 months earlier. She knew the dog had not been ill treated but had been handed into the centre because his elderly owner had gone into a care home.
The owner lived on her own and was at the end of her tether when she called me for help.
She had tried going out and had come back to complete devastation The pillows on the chairs were no more ,a book left on the table top was ripped to pieces, ornaments had been knocked over and broken and the front door was severely clawed Dougal was bleeding from his paws and needed to see the vet.
The second time she left him in the kitchen and returned after a short time to the dustbin emptied over the floor and yet another door clawed.
This time a friendly neighbour told her her had barked almost constantly since she left.
I suspected Dougal had never been taught to separate from his elderly owner and had been given everything he wanted.
Dogs with Separation anxiety can be helped but it is not a quick fix and does require total commitment from the owner.
The first thing we did was tighten up on the owners leadership skills. Dougal was off the couch and into his bed on the floor. I showed the owner how Dougal had her so well trained he got a pet when he asked for it. He went to the back door and barked and was let out instantly.
He barked at the front door when anyone rang the bell and sat for hours watching out the front window so he could bark at any person or dog passing near the house. He also had the annoying habit of following the owner wherever she went – like a shadow.
We did lots of work teaching Dougal he did not need to bark at doors, windows etc. We stopped him guarding the front door and reduced the amount of following he was doing.
We then had to teach Dougal to separate from the owner when she was in the house. Every day he was put in a separate room for 20 minutes and was corrected for any barking. Slowly he began to settle on his own in different rooms. We put a dog guard on the kitchen door (he seemed to get more distressed when the door was closed) and started to leave him for short periods. He was always left with a bone or Kong toy filled with carrot or apple.
This is the tough bit as the owner had to regularly set up leaving situations and wait quietly outside for any barking. She would then have to go back and firmly correct Dougal when he started to bark. Dougal had to make a bad association with his barking (i.e when he starts he gets told off).
It took a good few weeks of hard work but gradually Dougal relaxed and learnt that his owner would come back. We also of course were teaching Dougal that the owner was in charge not him.
Dougal is still an anxious dog (he has a nervous temperament) but he can now relax and let his owner leave the house without him. His owner has also got her life back!
Is your dog suffering from Severe Separation Anxiety? Contact us today using our enquiries page – Enquiries