Does your dog freak-out when you leave them? Separation anxiety can occur in households where someone is home fairly consistently, such as those that work from home. Nobody wants their dog to be unhappy or sad, so the anxious behaviors associated with leaving a pet may actually exacerbate the problem.

Try the following tips to help your dog recover from the stress caused by a separation from you:

Distract with something delicious.

Distract your pet with a bowl of their favorite kibble or dog food from a company like Surrey Meat Packers Ltd. Save treats for training exercises and rewards when you return, but leaving food while you are away may make the separation a bit easier on the pet.

Tire them out.

A tired dog is definitely going to protest less when you leave them. Be sure that you stimulate the dog's mind, too; engage in play, training, or long walks to stimulate the dog's mind and distract him from you.

Don't let your dog be your shadow.

Don't let your dog follow your every step when you are together; let him observe you but make him wait until you beckon or command him to join you. This will foster a sense of autonomy in your dog that makes him more comfortable being alone. Be sure to provide toys for your dog so that he has something to entertain himself with.

Don't make a fuss.

Triggers for pets' anxiety often comes from the long, dragged-out goodbyes that we have before we leave a room, or the pet. This also applies to our greeting when we return. Dogs worry when we are gone and when we reward them with praise, pets, and treats upon our return, we are reinforcing that concerned behavior and anxiety in the dog.

Be spontaneous and unpredictable.

Change it up and don't let your dog become too focused on the routine. This can make for havoc when a schedule is changed or a routine is modified. Changing habits that surround your dog will help him more easily adjust to the changes in the way that you respond and interact with him.

Crate-train early.

If you are getting a puppy, be sure to use crate-training to teach your dog to get along without you when you can't be in his sight. A comfy crate with familiar items, such as toys, can be a safe haven for a pet when you are not at home. This will provide him with reassurance and a place to go while he waits for his human to return.

Try these tips to help dogs gradually become less stressed when you have to leave them, and to hopefully curb some of the behaviors associated with separation anxiety. Breaking a pet's codependency requires consistency and firm boundaries, but rest assured these strategies will result in a happier, calmer pet in time. In extreme situations, veterinarians can prescribe medication that will calm and soothe a stressed pet.  

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