Don’t let separation anxiety get in the way of your dog’s happiness.
Just like us humans, dogs can undergo and carry around trauma from past events. One of the most common issues that pet parents go through is separation anxiety in their dogs. These dogs might bark or howl constantly, urinate/defecate in the house, chew up the sofa, or worst of all, escape. Although many of these behaviors can be seen as untrained animal behavior, it is still worth noting that these actions could be symptoms of distress in your dogs.
Why is my dog experiencing separation anxiety?
There is no conclusive evidence on why dogs develop separation anxiety but, according to ASPCA, there are far more dogs with separation anxiety that have been adopted or gone through shelters than dogs that have had a single family since puppyhood. Some other factors could include:
A change of guardian or family
An abrupt change in the guardian’s schedule like returning to work after being confined at home.
A sudden loss or absence of an important family member residing in the house.
The severity of separation anxiety can vary in many cases.
How do you treat separation anxiety for dogs?
Mild separation anxiety
Mild separation anxiety can be easily dealt with. Counterconditioning is a technique that can be used to treat behavioral problems. The treatment process is to change an animal’s negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, or aggression to a pleasant and happy emotion. If this treatment process is kept up, over time, the dog will learn that whatever is scaring them isn’t actually scary. In the case of mild separation anxiety, a great way to implement this technique is to give your dog a treat dispenser toy whenever you leave for work or when you leave for a long duration. Stuff the toy with delicious treats such as peanut butter, canned dog food, etc., and freeze it. When you leave for work the next morning, give the Shine On toy (stuffed with frozen treats) to your dog and your dog will be occupied for the next hour or so. This will help your dog realize that being alone isn’t the end of the world. Keep in mind that this technique will only work in mild cases, dogs with high to severe separation anxiety will refuse to eat anything unless the guardian is home.
Crystal healing for Dog Separation Anxiety.
Crystal healing is another technique that was used by Shamans to treat not just their people but their animals. Certain crystals have healing properties that can help treat different problems in animals. In the case of separation anxiety, the Black Obsidian is the perfect candidate. It is known to soothe the nerves of your animal and reduce feelings of loneliness. It will also help strengthen creativity and intelligence, which in turn allows them to learn more tricks at a faster rate. For more information about Crystal Healing, please visit MerciCollective.com
Moderate to severe separation anxiety
Moderate to severe separation anxiety is trickier to deal with thus needing more complex ways to treat your dog. Treating dogs with moderate to severe separation anxiety uses the same counterconditioning technique but it also requires a new technique called desensitization. Treatment for these animals is case by case because progression in the treatment is dependent on the reaction of the dog. Many of these reactions are hard to detect for untrained and inexperienced owners. The guidance of a licensed professional is highly recommended because one wrong move could result in your dog getting more anxious or scared. Consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) or even ask your local vet for a contact and design a plan with them that will help your dog with separation anxiety.
How to Ease My Dog's Separation Anxiety?
Mental and physical stimulation is one of the most vital parts of treating anxiety problems in animals. The same way exercise benefits humans, it does to animals. Exercising will help reduce stress and provide a time when your dog can expend as much energy as they want. Not only does this promote a healthy lifestyle for your dog but it helps tire them out so they won’t destroy your house while you’re out.
Try to take new routes when walking your dog. This will allow them to smell and experience new things.
Chew toys or “food” toys such as a Shine On toy are always a great way for your dog to get busy and do something. Providing mental stimulation such as these will promote a better and healthy lifestyle.
When you have time, try to teach your dog a new trick. Repetition and treats are key to teaching a dog well!
Another fun mental stimulation game for your dog is to have them sniff out their food. Hide small piles of kibble around the house and have your dog search for their food!
We hope you find this article helpful! If you have any questions, please visit MerciCollective.com