Separation Anxiety is when your dog wants to be with you at all times and freaks out when you leave them. In fact, the more time a dog spends with you, the more difficult it is to be left alone. This is a psychological behavior but can be fixed or managed depending on how bad it is and how longs its been going on. Some drills to do to help.
- When you are at home together:
1.Encourage your dog to be more independent.
2.Having structured crate times which can encourage independence as well as teach them to be at home in the crate.
3.Use your obedience training to show you how to work distance drills with them
4.Start by having them in the crate at certain periods of time with you being in the same room as them
5.Then gradually leave the room for short period’s of time leading up to longer periods of time
(If they don’t make a sound when you leave the room then run in praise them and let them out and give a treat. If he does make noise or wines then don’t acknowledge him until he stops. Then once he stops go and let them out and praise him. Do this until you build up enough time outside the room where he starts to be quiet for longer periods of time.)
- When you prepare to leave:
1.Do not show how sad you are when you leave. (Even if you were sad about leaving, try your very best not to show it. They will be sensitive to how you feel and if you always feel sad or worried when you leave then they will learn to feel sad and worried about you leaving)
2.You can try leaving some lights on or a TV or radio. The normal sounds they always hear when you are home will be comforting to him when you’re gone.
3.Dogs usually have great vision so they have the ability to actually watch TV.
4.A special treat in association with your leaving is a great association for a positive reaction when you leave.
5.You can also leave him out of the crate (if they are not being desctructive), and give them some things to work for like a kong with treats in it.
6.You could also hide a couple of special treats and toys around the house to give them something to look forward to and be a positive association to you leaving.
7.When you get home pick them back up. Those will only be the toys he gets when you leave.
8.Exercise is another good way to keep him calm when you’re gone. A lot of dogs after 15-20 minutes of obedience training will wear them out.
- Do some counterconditioning. (If you notice they react when you pick up your keys or things like put your shoes on were certain things that he has learned that you do before you leave that can show signs of distress)
10.Don’t be over emotional when returning home (when you come home of course you should be happy to see him but you don’t want to carry on and on about how much you missed him. Even if that’s really how you feel. Avoid bringing a lot of a motion to these moments)