Having dogs with separation anxiety can be quite a big problem, when it comes to leaving your puppy alone while at work. Especially if you don’t have nobody to keep on eye on him while you’re gone.
Home Alone and Feeling Frantic
Most mature dogs catch a nap when their owners leave the house, but some anxious puppies pitch a fit when they’re left alone. Most common dog anxiety symptoms:
- chewing on the carpet or sofa
- shred the toilet paper
- bark nonstop
- any combination of destructive behaviors
To better understand dogs with separation anxiety, consider the phobias people have. Some people are afraid of heights, others are afraid of tight places, and still others are afraid of the water. Well, dogs are social creatures, and some of them are afraid being alone. They panic, pure and simple, and then make noise or destroy stuff to release pent-up nervous energy.
To understand the condition even more, we provide some tips for alleviating your dog’s nerves.
Adjusting your exits and entrances
Some dogs seem to born with the tendencies toward separation anxiety. Others develop it after a major change-the owner’s divorce or being given up for adoption. But a surprising number of dogs catch the problem from their owners. it goes something like this:
” Oh, poor poor Pepe. I’m leaving now. Are you gonna miss me? Are you? I’m gonna miss you. poor sweetums. You”ll be all alone(kiss, kiss). Now you’ll be a good boy, won’t you? Give mama a kiss. That’s my boy. Poor baby. I’ll be back soon…”
And then the owner leaves.
Now, what does Pepe make of all this? He just got a lot of attention and symphony and then his human left. Maybe she’s not coming back. Maybe he’ll never see her again. Maybe he’ll never see anyone ever again. No wonder he feels anxious.
The best way to prevent separation anxiety in dogs is to make your comings and goings low key. Ignore your Chihuahua for ten minutes before you leave and take him for granted when you return. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your dog has human emotions. He doesn’t tear up the house out of spite because you left him alone. And he certainly doesn’t have fun doing it. He’s actually miserable. Separation anxiety is comparable to a person with claustrophobia getting stuck in an elevator. Your Chihuahua needs help, not punishment.
Alleviating the anxiety
Okay. You know your dog already has a separation anxiety problem. Perhaps you could have prevented it, but no need to fret over that now. Just don’t set up your dog for another dreadful day of demolition. Instead, crate him comfortably when you leave the house. In addition to keeping him out of trouble, being in his den may calm him.
Now that you have the destruction under control, you can work on alleviating your Chihuahua’s anxiety problem when he has the run of the house. To do this, you must leave the house frequently for short periods of time. Eventually, that teaches him that comings and goings are unimportant because you always return.
Here’s how to set up your scenarios if you have a Chihuahua with separation anxiety:
- Take Pepe outside to eliminate about ten minutes before you leave.
- Turn on the radio and make sure two of his favorite toys are available.
- Leave Pepe’s crate in its normal place with the door open so he can go inside if he wants to.
- Don’t say goodbye or reassure Pepe in any way. In fact, don’t give him any attention at all for several minutes before you leave.
- Leave, close the door behind you, and count to ten. Open the door, go inside, and ignore Pepe for a minute or two. Then tell him to “Sit” and praise him for obeying.
- Gradually increase the amount of time before you come back in. Make progress slow at first. Take two weeks to go from ten seconds to ten minutes.
If you find a puddle or the beginning of any destruction, don’t call it to your puppy’s attention. Make a mental note of how long you were gone. Next time, decrease the amount of time you stay away. Then gradually work your way back up.
With a lot of practice, you may be able to work your way up to spending a few hours away from home without your Chihuahua having an anxiety attack. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with every dog. If your dog doesn’t learn to accept separations, he may need professional help. Ask your vet for referral to a behaviorist. The solution will include desensitization work and may include a temporary prescription of a drug to help keep your dog calm as he completes his desensitization program.
If your dog used to suffer from separation anxiety but overcame it, be sure to put him in a reputable boarding kennel when you go on vacation instead of hiring a dog walker or house sitter. Otherwise, leaving home and not returning for a week or more could make him regress.
If your Chihuahua becomes a demolition demon when home alone, the worst thing you can do is punish him when you get back. This simply gives him additional anxiety. Instead of being scared only when you leave , he’ll be terrified of your return, too. That means double trouble.
Read more about avoiding separation anxiety in dogs.
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