Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Preventing Separation Anxiety in dogs
The relationship between an individual and their dog is very special, and it is that special relationship that people are looking for when they get a dog or puppy. We Need to remember preventing separation anxiety in dogs is better than looking for a cure. People are amazed at the relationship I have with my assistance dog. We are very close and spend all our time together and do most things together, but she doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety. Although I am talking in this article about how we prevent an unhealthy relationship, it is more than your dog wanting to be with you, it is about the level of self-confidence your dog has, and it’s the ability to survive alone. Beau wants to be with me and is happy when she is curled up at my feet, touching me, feeling the reassurance of that touch. She knows she can spend time alone and we will be together soon. She knows she has a safe place at home.
Hyper Attachment In Dogs.
Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety are often hyper attached to their owner. As a dog owner or someone looking to get a new puppy, you want a close relationship, or you wouldn’t have got a dog. You must prevent this type of relationship with your dog getting out of control. It is all about your dog having balanced energy. Being your companion and having the confidence and strength to be a self-reliant individual
Creating this healthy balance can be a challenge if your dog is already closely related with you, but it is the first step to helping your dog grow and have a good state of mental health.
How To Prevent Seaparation Anxiety In Dogs.
Here are some methods you can use to help your dog have good mental health. Remember that training your dog isn’t about spending twenty minutes twice a day learning new tricks. It is a way of life for you and your dog. Every minute you spend together is a potential learning experience for both of you. Embracing that relationship and enjoy your time together.
Your dog must not be the one demanding attention from you. Ask yourself, who is the one controlling the relationship between you and your dog? The answer should be, you. Dogs do not want to be in control. They are happy to follow you and leave the stress of leadership to you. Here are some ways to manage this situation. If your dog comes and jumps on the sofa and demands a cuddle, be prepared to say “No” Tell them to get off the sofa, and sit on the floor next to you. Dogs feel great sleeping on your feet or knowing they are touching your leg they feel secure and safe but know their place in the relationship.
Do not feel bad by removing access from certain toys. Let them earn access to their toy. You can give a specific toy when they are relaxed, and this can become a cue to the state. This can be difficult when you start this exercise; your dog may become more demanding. As I have said in other articles, it is up to you to be patient and persistent with your dog. Withhold some toys and let them be earned for completing tasks, this helps the dog understand its position. Beau is obsessed with balls, especially tennis balls. I often do scent work with her the reward for finding an object is to play with her ball.
Don’t be afraid of encouraging your dog to lye down and relax away from you. This can be when you are watching TV or eating dinner. If your dog is resistant use a mat and use the opportunity to teach your dog to stay. Start by putting the mat on the floor next to you, and rewarding them for walking onto it. Progress to telling them to lie down on the mat, with treats for staying down and being calm. You can always use a clicker to get them onto the mat with a command. Slowly you can move the mat away from you and use the command to send them to the mat and wait there in a relaxed state. Remember always reward success no matter how small, lots of praise and treats. For a “long stay”, you should allow your dog to be relaxed, so this is an excellent opportunity to kill two birds with one stone
You can always use the mat as a marker for your dog to lye down. You can use it in the dining room, or living room when watching TV or take the mat with you when visiting a place and you want your dog to sit in a specific area, in a happy relaxed stated.
Remember the phrase “Slowly, slowly catchy monkey.” Take your time, practice this over a few weeks slowly increasing the distance between you and the mat. Keeping your dog happy and relaxed is a great way to reduce anxiety caused by not being with you at all times.
Who Chooses where your Dog Sleeps?
Many owners are surprised at the fact that where a dog sleeps can have a significant impact on their anxiety. If the dog sleeps on your bed, encourage them to sleep on the floor. If they sleep next to the bed, encourage then to sleep at the opposite side of the room; or even another area of the house, in their sleeping area.
The technique is similar to those used in the previous step. However, you might find this more difficult because when you go to sleep or try to sleep the dog will change position.
First, you need to decide what you are happy with, where do you want the dog to sleep. Beau often sleeps on my bed because she responds tome having nightmares. I still teach her to sleep on a bed, where ever it may be. Then teach the dog to sleep on a mat or a dog bed. You may find this easiest if you teach the dog to lye on the bed during the day. You can start with the dog bed downstairs and encourage the dog to use it. Then go to bed early and spend time ensuring the bed is where the dog stays.
Building Confidence In Your Dog
As I mention in my booklet how to train a puppy don’t try and train your dog to do everything yourself. Have all your family or flatmates involved with training your dog
Whether they help with feeding, walking, or it doesn’t matter, it helps teach your dog that they only need to rely on one individual. You don’t need to worry about your dog building a “Better” relationship with someone else; this balance is right for your relationship, and as long as you are training your dog well you will still have a special relationship.
Encourage your dog to spend time alone and to play by themselves. You can do this with interactive toys. There are many available, and they teach them to amuse themselves.
Take a look at my articles on crate training for your dog; It is a vital safe place for them. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, you may find it beneficial to purchase a hard plastic dog crate. Dogs are less likely to injure themselves. I have seen some dogs bend the bars on metal crates and injure themselves. Always train your dog in a crate to ensure they are safe.
Alternatively, you can create a special area. Instead of closing the door, you can use a baby gate, or if your dog could jump it, there are tall dog gates. Being able to see through a doorway can ease dogs anxiety.
Take your dog/puppy to obedience, agility classes or puppy classes. These classes are the best opportunity for dogs to build up their self-confidence. Your dog will meet other dog, people and situations and be handled by numerous people, which also allows them to learn to be a little separate from you.
As you can see, this training isn’t about having specific dog training sessions during the day or week. Training your dog is a way of life. You are building a healthy relationship and that is happening all the time. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, if your dog is with you it is learning and moulding into the dog it will be and the relationship it will have with you for the rest of their life