What is it?
Separation anxiety is very common nowadays. Over the course of the pandemic, many families or individuals purchased dogs because after years of working a 9-5pm job or dual income, someone was home working remotely or found it necessary to stay at home as kids went to remote learning. Most found they finally had time to train a puppy at home!
What resulted was a very strong attachment of dog and owner and less socialization in the outside world.
We became our dog‘s world.
In all reality it is NOT a permanent scenario for most; people are returning to work and your dogs is confused, wondering why you are leaving them.
Separation anxiety is similar to a human panic attack, where the dog feels distressed over being away from you. This may look like destructive behavior, heavy panting, shaking or inability to calm down or relax.
Amy Jensen, of Baxter & Bella Online Training Program, talks about several things you can do to help your dog feel less anxious when you leave.
1. Give your dog small amounts of time when he or she has to be separated from you. Start out by doing this at home using a crate and making the crate a good experience by giving them things they like novel new treats something, to chew on and allowing them to be in there and leaving them for a short amount of time maybe even two or five minutes. Then expand this time to you leaving to walk around the block or go for a quick outing, continuing with the reward. Teach them to enjoy their crate time!
2. Dogs don’t naturally have impulse control. Just like human toddlers, they do what they want, especially when this behavior is reinforced by our actions. Teach them to control their emotions. This may look like having them wait for things such as toys or treats or have them wait to greet people or dogs on walks. Amy has several suggestions in her program on games that you can play with your dog to teach them these behaviors.
3. Lastly, avoid making it a show. Leaving should be treated as “no big deal”. Avoid baby talk when leaving and when coming back from being gone. Stay calm and keep your voice low. It may even be helpful to put your dog in the crate 5 minutes before you leave and wait 2-5 minutes when you get home before releasing them from it. It is always a good habit to wait to let them out of their crate till they have stopped barking and are sitting or laying down.
You can listen to the whole podcast at: https://www.baxterandbella.com/podcast/episode/4ab88951/episode-22-i-miss-you-already
(Podcasts free at baxterandbella.com. If you choose to sign up for a one-time lifelong membership, use our discount code APRICOT25 for 25% off!)
Pawtree's Chillax is recommended 30 minutes prior to stressful situation (whether it is a house full of guests, vet visit, treating separation anxiety or fireworks/loud noise exposure). It includes ginger and can also be helpful for motion sickness! It also comes in a bone for chewing Chillax to the Max CBD Bone. Find it here: https://www.pawtree.com/apricotpg/product/GMCBDBONES
CBD Mega helps support calming and behavior issues, mobility, itching from seasonal allergies, occasional joint discomfort, digestion and the immune system.
Both Chillax and CBD Mega are safe for daily use and both are tested and safe for adult dogs as well as puppies over 12-weeks. (Not tested in lactating or pregnant dogs to prove safety).
If you have tried these options and have no success,
It is best to reach out for professional help.
Professional training is does not mean you have failed as a pet parent! It means you care enough to invest in improving and enjoying your dog for the rest of your life together.
We have used these local trainers personally for our own dogs or they have been vetted by trusted friends:
Karen from Dog Zenergy in La Jolla, CA 858-349-5700
Lori from PawParadise in Poway, CA 619-997-7482
James Waite from Who's Walking Who in La Mesa, CA 619-269-3647