Dog separation anxiety: dealing with withdrawal and fear

anxiete separation chien

Every time you leave your dog alone, it’s drama!

What is he trying to make you understand? How can you deal with separation anxiety?

Explanations and advice.

  • Read also: our advice to train your dog well

Why is the dog anxious?

When their mother can no longer breastfeed them or wishes to be alone, she pushes her puppies away. In this way, they learn independence and detachment. When they find a new home, they will become attached to a family member whom they will consider their new mother. If the new mother does not continue the work started by pushing him away at the appropriate times and by teaching him to be alone, the puppy will develop hyperattachment with all the anxiety that comes with it.

Risk factors for anxiety in dogs :

  • The predisposition of certain breeds such as the Jack Russell and Boxer.
  • A puppy taken too soon from its mother.
  • Dogs that have known several owners.
  • Changes of situation (moving house, arrival of a child, return to work…)
  • Do not teach your puppy detachment when he arrives in your home.
  • Lack of stimulation.

Manifestation of anxiety in dogs

When you are away, you feel guilty about leaving your dog, so you pet him, reassure him, make promises with smiles in your voice. Your dog says to himself: “My master seems very happy, but he leaves me, I don’t understand! ”Contrary to popular belief, a dog does not take revenge, but expresses a deep sense of unease within minutes of your departure.

  • He can destroy.
  • Barking, crying, screaming for death.
  • Going to the bathroom in your home.
  • Mutilate themselves by licking their legs until they bleed or by biting their tails violently.
  • Refusing to eat or drink.

When you come back, your dog is celebrating. You think, “He’s happy to see me! ». In reality, he says to you, “You left me alone, I hope you won’t do it again”. If you pet him, he thinks you’ve understood.

Helping your dog overcome anxiety

As soon as your dog arrives in your home, your dog needs to be taught detachment, independence and frustration.

  • Don’t let him have the whole house.
  • Find him a place of his own, away from the gates, where he won’t spend his time watching over you. If you don’t have enough space, it is possible to use a security gate or an indoor cage (occasionally). Reducing a dog’s space will reassure him.
  • Do not allow him to follow you anywhere.
  • It is you who must solicit him for hugs and games, not the other way around.
  • Never let your dog bark for a yes or no. A barking dog wants to dominate. You must be firm and never give in to him. Tell him no or ignore him. The training collar with lemongrass spray can give good results without violence.
  • Simulate false starts. Put on your shoes, get your keys, go outside for a minute and come back in. Repeat this exercise several times so that your dog gets used to seeing you disappear by gradually lengthening the time you are away.
  • For some very anxious breeds, opt for the acquisition of two dogs or get your puppy used to living with a cat or a bird so that he can better manage his loneliness.

Before you leave:

  • Get your dog out. He’ll be more relaxed.
  • A few minutes before you leave, put it in its place and ignore it. No goodbyes.
  • Let him have the radio.
  • Use pheromones (identical to those released by their mother) that are spread in the air by means of a diffuser inserted in an electrical outlet (your veterinarian can sell you one).
  • Leave some games for him to play. Roll him around so he’s surprised every time. A ball that dispenses kibble is a great occupation.

When you return:

  • Ignore your dog.
  • If he’s done any damage, don’t scold him. Take him out and clean up without him seeing you.

Generally, separation anxiety disappears when your dog understands that your departures are followed by your returns. Give him time to get used to this ritual.

  • Consult a behaviourist.
  • In more serious cases such as mutilation, your veterinarian may prescribe antidepressants until the situation improves.
  • Use a collar to prevent your dog from aggravating his injuries.
  • Learn how to relax your dog is feeling all your emotions. Zen master who knows how to make the right decisions, soothed and balanced dog. Concerned and emotional master, anxious dog who lacks reference points.
  • If no solution works, find a new family for your dog. Retirees often have the perfect profile because they are available. Although painful, this alternative must be considered.

To think about: “  You miss one being and everything is depopulated. ” Lamartine

L.D .

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