Separation anxiety is a common issue faced by many dog owners, leaving both pets and their humans feeling distressed. In 2011, Bradshaw estimated that 20% of the total dog population suffers from separation anxiety1; following the COVID pandemic, this figure is likely to be higher. 

As a specialist dog trainer and separation anxiety mentor in the Cotswolds, I have witnessed the challenges faced by dog guardians firsthand. However, with the right approach and guidance, this issue can be effectively treated, leading to a happier and more balanced life for both you and your best friend. In this blog post, I’ll share valuable insights and expert tips to help you tackle separation anxiety in your beloved canine companion.

Understanding Separation Anxiety:

Separation anxiety occurs when dogs experience extreme stress or panic when left alone. It often results in destructive behavior, excessive barking, self-injury and house soiling. Understanding the root cause of this anxiety is crucial to developing an effective training plan.

Tip 1: Gradual Departures and Returns

Start by desensitizing your dog to departures and returns. Practice brief absences (to start with just go out of the door, shut it and come straight back in) and gradually increase the time spent away. This process helps your dog realize that you will always come back, alleviating their anxiety. You should always work within your dog’s comfort zone in determining length of absence.

Tip 2: Create a Safe Space

Designate a safe and comfortable space for your dog when you’re away. This doesn’t have to be a crate: managing a safe and familiar space by use of child gates/ closing doors can help create positive associations and reduce stress.

Tip 3: Make exits and departures a non-event

When leaving and coming back in, be calm and quiet. Don’t ignore your dog, that would be weird and may cause stress to your dog, but don’t let your return be a party either.

Tip 4: Make sure all your dog’s needs are met before you leave.

Food, exercise and importantly, a wee and poo opportunity are essential prior to your departure and help your dog relax. Beware lots of fast exercise before leaving them alone – this just fills your dog with adrenaline and he/ she will be restless and on alert until the adrenaline levels return to baseline.

Tip 5: Seek Professional Help

If your dog’s separation anxiety persists despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a professional dog trainer specialising in separation anxiety. As the Separation Anxiety Mentor in Cotswolds, I can create a personalised, expert training plan tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

Conclusion:

Dealing with separation anxiety in dogs can be a challenging journey, but with patience, consistency, and the right strategies, you can help your much loved companion overcome their anxiety and lead a happier, more relaxed life. Remember that each dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you’re struggling to make progress, seeking the assistance of a trained professional can make all the difference.

As The Separation Anxiety Mentor in Cotswolds, I am committed to helping you and your dog build a strong, trusting relationship and conquer separation anxiety together. Together, we’ll embark on a transformational journey that will lead to a happier and more harmonious life for both you and your beloved canine friend.

Reference: Bradshaw J. In Defence of Dogs. Why Dogs Need Our Understanding. London, UK: Penguin Press; 2011

× How can I help?