dog-separation-anxietyDoes your dog appear stressed whenever you're about to walk out your door? Does he start whining or pacing when he sees the car keys in your hand? If you think your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, here are a few tips to make the whole “leaving and arrival moment” more calm and less stressful, both for you and your dog.

Step 1 – Take Your Dog Out For A Brisk Walk

Before leaving, make sure to take your dog out for a brisk walk around the block. Aside from the benefits of exercise, you'll be draining their energy, which will put him in a resting mode by the time you come back to the house. Having your dog in that quiet, restful mode is the goal.

Step 2 – Say Goodbye Early

Ideally, you should ignore your dog for a few minutes before you leave and after you've arrived. This is to keep your position as pack leader and keep your dog as a follower. Unfortunately, this is hard for most dog owners to do, so to do away with having guilty feelings of “ignoring” your dog, you can say your goodbye early. Thirty minutes to an hour earlier would be best, and thus avoid leaving behind negative energy to your dog as you leave.

Step 3 – Leave The Radio On

If you have a habit of listening to the radio frequently, it may be a good idea to leave it on while you're away. Having background music on low may provide a soothing environment for your dog while they ares alone.

Step 4 – Keep Him Occupied With Toys

Leaving your dog with his favorite toys is a great distraction while you're away. While toys may not keep him occupied the whole time you're away, they will at least keep him occupied enough not to notice the moment you walk out the door.

Step 5 – Make The Transition Gradual

It can feel unpleasant for your dog to be left alone suddenly.  Make the experience less traumatic by leaving gradually. Start by leaving him for ten minutes, then twenty minutes, and so on. Gradual increase in “alone time” will make the experience less stressful for your dog.

Step 6 – Don't Make A Fuss

Dog Whisperer and canine behaviorist, Cesar Milan advises - “No touch, no talk, no eye contact.” Don't make a fuss when you're about to leave, or give any cues to your dog that you’re doing so. Act normally, as if your leaving wasn't a big deal. This translates to your dog that being alone isn't a big deal either.

Step 7 – Stay Calm And Assertive

Learn to control your emotions. Keep negative feelings at bay, and instead keep calm and assertive. By being in control of your emotions, you'll exude confidence and positive energy.  Your dog will sense this. Leaving your pet with positive, calm energy is the best thing an owner can do for them.

These are just some of the things you can do to handle your dog's separation anxiety. When done consistently, not only will you save yourself and your dog unnecessary stress, but will also build a healthier, happier environment for you and your dog.

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