Separation anxiety in dogs is something which can cause both dog and owner a great deal of heartbreak. This form of anxiety is essentially when your dog struggles to cope without you being there and it can manifest itself in any different ways from crying to creating chaos in the home.
My small Maltese was suffering from this for a long time and managed to completely tear about one of our walls, scratch the door and cause himself a lot of discomfort throughout. For my own sanity, the dog’s health and indeed the health of my apartment, I decided to take action and stop the anxiety once and for all, here is how I did it.
Drugs and Aids
The first thing I should note is that you can take your dog to the vet and get something to calm your dog down so that they are more docile when you leave the house. I didn’t like the idea of doping my dog up so I didn’t go down that route but one product I did find which helped out a lot was the calming treats from Isle of Dog, they have a recipe which manages to keep the dog relaxed and calm, I didn’t rely on these but I couldn’t have got there without them.
The first step is to help you dog to feel comfortable in their own space and happy alone, the way I trained my dog to do this was simply by leaving them in a room whilst I was still in the house. I did this in stages and at first would leave the dog for 10 minutes, then 30, then one hour and so on and so on. Each time I would open the door, I would reward the good behavior and then close the door again.
I quickly realized that it was the first 10 minutes of separation which caused so much anxiety for my dog, after that he generally relaxed into his own space. To combat this, I bough a toy which you can put treats inside that take the dog quite a while to get out. This is a great piece of kit which can entertain dogs for at least 20 minutes, the perfect amount of time for them to forget about you and enjoy their own space.
The final thing that I employed was cutting out the drama when I left or returned home. I realized that my good byes to the dog and my huge welcome home, made the dog excitable and anxious for me to leave or return. As hard as it is, I would recommend that when you leave, you do exactly that and when you arrive home, you practically ignore the dog until he or she has calmed down.
Through the use of these tactics, my dog is more than happy to be on his own and the wall now stays in tact!