QUICK GUIDE TO SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS
Separation anxiety may sound trivial, but the symptoms and way it manifests itself in our dog’s behaviour is anything but. Coming home to a mess of toilet paper everywhere and pillows all destroyed isn’t always a sign of separation anxiety, your dog may have just been having a great time while you were out. The true causes of separation anxiety are not really known. Separation anxiety is not simply your dog missing you while you are not home. The issue is a little more complex.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS
While many people think that separation anxiety is shown by a dog that makes a lot of noise when an owner is leaving, the opposite is true. The dog is normally quite morbid. Another sign of separation anxiety is the fact that your dog is not eating food at all, even if you are out all day 6 days a week working. A dog that makes lot of noise and misbehaves is one that is normally bored and not suffering from the serious condition of separation anxiety. Think more of separation anxiety and a kind of depression that is a serious illness.
The causes of separation anxiety are not well known, while at the same time, many of the possible reasons are quite obvious. Dogs are social animals and they are not good at staying alone all the time on their own. There are many reasons that can cause separation anxiety in an animal, especially in one you have not had since a puppy. Specialists even believe it is related to DNA, as dogs were originally wolves and always lived in packs.
Symptoms include barking, howling, chewing furniture, scratching, urinating and defecating when would not normally do so, and pacing along a set route or path.
DON’T LET IT BECOME REINFORCED
If you are not disciplining your dog correctly, separation anxiety can actually become learned behaviour. For example, if your dog howls and barks when you leave the house, then you arrive home and shout at it. Your dog thinks that behaving badly is a good way of getting attention. Whether the attention is positive or negative is unimportant to the dog, it is attention all the same. You dog is obviously feeling quite sad.
PREVENT RATHER THAN HEAL SEPARATION ANXIETY
Like most dog behavioural therapy, it is necessary to tackle the issue in stages. Dogs can be so ill that they even need medication to help them recover from what is akin to serious depression in humans. I’ve found that any animal that is alone will end up being unwell. And you don’t need a university degree to understand why.
As with all illnesses, they are best prevented and easier to prevent than cure. Think twice about getting a pet if you are only going to be home 12 hours of the day and it will alone most of the time. Why would you want to do that to an animal anyway? If you must have a dog and you are going to be leaving it alone a lot of the time, think about getting 2 or 3 at least. I doubt you will have any dog with suffering with separation anxiety when you leave for work when there is 3 of them. They will have a great time in the backyard while you are out.
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