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How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Dogs Here Are The Ways

By AK, 19 May

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There aren’t words to describe the heartbreak that comes with leaving a dog with separation anxiety. Hearing their whines as you lock the door behind you makes you feel guilty the entire time you are gone. Not to mention, returning home to destroyed furniture and shoes is extremely frustrating. Handling a dog who has separation anxiety takes a great deal of patience and understanding, but it’s important to remember your dog is not misbehaving out of spite.

Dogs are social animals, meaning they do best when they are around their “pack.”

Therefore, it’s only natural that your dog wants to be around you at all times. However, some dogs do better left alone than others. Behaviors that dogs with separation anxiety can exhibit while alone include:

  • Scratching at doors or walls.
  • Destructive chewing.
  • Excessive barking or whining.
  • Going to the bathroom inside the house.

There are many options available to dog owners, but often a trial and error approach is needed to determine the most effective strategy. Read on to learn about the choices you have when it comes to treating your dog’s separation anxiety.

1Simple Solutions

If your dog's anxiety is not too severe, a simple solution may bring your dog some relief. When you leave the house, you can try:

  • Leaving out an article of clothing with your scent for your dog to smell.
  • Reduce the significance of your arrival and departure. If you don't treat leaving the house or coming home as a big deal, your dog may learn not to as well.
  • Administering dog calming chews with CBD a few minutes before you need to leave the house.

If your dog’s separation anxiety persists, more extensive training may be necessary to curb the undesirable behavior.

Simple Solutions

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2Training

Some dogs find relief from their separation anxiety through behavioral training. Because your dog’s undesirable behavior stems from their anxiety, punishment is almost always a bad idea. Instead, positive reinforcement is needed to calm your dog and reward them for good behavior.

3Comfort Spot

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Your anxious dog should learn to have a “safe space” where they can lay down and feel comfortable even when you are gone. Help your animal by investing in a dog bed or crate if you don’t already have one. Teach your dog to associate this spot with a reward by giving daily commands such as “go to your bed/crate” and rewarding your dog when he complies with a treat or direct attention in the form of pets. Rewards teach your animal to associate their bed with your affection, and they will gravitate toward this area when they are anxious.

Training

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4Alone Time

Because dogs naturally want to be with their owners, sometimes they need to practice being alone. Try leaving your dog alone in a designated room (free of furniture and clothing they can destroy) for short intervals. Remember to give them something to keep them busy such as a toy or a bone. If your dog’s anxiety is extreme, Start by leaving them alone for 5 minutes and slowly extend the time. While you are doing this training, do not give your dog the toy or bone you use for this exercise when you leave the house, or she could come to associate it with her anxiety.

5Reduce Triggers

Many dogs experience triggers in your departure rituals. Such rituals include:

  • Gathering your purse
  • Picking up your keys
  • Putting on your shoes
  • Putting on a coat

If your dog starts getting nervous when you start doing any of these things, consider reducing the trigger by completing your departure ritual up to five times a day WITHOUT leaving. This will stop your dog from associating these actions with their anxiety.

Comfort Spot

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CBD for Dogs

If your dog does not respond to any behavioral changes or training, you may want to consider CBD. Because research on CBD is limited, most vets will not recommend it to treat any condition. Still, preliminary studies show CBD has the potential to reduce anxiety in humans and animals alike.

CBD products come in multiple forms, including calming dog chews for your pet and can help reduce separation anxiety and the destructive behaviors that go with it. CBD typically takes 5-30 minutes to begin working on animals, so give your animal a calming dog chew in this time frame, and you should see a noticeable difference in their behavior and their ability to relax.

Seeing your dog anxious makes leaving the house difficult. It’s even harder feeling angry at your dog for acting out and then feeling guilty because you know he can’t control his behavior. There are multiple behavioral changes and training options available to treat separation anxiety in dogs as well as natural remedies in the form of CBD. It’s up to you to try out different options and determine what is best for your animal.

Dog anxiety

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