Dog Training

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dog Training - Dealing With Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety, also known in the dog training world asowner absent misbehavior, is one of the most frequentlyencountered problems in the world of dog training. Separationanxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, includingchewing, destroying the owner's property, excessive barking,self destructive behavior and inappropriate urination anddefecation.

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety often whine, bark, cry,howl, dig, chew and scratch at the door the entire time theirfamily members are away. Well meaning owners often unwittinglyencourage this misbehavior by rushing home to reassure the dog,but it is important for the well being of both dog and ownerthat the dog learn to deal with extended periods of separation.

How the owner leaves the house can often contribute toseparation anxiety issues. A long and drawn out period offarewell can make matters worse by making the dog feel evenmore isolated when the owner finally leaves. These long typesof farewells can get the dog excited, and then leave him withlots of excess energy and no way to work it off. These excited,isolated dogs often work off their excess energy in the mostdestructive of ways, such as chewing up a favorite rug or pieceof furniture.

Excess energy is often mistaken for separation anxiety, sinceresults are often the same. If you think that excess amounts ofenergy may be the problem, try giving your dog more exercise tosee if that eliminates the problem.

If separation anxiety is truly the problem, it is important toaddress the root causes of that anxiety. In order to preventseparation anxiety from occurring, it is important for the dogto feel happy, safe, secure and comfortable while the owner isaway for the day. It is important, for instance, to give thedog plenty of things to keep it busy while you are away. Thismeans providing it with lots of toys, such as balls or chewtoys. A pet companion is often effective at relievingseparation anxiety as well. Giving the dog a playmate, such asanother dog or a cat, is a great way for busy pet parents andpets alike to cope with the stress of being left alone.

Setting aside scheduled play times, during which the pet isgiven your undivided attention, is another great way toalleviate boredom and separation anxiety. Playing with the dog,and providing it with sufficient attention and exercise, is aproven way to avoid a stressed and anxious dog. A happy dogthat has been well exercised and well conditioned willgenerally sleep the day away happily and patiently wait for thereturn of its owner.

It is important to schedule one of these daily play sessionsbefore you leave the house each day. It is important to givethe dog a few minutes to settle down after playtime before you leave.

For dogs that are already experiencing separation anxiety andassociated misbehaviors, it is important to get him accustomedto your leaving gradually. Be sure to practice leaving andreturning at irregular intervals, several times during the day.Doing so will get your dog accustomed to your deparartures andhelp him realize that you are not leaving him forever. Dogsthat have been previously lost, or those that have beensurrendered to shelters and readopted, often have the worstproblems with separation anxiety. Part of treating this problemis teaching the dog that your leaving is not permanent.

About The Author: Waylon Harvey shares more of his dogknowledge at his informative site,


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