One of the common problems some dogs experience when they have to be without their owners is separation anxiety. There are some typical symptoms that are seen in dogs with separation anxiety. These include:
If these behaviors occur when you are at home, the problem is not separation anxiety. But when these issues meet the following criteria, it is highly likely that the dog has separation anxiety:
For milder cases of separation anxiety, here are some strategies to try. Avoid making a big deal out of arrivals and departures. Stay calm and relaxed as you come and go. Set up a “safety cue” with your dog, which is a word or an action that tells your dog every time you leave, that you’ll be back. You may want to try an over-the-counter calming product that could reduce fearfulness. Another solution involves counterconditioning, which is a process in which your dog learns to associate being alone with something good, like delicious treats. This involves a step-by-step process which you must do consistently until the dog comes to expect something that he likes will happen whenever you leave the house.
For more severe cases of separation anxiety, the remedy is a more complex program of desensitization. This is best managed with the guidance of a professional animal behaviorist.
One of the best solutions for your dog’s separation anxiety is to find a skilled pet sitter for those times when you have to be away. Consider dog boarding in Portland OR with BellyRub Pet Services. We know how to help your dog feel safe and secure even when you can’t be with him.