Separation anxiety can be a real challenge to deal with. It can cause all sorts of destructive behavior and is never desirable for your dog. The following are some tips and strategies to use to reduce separation anxiety.
Some facts about dogs and separation anxiety:
Wild dogs live in a group that is together 365 days a year and 24 hours a day.
Dogs are not designed to be alone.
Depending on the individual dog, he probably has some level of separation anxiety.
For some owners that means their dog would rather have company then to be left alone. For other owners, this could mean that the dog has chewed up everything in the home and soiled on every conceivable inch of it.
Make coming and going very low keyed. Highly emotional homecomings and departures can instill feelings in your dog that being alone is a bad thing.
Give your dog a feeling that there is a reason why he is being left behind. Use the dog’s name, the word “okay” and sound very expectant in a phrase as you leave. The phrase must be positive (You be good! is not a positive phrase). A good example of a phrase to use is “Watch the house Cheese Steak, Okay?.” This will leave the dog with the feeling something is expected of him and give him a sense of purpose to why he is staying behind.
When leaving try to have calm body language and a gentle tone of voice. You don’t want to cue the dog that he should be worried by your body language. You are running late and stressed and that leaves you dog w/a feeling he should worry. Move slowly so as not to enact a flee response.
Never punish after the fact! This quite possibly will create, or already has created a behavioral problem.
Never intentionally make the dog excited when he is allowed to leave the house.
Your dog should have something appropriate to chew upon when you are gone. Chewing can be a tension releaser. When your dog is stressed over your not being home (or any reason), he can release that stress by chewing on something you provided him.