Dog Separation Anxiety Myth Busters

photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com

Experts

Dog Separation Anxiety Myth Busters

February 11, 2014

You’ve seen it.  Those angel doggie eyes looking up at you when you’re home from work and all is well in Fido Land.  Then poof!  You come home from a hard day’s work only to find your sofa has been, well, “rearranged” (and it’s all over the living room).


Surprisingly, it may not be the dog that needs training.  It may be you.

 

You see, we love our dogs so much that we allow them to rule.  Literally.  As we all know, dogs are by nature pack animals and react to the leader.  If you do not become the leader your dog will automatically assume he’s Top Dog.   He will “lead you” quite literally.  He will be the first at the door when the bell rings.  The first out the door when it’s time to go.  Demanding to go outside ten times a night when he really has no interest—except to see if you’ll do it and he rules.


This is called passive influence and is a good place to start when you’re either training a puppy or retraining an old friend.

 

As with all successful training.  Gently but Firmly is the rule of thumb.  Oh, and you have to become a dog.  You must express leadership in a canine way so your dog understands the directive clearly.  While you’re at home don’t let your dog stick like glue to your every movement.  For example, put a comfortable bed or mat in another room or even across the room from you and order your dog to stay (even if it’s just for a short time). 
Or hide a few treats outside and let your dog forage in the back yard on his own for a time—he’ll love it.


The crate is good too, but again, gently.  A crate should NEVER be used in relationship to punishment.  For the most part, dogs become destructive out of fear that you’re out there in the world without them to protect you.  So understand that and make them understand that as the leader of the pack, they are the protected one.  By putting your dog in his crate 15 minutes before you leave and ignoring him he begins to understand that you leaving isn’t the end of the world and reduces stress for everyone. And when you leave, just do it.  Don’t make a big fuss or give big hugs and kisses, even if you want to.  Just quietly go with the minimum of emotion.

 

Making your dog comfortable when you’re away is important, as dogs suffer stress related ailments just as humans do.  Breaking the cycle will make your dog feel content that his pack is safe…and his human is the leader.

photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com

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