Peace on Earth – And In Your Home

Top Five Tips to Help Separation Anxiety

Between holiday shopping and parties, are you spending more time away from home – and your pet? Minor changes in your schedule can mean major disruptions in your dog’s everyday routine, leading to anxiety and loneliness. Your furball may begin to bark, whine and howl, go to the bathroom in the house, or engage in destructive behaviors, like scratching, chewing and gnawing, while you’re away. Dealing with separation anxiety is a challenge (especially during the holidays), so here are our top five tips:

  1. Make hellos and goodbyes short and sweet.
    Avoid getting over emotional when you leave or super excited when you return. By remaining calm, you’ll lower the contrast between times when you’re there and gone.
  2. Research a doggie daycare or pet sitter.
    Boredom can bring trouble. Keep your pet stimulated and active throughout the day by taking him to doggie daycare or use a local pet sitter for midday walks. The busier he is, the less likely he’ll feel the need to act out. Time flies when he’s having fun.
  3. Invest in a trainer.
    An experienced trainer can work on methods to increase your dog’s mental activity. While it won’t entirely solve the anxiety issue, it may help you understand each other better.
  4. Keep him busy.
    Leaving your pet with puzzle toys and safe chew items will not only keep him entertained and distracted, but also have shown to have a calming effect on dogs.
  5. Get a lot of exercise.
    Try to walk your dog right before you leave – for at least 30 minutes. Hopefully, after some quality exercise, all your pooch will have strength for is a long nap!

What won’t help? Punishment. Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite. If you punish your pet, the problem could get worse. So be patient. It can take time for your dog to unlearn his panic response to your comings and goings. But it’ll be worth it!

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