If you thought that separation anxiety only happens in humans, you are incorrect. Dog separation anxiety is a real problem and can affect your dog greatly. Fortunately, there are a few things you do to help your dog overcome this problem.
Why Separation Anxiety Occurs
Dogs who suffer separation anxiety get upset when you leave them alone, mostly because they feel they are the alpha and need to take care of you while you are gone. They can’t understand why you are not there and this anxiety can manifest itself in barking, whining or destruction of furniture and other things.
As much as you love your pet, you don’t want your dog to become too attached to you. The more independent your dog is, the less issues he will have when you leave him alone for a long stretch of time. If possible, have others in your house take care of the feeding tasks, so your dog doesn’t just see you as his sole source of love and attention. In addition, do not make it a big deal every time you leave the house or arrive back home.
Utilize Positive Reinforcement
It is important to utilize positive reinforcement methods so your dog can learn that it is not bad when he is alone. You need to reward good behavior and ignore his bad behavior. A good example would be for you to make your dog stay in the room, while you walk out of the room.
If he stays sitting there when you leave and come back into the room, give him a treat and a healthy rub on the head. He will start to learn that it is okay for him to be in one place and you in another.
Consistency is Key
Consistency is important, so practice this technique regularly during the day, going further and further away from your dog each time and taking longer and longer to return to your dog. Make sure to always reward him upon your return if he has stayed in place and waited patiently for you to come back.
if your dog gets up to follow you, take him back and remind him to stay there until you return. Under no circumstances should you punish your dog for not staying and following you as this will impact your training efforts in a negative way.
Whatever technique you use, make sure to always utilize positive reinforcement methods and create a level of consistency. Before you know it, your dog will become less attached and his separation anxiety will be non-existent.