People tend to focus on the anxieties and mental health of humans, but it’s important to remember that dogs can also face anxiety. In fact, many dogs develop separation anxiety which could cause some problems for you whenever you need to leave your home. Due to this, some people wonder if dog training can help with separation anxiety, so we’re here to show you how it can.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is when a dog experiences extreme levels of anxiety whenever you need to leave the home. This can vary based on the anxiety’s severity, but some dogs will struggle with separation if you leave for a few minutes while others may freak out when you’re about to leave. In short, your dog becomes scared and worried if he or she can’t see you.
Depending on the amount of anxiety that your dog has, he or she may react in different ways. For example, your dog may wait at the door, do nothing but stare out the window and not doing anything else while waiting for your return. In short, their separation anxiety prevents them from doing their usual activities.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can present itself in a variety of ways, but we will discuss some of the most common ones that you will see.
- Destructive behavior such as chewing on furniture or ripping open pillows.
- Keeping you in their sight at all moments. If you leave their sight, they begin to cry, whine and become anxious.
- They will use the bathroom in a way that you didn’t train them to.
Keep in mind that separation anxiety will vary and have different levels of severity. However, it can pose serious problems for you if your dog constantly has accidents in your home or begins to destroy your furniture. So if your dog has separation anxiety, then you should look into the different ways to help him or her.
Will Dog Training Help?
Dog training can help you more than you may expect when it comes to separation anxiety. Many dogs become anxious because they don’t know what to do when their owners leave. However, you can train your dog to act a certain way so that he or she won’t fall into those negative behaviors caused by anxiety.
For example, if your dog tends to rip up furniture when you leave, then you should create a spot for your dog that will allow him or her to feel safe. Many owners will purchase a kennel and leave the door open for the dog. You can tell your dog to enter the kennel, give him or her a treat for going in, leave a chew toy in it and then leave the home.
This will show your dog that the kennel is a safe place that he or she can relax when you leave your home, which will reinforce positive behavior. If you return home and your dog didn’t perform any bad behaviors, then reward him or her with a treat.
How to Train Your Dog
You can take two approaches when it comes to dog training: you can either train your dog on your own or hire a dog trainer. If you plan to train on your own, then you need to be consistent with it. If your dog does what you want him or her to do, then you should give a treat as a reward. You should also avoid scolding dogs since they don’t respond well to that.
If you don’t have the time or patience to train your dog, then you can always hire a dog trainer to do it for you. Spend some time talking with your dog trainer and explaining what you want to stop your dog from doing. From here, the dog trainer will take the right approaches to help your dog overcome his or her anxiety.
If training doesn’t work for you, then you can find other ways to comfort your dog. For example, dogs will find recognizable smells comforting, so you could one of your old pieces of clothing with your dog. This will help him or her to cope with your absence since your dog will have scent that he or she associates with comfort and love.
If training your dog and providing comfort doesn’t work, then you can always get in contact with your veterinarian. There’s medication that exists to help dogs with separation anxiety and you can always use over-the-counter approaches. This way, you can give your dog some medication to help him or her relax.
Some dogs will face separation anxiety since they love their owners. If your dog has this problem, then you can use training techniques to help your dog feel relaxed and safe. This way, you won’t have to worry about your dog ruining the house when you leave and your dog can feel comforted while you’re away from home.