Dominick with two dogs in the playroom at Dogtopia Meadowvale in Mississauga!

Ever had your dog barking, whining or tugging at your sleeve when you try to leave for work? Though those might not be all the signs that you see with your dog, you may have seen a thing or two associated with separation anxiety.

Why does my dog have separation anxiety?

Dogs are like children that we raise from the day we get ownership over them. Pet parents treat them like their children or a member of their family, and it’s only natural just like any child that gets separated from their parents and experiences anxiety, so do our dogs.

The big difference between our kids and our dogs is as they get older, they don’t get the same development that children do. Dogs don’t have a voice that would help them communicate with their pet parents, nor have they learned the same independence as a child turning into a teenager would.

How can I treat my dog’s separation anxiety?

Treating this condition isn’t a one-time thing, but a continuous process between the dog and the person they are possessive of. You may have to cut back or be careful of the words that you say around your dog that might induce the anxiety.

  • Practice door control: you can teach them that it’s okay that you’re leaving and you’ll be right back. Slowly increase the amount of time that you’re out the door so that your dog will become accustomed to it.
  • Redirection: if your dog is the type to bark, you can redirect his behaviour.
  • Meet other dogs: your dog is possessive of you because you’re his pet parent. Have him meet other people and other dogs, so he becomes less attached to you. Taking him to a dog park can help him, but there’s a likelihood that he’ll be glued to your hip. If this happens, try a daycare that is willing to work with your dog and integrate him into a pack. In this environment, you won’t be near your dog all the time.
  • Crate training: the crate is his bedroom and home. It’s his comfort zone, giving him a place to be when you’re not around.

What are some things I need to be careful about?

Small gestures like petting your dog because they’ve asked to be pet can come across as cute, but it’s those small gestures that might reinforce bad behaviour. It’ll give him the idea that he’s in control to ask for whatever he wants and attach himself to you more.

Whichever method you’ve used for his separation anxiety, ensure that you’re continuing it so you can have a happy and balanced dog.

Dominick with two dogs in the playroom at Dogtopia Meadowvale in Mississauga!