Separation anxiety occurs when a dog exhibits behavior problems and distress when separated from its owner. This may happen when you leave your home to go to work for the day or go out to run some errands. Separation anxiety is more than just whining or mischief when you leave, as it is considered a serious condition and can cause frustration.
There are certain dog breeds that are prone to separation anxiety, such as Labrador Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, and Beagles. Beagles, particularly, are known for their sociable nature with their human companions and are susceptible to separation anxiety. This is a detail to keep in mind especially when you are looking for beagle puppies for sale. Fortunately, there are comprehensive guides that can teach you more about different breeds.
To help your pup deal with separation anxiety, it helps to first know more about the condition and what may cause your dog to act this way. Common causes of separation anxiety include:
- Sudden changes in routine.
- Change of ownership or the loss of a family member.
- Transitioning from a shelter to a home.
- Being left alone for the first time, especially when the pup is used to being around people.
You can tell your four-legged companion is suffering from separation anxiety through the following symptoms:
- Chewing and destruction of household objects when left alone, which may also result in self-injury, such as scraped paws or damaged nails.
- Persistent barking or howling that doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone.
- Escape attempts in an area where the dog is confined when left alone.
- Pacing in circular patterns or straight lines when left alone by the owner.
If you think your pup may have separation anxiety, we have a few tips to help ease its anxiety and deal with the condition:
Desensitize with Counter-Conditioning
As a dog owner, part of your responsibilities is to raise a physically and mentally healthy dog. Hence, teaching your pup to be comfortable being alone and to form positive associations with new experiences will help deal with its separation anxiety. One way to ease anxiety over being separated from you is to teach your pup that separation has its rewards.
Start by leaving your pup for short periods in a different room at home. Over time, gradually lengthen the amount of time you are gone. If your furry companion starts going into stress mode when you leave the room, counter the reaction by using a treat that it really loves. When leaving, use signs like putting on your shoes or the sound of your keys jingling to desensitize your pup. This can teach your dog to worry less about being separated from you.
Begin Crate Training
Your dog’s crate should be its ally and can be a training tool to assist with several challenges. If used appropriately, it can provide your dog a safe, quiet place to relax. Teach your dog to associate the crate with things it enjoys, such as treats or chew toys. This will help your pup feel safer and more comfortable when left in their crate.
The goal with crate training is to teach your pup to be comfortable being alone without your presence. So, watch out for signs your furry companion is feeling restless or exhibiting signs of anxiety. Gradually increasing time spent in the crate will help teach your pup to enjoy being alone.
Go for a Walk
Another way to ease your pup’s anxiety is to go for a brisk walk before you leave the house. Upon returning home, reward your dog’s calm energy with food and water. While your pup may need to rest before eating, it can benefit from hydration. Doing so will allow you to slip away while your dog is in a quiet and resting mode. This neat little trick is most effective when you need to leave the house for a short while and can also be used to train your dog to get used to you leaving.
Maintain a Cool Demeanor
When you are about to leave and your four-legged companion starts to stress out and act clingy, avoid encouraging the behavior. Instead, encourage independence by maintaining a cool exterior. Playing it cool when you leave and return to your home will keep the environment calm for your pup.
Although you can say goodbye and greet your dog with love, avoid going over the top or becoming too emotional. Your pet can pick up on your emotions and will respond appropriately. Hence, keeping things calm will discourage your pup from getting too worked up.
These are a few ways you can deal with your dog’s separation anxiety. By practicing these tips regularly, you can gradually help your four-legged companion get used to being alone at home.