Does your dog get restless each time you get ready to leave the house? Barking incessantly, panting, chewing the corners of the end tables, and destroying furniture while you’re away? Your canine friend may be exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, a condition that causes fear, stress, and anxiety when left alone. It’s more than a little barking, whining, or mischief and needs to be addressed immediately. The following tips should help reduce separation anxiety in dogs:
1. Engage in Lots of Exercise and Pet Games
Ensure your dog gets lots of exercise every day. They are less likely to get anxious when tired as the body wants to rest. Secondly, incorporate mind games too. For example, interactive puzzles help work their mind keeping them too tired to get anxious while you’re gone.
2. Add CBD treats to their Diet
CBD for dogs treats has proved to reduce stress and anxiety in dogs after separation by controlling their endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS system is a network of chemicals, enzymes, and receptors for regulating the other body systems, especially the immune and nervous systems. Once CBD is administered in the form of treats or oil, it binds to the ECS receptors regulating various physiological processes like sleep, mood, metabolism, appetite, and pain. As a result, the system develops a calming effect on the dog, reducing their anxious tendencies.
A critical part of raising a mentally healthy dog is training them to develop positive associations with new experiences. In this case, leaving them alone for a long time is a unique experience, hence changing their minds to the situation.
Start by leaving them for short periods and lengthen the time gradually. However, if the dog exhibits full-on anxiety symptoms, you need to counter the reaction by giving them a high-value treat every time you’re leaving. Such an approach teaches the dog that being alone has its perks.
It will also help if you make your departure routine less stressful by desensitizing the dog with signs you’re about to leave. For example, you can put on your coat or pick up the keys and watch the TV instead of leaving.
4. Crate Training
Crates are an essential training tool and solution for dogs with separation anxiety. If used appropriately, it becomes a safe place for them to relax. The idea is to train them to associate the crate with good things like high-value treats, chew toys, food-releasing puzzle toys, and more.
Generally, some dogs feel safer in their crates when left alone, while others panic. Observe their behavior to find out if they exhibit anxiety symptoms or relax when in their crates. Keep in mind; the goal is not to confine them in the container all day but to keep them safe while training them to enjoy being alone.
5. Natural Supplements and Medication
If desensitization and training haven’t reduced your dog’s anxiety, consider using natural supplements. Natural products like valerian or Bach’s Rescue Remedy create relief from separation anxiety. A visit to the vet also comes in handy. The vet may recommend a medication like alprazolam or amitriptyline for treating anxiety.
6. Train Your Dog to be Independent
Avoid encouraging clingy behavior; instead, train the dog to be independent even while you’re at home. Teaching them a solid stay should minimize excessive attachment. Begin with short lengths of time and if they can stay for several minutes, start leaving them in the room. Be sure to play it cool when going because if you’re too emotional or worked up, your dog may decide to act up every time you’re leaving.
Separation anxiety isn’t always preventable, but it can be managed. The points highlighted should help you train your dog to keep calm. With patience and a positive attitude, you can reduce your dog’s suffering and improve their quality of life.