Featured Pets

Donate to YSDR

Separation Anxiety

by Benita Hentges
dog trainer 30 plus years -

Dog Separation Anxiety

First off separation anxiety doesn't last forever if you deal with it properly. Always remember trust takes time. I use soothing music or a noise maker to keep a consistent noise that brings ease to the spirit. If crate training at night start by putting his crate up on a night stand so he can see you. Make crate time gradual whether you are leaving the house or going to bed. Play with him hard even for just 5-7 min. running, jumping, just doing crazy, fun, dog play...make sure he's tired out. Next take your dog outside to potty. If you keep him on a leash and take him to the same area outside and do not allow him to run or play until he goes...potty training can happen quicker than you may think. Do not think just because he goes poo and pee once that he is done. If he is done he will quit sniffing around and kind of look at you for direction. Then bring him inside and turn down the lights. For your own benefit just turn on the tv but not too loud. Rub his tummy and let him really settle in. Lift him gently into his crate. He may totally wake up the first few times, but do not let that discourage you. Just make the "shhh" sound, easy and kind of sing/songy. Put your fingers by the door so he can sniff you and see that you are really there. The first night he may fuss some off and on...just keep him crated (unless he is consistent...then take him out to potty & put him back in the crate). Put your fingers on the door with the "shhhh" sound and he will slow down soon enough. When you find your dog is easy with this...scoot your night stand or whatever the crate is on a little further away, yet still in sight. Just about an arms length further away. Continue moving the crate to where you eventually want him to be. Your dog is just looking for direction...doesn't want to be left out of anything...has a deep sense of wanting to be near you so in that he is looking to you as his pack leader. This is an awesome responsibility. Just do it slowly. This whole process should take only about 1-2 weeks. Make sure that in the training process you do not raise your voice or show frustration. When they pick up on that they respond to the negative energy instead of learning the new rules to live by.

Corrections Take Time and Patience

If you are not crating your dog and are gating him in a certain area it is done in much the same way. I always tell people take a few days off when getting a new dog in the family. Make those days as easy and quiet as possible. Play soothing music. Do whatever you normally do in the house but make play time, potty time, etc... as consistent as possible. Dogs thrive on consistency and love and as a result they become more obedient and happy. When correcting a dog remember it is “a learning time”. We do not learn when we are yelled at...and neither does a dog. If you are frustrated go somewhere else and get yourself in check...then go back with the mind frame of “this will take time...and it will not last forever”. If you are having a bad day ask another family member to take over for a few hours until you can bring yourself to a calm and reassuring state.

Barking, Licking, and Disobedient Behavior

When dogs feel anxiety many people look at them as “disobedient” - “aggressive” etc...anxiety comes out in many ways such as barking, throwing themselves at the cage or gated area, licking things they would not normally lick, jumping like crazy, etc... All anxiety can be dealt with if we teach with love, stern direction given with ease and self control. A dogs whole personality is “to please” their pack leader. If the dog thinks he is the pack leader switch that with consistent direction and he will soon learn. Many times a dog will take on the role of “pack leader” because he was not cared for properly. They have a “no one can take care of me” mentality. When we look at a dogs past you have to look with the understanding of “who could blame them?” -- yet have the wisdom that “a new life has begun” and teach them that leaders are “a good thing”...”a safety net”.

A dog is most happy when he is part of a family be it large or small. They need to know their place. They need consistent guidance. They need reassurance.

They thrive when all the training that is given is enveloped with love and understanding.