Dog Health

5 Effective Methods to Fix Dog Separation Anxiety

Dog separation anxiety is prevalent in our daily lives, whether you are aware of it or not. To know if you are suffering from this phenomenon, there are signs to look out for in your dog.

If your dog is constantly destroying your stuff, bite, chews, scratches, and digs when you are away, there is a huge probability that dog separation anxiety is at play.

This is a common occurrence in many pet owners and therefore you should not be alarmed. You are not alone.

A dog that suffers from Separation Anxiety will tend to follow you everywhere and will bark incessantly if they are unable to reach their owner. In more severe cases they can even display signs of sweaty paws.

Zak George, Professional TV Personality and Dog Trainer

If you think that your dog suffers from this ailment, we have compiled a list of helpful guides to help you keep this problem under wraps in no time. We have gone through every technique, video, and article to summarize everything in one place.

Cesar Millan's Method to Fix Dog Separation Anxiety

Cesar could be identified as one of the top dog trainers in the world. If you have the time, head on over to his detailed article on dog separation anxiety.

Cesar Millan

However, if you are hard pressed for time, below is the summarized version of it.

Cesar's Do's

  • Subject your dog to a session of exercise before leaving.
  • Teach him calmness and patience, and then reward him.
  • Train your puppy to love and get used to their crate.
  • Gradually get out of your dog’s vision with increasing time-limit every day.
  • Slowly train your dog to have more confidence and to be respectful.
  • Change your routine (use a different door, put your coat and bag in different places).
  • Randomize your routine (Put your bag and coat in various places and use different entrances/exits).
  • Have your TV on, or even your music player.

Cesar's Don'ts

  • Prescription drugs should be used sparingly as it is just a short-term fix, with no long term correctional capability.
  • Exit your house from an outlet where your dog is unable to see you.
  • Do your best not to communicate to your dog about your leaving the house.
  • When you come home, do not make a grand entrance.

Cesar explains that the primary reason in your dogs’ separation anxiety comes from us humans, especially when we make a big “Hoo Ha” when coming and leaving home.

You can calm your dog down by emitting lesser emotions, particularly when you leave the house.

According to Cesar, crate training helps in combating separation anxiety, but only if it is executed properly.

Although Cesar’s method is practical and it does work, there are instances where people do not prefer crate training. Let us delve deeper into other advice from more dog professionals.

Zak George's Method to Fix Dog Separation Anxiety

According to Zak, we must not blame our dogs when they are always looking to be with us, as this nature is in-built in their DNA. It simply means your dog has a very tight bond with you.

Zak George

Zak's Do's

  • Provide your dog with tons of physical and mental stimulation.
  • Deduce what is the cause that alerts your dog into thinking you are leaving the house.
  • Train your dog to be excited whenever you leave the house, by giving them toys and treats.
  • Associate a good treat with the jingling sound of your house keys.

Zak's Don'ts

  • Puppies get bored faster than adults, therefore do not mistake it for anxiety.
  • Train your dog even while you are watching TV or doing other things, not only when leaving the house.
  • In the beginning, do not leave them alone for extended periods.

Based on Zak’s research, he has surmised that the top reason for dog with separation anxiety is the lack of exercise. Zak suggests giving your dog an extended walk, right before you leave home.

If putting on your jacket excites your dog, start putting it on in a random manner throughout the day. Reward your dog while you are at it, so that they associate happy feelings whenever this happens.

Make the dog toys special by only providing it to your dog the moment you are away from home. This way, while you are away, your dog will be preoccupied with these “happy” toys.

The Humane Society's Method to Fix Dog Separation Anxiety

The Human Society provides tons of useful guides especially to new dog owners and dog adopters who are facing problems.

The Humane Society

The Humane Society's Do's

  • Leave your recently worn clothes with your dog when you leave.
  • Over-the-counter products that calm your dog can be used.
  • Distract your dog with toys that keep them busy.
  • Take your dog to a doggie daycare.
  • Bring your dog to a dog day-care center.
  • Have a friend play with you dog.
  • If possible, bring your dog to your workplace.

The Humane Society's Don'ts

  • Do not make departures and arrivals a big deal.
  • Avoid punishments.
  • Avoid buying another dog just to accompany the first one.
  • Avoid crate training for dogs with separation anxiety.
  • Do not rely on radio/TV noise.

If you notice, there are discrepancies between Cesar Millan’s and the Humane Society’s methods. The latter is disproving many of the methods the Cesar Millan is advocating.

Crate training is advocated in Cesar’s advice, but according to the Humane Society this will just make your dog feel anxious in the crate.

Well, I feel that the main thing here is that we all have an open mind.

For some dogs and people, the act of crate training helps in keeping their dog calm. For others, this method does not work. The important thing is to monitor your dog as closely as possible.

A good idea would be to install a dog camera when you are away from home, making sure that your dog is not having a hard time in the crate.

Doggy Dan's Method to Fix Dog Separation Anxiety

Doggy Dan is known to be another dog training expert in the online space. He has a different take on dog training that differs from both Zak’s and Cesar’s. This is a positive sign as not every dog behaves the same way, and each will respond differently to the same training.

Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan's Do's

  • Be in control of the environment that the dog lives in.
  • Use repetition to desensitize your dog.
  • Use a lead during training and practice.
  • Practice positive reinforcement.
  • Repeat, repeat, and more repeat.

Doggy Dan's Don'ts

  • Avoid shouting and yelling.
  • No touching.
  • Do not lose your cool.

A positive takeaway from Doggy Dan’s methods is that they are behavior driven and very pro-active. The main gist of his methods is repeating the same activities over and over until your dog is fully numb towards you leaving.

This will also project to your dog that it is okay with you leaving, and nothing untoward will happen.

WebMD's Method To Fix Dog Separation Anxiety

Like Humane Society, WebMD also has a resource section that assist people to remedy their dog problems. Many people do not know about their huge pet health section, which offers tons of insights regarding pet help.

WebMD

WebMD's Do's

  • Whenever you leave home, throw a special treat to your dog.
  • Be low-key during your goings and comings.
  • Leave your worn clothes with your dog.
  • Consider health supplements.
  • Plenty of every-day exercise for your dog.
  • Play “fetch” as well as training games.
  • Make use of interactive puzzles.

WebMD's Don'ts

  • Rule out possibility of medical problems by first consulting with your vet.
  • Do not rush things.
  • Make sure to not stress your dog by yelling at him.

Although some of the pointers between the mentioned resources above can be different, many are also similar. Below are some of the tips that appear time and again:

  • Exercise: Majority of the resources advocate plenty of exercise.
  • Toys: Whenever leaving the house, always leave “special toys” with your dog.
  • Smell: Leave things around that has your smell on it.

If after trying all these methods above and you are still lost, or if you find that they are still unable to overcome your dog separation anxiety problem, below are more resources to help you in that journey.

Other Resources for Separation Anxiety for Dogs

Important: This article is for informational purposes only. We always recommend that you go to a trusted vet with your pet first.

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