Separation anxiety and the resulting behaviours are distressing for both dog and owner. The dog is in a terrible state of mind when alone and this results in many people feeling trapped at home – I need to stay here for the sake of the dog! This is of course not practical, nor does it resolve the issue at hand.
Puppies are not born with separation anxiety, what they are born with is not knowing how to be separated. Separation anxiety can be something which is present when the owner is not home, or when the owner is home and the dog is unable to get to them. Dogs in multi dog households may also develop separation anxiety by overly bonding to each other. This is something that must also be considered, as when one dog becomes ill and needs to go to the vet or if one passes away before the other it will be far more difficult to deal with if the dog is also suffering separation anxiety.
The good news is that dog training can prevent separation anxiety. Separation training should be practiced from day one of bringing a new puppy or dog home, and be maintained for life. In addition we as humans must be sensitive to changes in our own lives which may impact on the dog as separation anxiety can develop at any time and age.
For a dog who has already developed separation anxiety, training can also help to modify and manage the issue. How long the dog has suffered and how acute the anxiety has become will determine the extent of the training required to make a change.
As with all behavioural issues, prevention is preferable to modification or management when it comes to separation anxiety. A good dog trainer should be able to help you with both. Whether you are bringing a new dog home or you already have a dog who is showing signs of separation anxiety, we recommend you seek professional assistance to set you and your dog on a better, calmer path.
If you need help with separation related issues for your dog on the Sunshine Coast get in touch with Unleashed via the contact form to discuss your training options.