How to Reduce Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Most of us dog owners love to tell stories of our amazing, brilliant, smart and rotten dogs. How many times have you heard about the pet who, unhappy that its owners’ left them alone, left a “present” of the most unpleasant kind?

Really though, dogs aren’t capable of “spite.” They aren’t like people. Humans are the only animals that have an idea of “revenge,” “spite,” or “getting even.” That’s not to say that dogs don’t have emotions – all dog owners know better. But most of us can agree that dogs aren’t planners – they live completely in the moment.

As far as disciplining your dog for making a mess in the floor goes, you should only correct them if you catch them in the act. The old technique of “rubbing their nose in it” isn’t something that you can do hours after the fact. Dogs do not remember committing the crime. Yelling at the dog when you find the mess only teaches the dog that finding a mess is bad. Therefore, in dog logic, he will learn to hide the mess instead of learning not to make a mess in the first place.

If you’ve been tempted to accuse your dog of “spiteful” behavior because it does leave messes when you’re gone, it may be time to rethink what’s going on. Your dog isn’t telling you that it’s angry you left – it’s telling you it’s anxious and unsure when you’re not there.

It’s been said many times that dogs are pack animals. As a pet owner, you should be heralded as the leader of the pack by your dog. This means your dog is, for its entire life, a juvenile member of the group. Because you are the strongest member of your “pack,” your dog may be a be feeling separation anxiety when you leave; it doesn’t know what to do when its leader isn’t there to direct him. You can help combat this anxiety with CBD oil for dogs and with proper training.

Now that we understand, a little bit anyway, how a dog thinks, we can use that information to help create the behavior we want. Crate training your dog is a good way to alleviate many sources of anxiety – both yours and your dog’s. A crate, or cage, is civilization’s answer to a cave or den. Your dog, when faced with stress, can know that it will feel safe and secure in its “den”. A crate should be big enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down. That’s it.

If you are claustrophobic, don’t project that onto your dog. Like cats with boxes, a dog likes feeling safe, secure and enclosed. It likes not being responsible for checking out every sound. It’s happy and able to relax when there are no decisions that have to be made. Never let a dog make a decision – it will choose wrong.

There are people who resist the idea of a crate. They think that a crate is cruel. And there are some dogs who do not need their crates past puppyhood. But if your dog is prone to separation anxiety, a crate will help keep your dog safe and calm while you aren’t immediately available. If you’ve never used a crate, or put it away as your dog matured, you will have to introduce it slowly. Leave it out with the door open, possibly with your dog’s bed inside. You can try to feed the dog in the crate. Throwing toys into the crate for it to fetch is another way to slowly introduce it. Whatever you do, don’t ever use the crate as punishment, or as a substitute for a trip outside to do their business. Remember that dogs shouldn’t be left alone more than six to eight hours. If your schedule requires an animal to be left alone 10 or 12 hours a day – you should consider getting a dog walker, or get a cat instead.

When you begin crate training, only leave the dog in the crate for a few minutes. Have a special treat, like Medipets CBD CBD Dog Treats or toy that the dog gets only in his crate. Many people like to use a hollow rubber toy with a bit of peanut butter or soft cheese spread inside. Happily tell your dog it’s time to “kennel,” (the word you choose doesn’t matter, as long as you are consistent) and put the toy in the crate.

If the dog doesn’t come – go get it. Never tell your dog to “come” to you for something it doesn’t enjoy. Place it in the crate, close the latch and then walk away. Only leave them alone for a few minutes the first time. If the dog whines or cries, ignore it. When it’s quiet, let the dog out and tell her what a good girl she is.

Gradually build up the amount of time your dog is in the crate. Conventional wisdom says that the first 15 minutes are the best indicator. If the dog settles within that time he’ll be fine. And you’ll both be happy – Pupper has no decisions to make, and you’ll have no messes to clean.

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