Solutions for Separation Anxiety in Dogs | Dog Walker in Orlando, FL
Dog Walking in Winter Park, Maitland and Casselberry. Florida
True separation anxiety is very taxing on your dog. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of separation anxiety, what should you do? First, if your dog is messing in the house or showing any other abnormal behavior, take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical problems. There are a number of medical conditions and even some medications that can be causing the problem. Rule out other behavior problems such as submissive urination, marking, boredom, puppy teething, or territorial barking. Once separation anxiety has been confirmed, there are several things you can do it treat it.
Counter Conditioning & Desensitization
This specific technique is a process where you change the dog’s reaction from the unwanted behavior to one that’s relaxed and calm. It’s done by associating the fearful situation with something the dog loves. Your dog will begin to associate this “reward” with you leaving and will lessen his anxiety. Desensitization is the process of exposing the animal to a stimulus beginning at a very low intensity. Counter conditioning and desensitization need to be used together to be effective and are often used to change unwanted behavior, especially fearful and aggressive behaviors.
Treats, Toys & the 30 Minute Rule
In this situation are important for two reasons: 1) It keeps your dog busy doing something they enjoy, instead of barking, howling, or destroying your home 2) it teaches them to associate good things with being alone in the house. This is the power of classical conditioning and allows us to resolve the issue for the long run.
30 Minute Rule
Studies have shown that the most intense period of distress for dogs with separation anxiety occur during the first 30 minutes after their owner leaves. Ultimately, if you can keep your dog happily occupied during this 30 minute window, they often will not become upset(in most cases).
We need something that is exceptionally exciting and delicious for our dogs, so that they will be willing to eat it while you’re gone. This challenge here is that most dogs will not have an appetite eat they are anxious or upset, and so, this is can really be quite a challenge! It’s actually quite difficult to find a treat that meets the criteria of stinky, delicious, safe and can last a long time. Coming sense says you may not want to leave them with a bully stick, cow ears, or anything that can be a choking hazard, without supervision. If in doubt, give your dog a refillable puzzle toys like a Kong or Twist-n-Treat.
More Helpful Ideas
- Make your arrivals and departures as boring and nonchalant as possible. When it’s time to leave, simply step out the door without a fuss – it’s tempting to give lots of kisses and reassurances that everything will be fine, but unfortunately this often makes dogs more anxious. Same thing when you come home – walk in, put your stuff down, say a nonchalant “hey you” to your dog, and go about your business. The less fanfare, the better.
- Increase the amount of exercise your dog is getting each day. Get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to take him for a nice long walk, if you can. A tired dog will have an easier time relaxing than one who’s under-exercised and raring to go. Also, consider a dog walker during the day to break up the time for your dog. This is a good solution to help them gain trust, reassurance and confidence that their day can be just as fun and active as any other day.
- It might surprise you to learn that confinement makes things worse for dogs – so if your dog is currently crated or confined to a small room while you’re gone, consider trying to leave them loose in the house if you can. In some cases, this may not be possible, especially if your dog is prone to destroying things while you’re gone, but this is a goal that you will want to work towards as part of your long-term plan.
How Holistic Supplements Can Help: CBD Oil for Pets
One of my favorite suggestions I offer to all of my clients is the miraculous CBD oil. Dog owners who inquire about CBD oil have all different types of reasons for doing so. Most of these paw parents are searching for a holistic approach to help and heal their pet. CBD oil is known to be the main ingredient in many treatment options that provide internal as well as external care for humans and pets. It is also available in many different forms such as edibles, tincture, oils or even creams. We sell it right here on our website! Here are many different uses for CBD oil and health conditions that can benefit from it:
- Cancer Symptoms
- Appetite Loss
- General Anxiety
- Separation Anxiety
- Inflammation After Surgery
- Managing Pain
- High Stress
Thoughts on Prevention
As with so many things in life, it’s far easier to set your dog up for success from the get-go vs. dealing with a separation anxiety issue once it’s already established.
- Make good use of the treats and brain toys! Don’t wait until you see evidence of a problem to start this – do it from day one so that your puppy learns right away to enjoy his quiet alone time when you’re gone.
- Videotape your dog. Get into the habit of doing this regularly to make sure that everything is going well. It’s a good idea to do this once a week regardless, even with older dogs who seem fine. Separation anxiety can develop at any point in their life, so don’t assume that things are okay just because they have been free of it in the past.
- Be proactive! If you do happen to see some mild whining, pacing or any signs of anxiety in your camera, you may need to make some changes to your current routine – perhaps leaving more attractive snacks to keep your dog busy, or going for a longer walk in the morning to help tire them out before leaving.
If your efforts don’t seem to be working, please take more definitive action to help your dog before things get worse – make an appointment with your veterinarian, or trusted/professional trainer who has experienced with separation anxiety in particular.
About Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Company | Winter Park, FL
Rachel has been working in the Pet Care Industry for the last few years and started her career in a local Canine Health & Fitness Center that also incorporated canine hydrotherapy, dog daycare & boarding. While working at Rocky’s Retreat, under the previous ownership of Sherri Cappabianca and Toby Gass, Rachel became certified in canine hydrotherapy and they taught her everything she knows about canine care, hydrotherapy, health and fitness.
Rachel is currently the owner/founder of Dip’n Dogs Canine Hydrotherapy and Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Service in the Orlando, FL area. Dip’n Dogs provides water therapy for dogs with any orthopedic condition, degenerative disease, injury or obesity. Walk’n Dogs provides mobile in-home visits for dog walking. Each walk is customized to fit each dog and their needs. All walks take place at your home, in your neighborhood. Rachel caters to the Winter Park, Baldwin Park, Maitland andCasselberry areas.
Rachel is also the owner and dog mom to her two beagles, Leo and Lola.