Back to School with Golden Rescue - Separation Anxiety
Lesson #4: Separation Anxiety
All animals, especially dogs and cats, love routine – they are, as the adage says: “Creatures of Habit”. So, when a household routine changes, we need to prepare our pets for these changes…if we don’t our pets might experience separation anxiety.
Here are some tips to help you!
- Timing: Begin by learning your dog alone for short periods of time. You should start with 5 or 10 minute intervals and gradually increase the amount of time you are away from your pet.
- Exercise: Before you leave for any amount of time, be sure to spend some time with your pet –taking your pet out for a short walk is a great way to ensure that they get a little bit of exercise before you leave. Exercise also alleviates excess energy!
- Treats!! Giving your pet a treat before you leave helps to build positive associations. Your dog will begin to associate leaving with getting treats.
- Activities: Give your dog an activity to engage in about 45 minutes before you leave. This will provide your dog with mental stimulation, which is really good for your pet!! Try a treat ball or a frozen stuffed KONG! Or, make your dog “hunt” her or his meals by hiding small piles of his kibble around your house or yard when you leave. Most dogs love this game!
- “It’s Not A Big Deal”: Try not to make coming home or leaving home a “big deal”- enter and exit your house calmly-your pet will pick up on your calm, gentle demeanour and will themselves become more calm and relaxed.
For more information on how you can reduce separation anxiety in your pet check out these websites:
- ASPCA - Separation Anxiety
- Project Pawsitive - When separation anxiety is not about the separation at all
- Paw Rescue - Dog Tip: Reducing Separation Anxiety