Our furry friends mean the world to us and leaving them can be hard. Even if it’s just to do errands and run chores. Which is why dog separation anxiety solutions are more important than ever.
When I had my first puppy, I could barely leave his side without him whimpering and crying. It broke my heart!
Even if I just went upstairs for a few minutes, he would whine at me. I needed to know how to calm down a dog with anxiety so that my own anxiety wouldn’t spike through the roof!
It’s hard seeing our pooches in pain and it’s sad to imagine the emotional turmoil a dog must feel when its owner leaves. It’s impossible for dogs to understand that you’ll be back later, they think you’re gone forever!
That’s why I found it so important to find out the best anxiety solutions for dogs to calm them down. Here’s where my research led me.
7 Recommended Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions
1. Do Not Talk To Them Or Touch Them When You Leave
Okay, this might be a very hard thing to do, but it’s absolutely necessary to reduce your dog’s separation anxiety. Before you leave for work in the morning, or go out to do your afternoon chores, don’t interact with your dog.
Saying something to them or petting them will make it more obvious that you’re leaving. Your dog might not even be paying attention to you the moment you leave, and it’s best to keep it that way. Be quiet and subtle, slipping out of the house so they don’t think you’ve abandoned them.
2. Be Assertive And Proactive
Dogs are natural pack animals and they know how to follow the leader. Knowing how to train a dog with separation anxiety means knowing how to stay calm during stressful situations. Try not to feel guilty or nervous about leaving your dog at home.
Dogs are very sensitive creatures who can sense this tension and unease within you. Remain cool, calm and confident, and your dog will have a lot less to worry about.
3. Start With The Little Things
If your furry friend is really having trouble grasping the concept of you leaving, you might need to just ease them into it. Calm down a dog with anxiety by leaving him alone for just a few minutes at a time. Slowly get them used to the fact that you aren’t going to be by their side 24/7.
They might cry at first, but eventually they will come to learn that this is normal behavior and that you always come back.
4. Say Goodbye Before You Get Ready To Leave
One of the best dog separation anxiety solutions is to say goodbye to your dog long before you leave. If you can’t get used to the first solution on my list, this is a good alternative. It’s always important to put time aside to show your dog lots of loving. But this is especially important before you leave.
Sit down with them, give them lots of pets and tell them how much you’ll miss them while you’re gone. Then get ready to leave.
Don’t leave right away after all of that affectionate time. Your dog will feel satisfied that you spent time with them and won’t get as fussy when you leave.
5. Go For A Walk!
Another great way to reduce separation anxiety is to take your dog for a walk before you get ready to leave. Dogs need lots of exercise to be happy anyway, and a good way to get them to miss you less is to tire them out beforehand. That way, they aren’t all wound up and stuck in the house alone for all that time you’re gone.
Take them for a walk and reward them with a hearty breakfast and lots of water. They’ll be tired and in resting mode, making it easier for you to slip out of the house without your pup worrying or crying about it!
6. Give Him Some Medications
As a last resort, you can give your pooch some vet-approved medications to calm their nerves. While this isn’t something that should be used excessively, it can be helpful in some cases where your dog just won’t calm down any other way.
But what can you give a dog for anxiety, exactly? I recommend Pet MD's 10 Medications for Dog Anxiety as a good place to start. This is a good list when you’re wondering what safe solutions to use. This is a good method when your pet is experiencing debilitating anxiety.
Just make sure to check with your veterinary professional first, so you know that you’re giving your dog the right medicine (and the right amount of it).
7. Invest In Alone Time Treats!
Treat your dog to a positive rewards system if no other solution works for them. Give them some of their favorite toys or treats, but only when you leave. That way, this time is transformed from something negative to something they can really look forward to. This is one of the most effective dog separation anxiety solutions because it will totally rewire their brains!
I love treating my doggies to some freshly cooked meat or their rope chew toy when I leave to run errands. They are so distracted by the good times they’re having, that they sometimes don’t even notice when I walk out the door! I would feel offended, but I’m just glad that they aren’t in distress every time I do my chores now.
Lots Of Love Means A Happy Dog!
Try one or more of these dog separation anxiety solutions to see if your loving pooch will calm down when it’s time for you to leave. Depending on your dog’s background, and even their breed, they can react with worry or fear if you try to leave. Some dogs get more attached than others - that’s natural. But if your sweet dog is having trouble with short-term goodbyes, there are several ways you can help them out.
Don’t worry about giving them too much love. When it comes to dogs, there’s no such thing! When they feel like they’ve been given all of your love and attention, they won’t freak out when you go out the door. It might take some time to get your dog used to the idea of you coming and going, but as your loyal companion, they will learn the rules of the house no matter what.