How to Cope with Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a common problem that canine caretakers encounter, because in nature, packs are almost never separated from their pack leaders. You can help make this unnatural situation less stressful for your dog by following these tips:
Go for a morning walk. After you have provided vigorous exercise, give your dog food and water. Some dogs will need to rest awhile before eating, but you can hydrate them immediately. Your goal is to leave your dog in quiet, resting mode when you leave.
No touch, no talk, no eye contact. Practice this rule when you leave and again when you return. By doing this, you are letting your dog know that your separation is not a big deal. For some dogs five minutes of “no touch, no talk, no eye contact” can solve the problem. For others, you may have to start practicing the rule an hour before you leave.
Say goodbye long before you leave. If you are having trouble practicing “no touch, no talk, no eye contact”, take a moment to tell your dog how much you will miss him and share affection long before you actually leave. Remember, this display is for you — not your dog! Your dog won’t be hurt that you didn’t kiss him goodbye before leaving for work.
Practice! Start out small; leave your dog alone for five minutes. Then the next time, expand the time to 20 minutes. Then an hour. Continue increasing the time until you can leave your dog alone for a full 8-hour business day.
Maintain calm-assertive energy. This is crucial! Don’t feel sorry, nervous, or concerned. Project the confident energy of a pack leader. Let your dog know that everything is going to be alright.
By following these rules, you can help ease your dog into staying at home alone.