Dog Separation Anxiety and How to Minimize It

Dog laying on bed with owner

Our pups thrive on daily structure and here are some ways to help your dog reduce symptoms of separation anxiety.

Practice Leaving and Returning

See how your dog behaves when you leave the house and return. Walk out the door as if your leaving; grab your keys, lock the door, or open and close the garage to signal you have left. Wait 5-10 minutes, staying silent before you come back in. How did they do? Did you hear whining, barking, howling, and/or scratching at the door? When you come back in, stay calm and praise your dog positively for being on their own. If they showed signs of separation anxiety, practice leaving your pup at home for only brief amounts of time at first. Limit absences to be shorter than the amount of time it takes for pets to react negatively. Eventually you will be able to increase your away time and practice longer absences making sure to always praise them when returning. For some dogs, leaving the radio or TV on can provide background noise and peace of mind.

Use a Safe Phrase

Many dogs experience separation anxiety because they feel like you will never be coming back. Consider using a “safe” phrase to establish your intent to return. Each time you leave for any reason, look at your pup and say a phrase like “I’ll be back.” After time, that phrase will provide your dog with reassurance that you will be returning home.



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