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Monday, September 2, 2013

Back-To-School: Dealing with Separation Anxiety!

You're about to leave the house. You grab your purse and keys, and once you open the door, there he is. Clinging to your only source of movement, you try to shake Max off, hoping to for the first time be on time picking up the kids from school. You finally break your dog free from his desperate struggle.

Discussing with the school principal about your kids misbehaving wasn't easy, but then when you arrive home... Well, that's another problem. Pillows torn up, vases shattered and Max pawing at the door as you enter.

Yes, it's seperation anxiety. School is on it's way ( or maybe where you live school is already there ), and school's companions: rushed mornings, relationship drama, bedtime quarrels and your dog's separation anxiety attacks. Here are some remedies that will prevent some clean-ups.

1.) Not Your Normal Day:

When you dog sees you pick up your keys and head out the front door, he/she knows you're leaving for a long period of time. You can change your behaviour by taking your dog out for a walk before leaving, or calmly reading a magazine or book at the door before you vanish out of sight. This will trick your dog into thinking it's not the everyday routine where you leave him. Don't keep the same routine every time though! Make it random almost every day.

2.) Keeping Your Calm:

When you're getting ready to leave, take all your nervousness, sadness and all negative feelings and throw them in the trash. Dogs pick up on your mood, so if you're panicking about being late, your dog will feel the same and panic too. If you want to take this to the next step, take your dog on a relaxing walk before you leave then when you get home, give him some food and water to keep him/her busy while you leave. So feel relaxed and calm and your dog will pick this up too! No? Your dog is still having panic attacks? Well then, move onto the next step.

3.) Too Busy To Panic:

Give your dog a treat to play with, especially toys that your dog has to work for, such as the Kong toys. Click here to make your own DIY Kong toys and some different fillers for them too. This will not only keep your dog busy while you leave, but it makes him/her expect tasty treats and good things from you leaving your playmate it alone.

4.) From Little To Large:

Start this training by leaving your pet alone for 5 min, then increasing the time by 5-10 min. If your dog makes ANY signs to show that he/she's having a panic attack, come back in and start all over again the next day. You heard me, ALL over. You should do this exercise only once a day because if you do more, then your dog will get stressed and it will make everything harder. And above all, don't be mad or stressed!

5.). Day At The Vet:

If your dog is still stressed out whenever you leave him/her, be sure to get an appointment with you vet soon! Your vet will probably assign your dog some medication. Don't freak out! Your vet knows what's good fo your dog.

6.) Practise Makes Perfect:

While you're waiting for the meds to kick in, or if you haven't gone to the vet, try 1.), 3.) and 4.) again. But like it says in 4.), don't be frustrated and don't practise more than once with your dog. Or, simply, you could just leave your dog alone less often or hire a dog sitter while you're away.

Remember, unlike cats, dogs were born in packs and they were almost never alone. Don't feel like you're the only person in the world who has a furry friend dealing with separation anxiety! You're not alone.

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