One of the reasons why dogs are considered man’s best friend is simply because they just love to be around us. They live to be cuddled, played with, and adored. At Dog Training Rewards we believe that this is the reason that we love them just as much. But it’s also the reason why some dogs engage in destructive behavior when their owners are not around. Separation Anxiety in dogs is more common than we think. Dogs that have lived in animal shelters are often more prone to this condition. But it can happen to any dog who is part of a modern working family. Different breeds often have different ways of displaying anxiety. Go here for breed specific advice for your breed. Generally however, to prevent problems happening in the future, it’s important that you start early with dog separation anxiety training.
- Don’t Pamper the New Dog
When bringing a new pet into your home, experts advise not getting too close with them at first. (This is probably the exact opposite reaction a family would have towards a new dog or puppy). Don’t shower them with hugs or cuddles for at least the first three days. Of course you need to show affection, but do it more slowly; little by little; don’t overpower them with affection. This can be very difficult, especially when your canine friend looks at you with those pleading, adoring eyes. But if you can be firm about this it will greatly help with dog training in general.
When a dog is in a new environment, he will spend the first few days trying to figure out where to fit in and who the leader of the pack is. He needs to understand that you are the leader while he is at the bottom of the hierarchy. Spoiling him with physical affection right away will not make him see this but it will give him the experience that “this person” loves him to the point of letting him do anything. His first week in your home should show him that you are the boss, the pack leader and that the other members of the family hold high positions in the pack as well. When he recognizes you as the head of the pack, and other family members are to be respected, he will also respect the fact that you / they can enter or leave the house as you please. This will greatly prevent all types of dog training problems in the future and it will make dog separation anxiety training a much easier task.
- Don’t Make Dramatic Entrances or Exits
When you have to leave the house, don’t make a fuss. Resist the urge to treat your pet as if they were a child you couldn’t bear to say goodbye to. Instead, do the opposite. Start ignoring your dog about 5-10 minutes before you leave. It will take some discipline on your part, with those eyes so full of love and devotion looking up at you trying to figure what activity is coming up next, (that he can be part of); but if you learn this approach the results will be worth it.
Do the same thing when you arrive at the house. When you enter the door, don’t make eye contact with your pet. Ignore them for at least 5 minutes or just a casual “hello insert name” and carry on with whatever you were doing. Once your dog has calmed down, approach them with a treat to show that you are pleased with their good behavior. Positive dog training can be very effective.
- Leave Traces of Your Presence in the House
When practicing dog separation anxiety training with your pet, it helps to leave some of your personal belongings close by. Leave an old shirt with your scent in his “spot” in the house or yard. If you often use a certain perfume, you could try to spritz just a little bit on your dog’s favorite toys. You might even want to leave the radio or television on if that’s what your homes usual environment is like when you’re at home.
Remember these simple tips when getting a new pet. The earlier you start with separation anxiety training, the better your chances of having a dog that is emotionally healthy and stable, and that will be your dog training reward.