I hope you had a nice weekend!
Today’s guest writer is Rose Cabrera. Rose reviews pet cameras and other gadgets for TopSecurityReview.com. She spends most of her free time walking and playing with her adorable shih-tzus.
Separation anxiety in dogs is no laughing matter. When handled improperly, it can put you and your dog’s safety at risk. To ensure you approach the issue correctly, here are some of the most common misconceptions about separation anxiety and how they can be corrected.
1. Getting a new dog can help treat separation anxiety
A lot of pet owners think that their dogs feel anxious because they have no one with them at home. So, as a solution, they get another dog.
In certain cases, this can actually solve the problem, especially if a dog feels lonely. Any warm body, be it another dog or a human, can help soothe the dog’s anxiety. However, there’s always the chance that it won’t work. Instead of solving the issue, you can end up with two dogs with separation anxiety.
If you are considering getting the help of another dog, don’t adopt right away. Ask one of your friends first if he can let his dog stay at your place for awhile. If your dog responds positively, then you can bring another dog at home.
2. Destructive dogs are anxious dogs
One of the hallmark signs of separation anxiety in dogs is showing destructive behaviors.
When a dog is suffering from separation anxiety, he’ll look for objects and places that can give him comfort. Most of the time, this includes the scent of the owner. By instinct, he’ll go through his owner’s belongings as well as the door where his owner has left him.
However, you need to bear in mind that not all dogs that show destructive behaviors are anxious dogs. In some cases, it can be linked to being untrained, under-stimulated and boredom.
3. Dogs with separation anxiety won’t eat
Humans undergoing a lot of stress tend to lose appetite. However, for dogs, chewing can actually make them feel better. It helps them relieve tension and stress. They’ll gnaw on chew bones, treats and even their food dispenser. Keeping any of these things close by can help prevent destruction at home.
4. Anxious dogs should never be put in a crate
You can consider this one a partial myth. While it’s true that there are dogs who’ll try real hard to escape to the point of mutilating themselves, there are also dogs who find comfort in their crates. This goes particularly true with dogs who are used to sleeping in their crates at night and those who wouldn’t mind spending a few hours inside it during the day.
5. Allowing your dog to sleep with you can lead to separation anxiety
Letting your dog sleep with you will not directly trigger separation anxiety. However, allowing your dog to be close to you the entire time can build an intense familiarity and strong bond that can make it hard for him to be separated with you.
For dogs that already have separation anxiety, this can make things a lot worse. If he finds it difficult to be separated from you overnight, he’s likely to feel very bad once you need to leave him.
Instead of sharing the same bed, consider putting a separate sleeping space for your dog. This doesn’t mean that you need to keep him in a separate room or too far away from where you sleep. You can set up a bed for him next to yours. If he insists on getting up your bed, be consistent in putting him back to his own space.
In case putting your dog in a separate room is inevitable, it’s a good idea to set up a few cameras there. These devices can help you check on your dog even without getting up. Just make sure you read pet camera reviews first to know which ones are worth investing in.
6. You should ignore your dog the minute you arrive
A huge number of pet owners believe that for someone to avoid triggering separation anxiety in dogs, he needs to ignore his pet 10 minutes before he leaves and 10 minutes after he arrives. Although logical, this approach actually triggers more anxiety in dogs, especially if they don’t know exactly why they are being ignored.
Instead of totally ignoring your pet, try to greet your dog in a controlled manner. Avoid making a big fuss when you come home.
7. Dogs that are hyper-attached to their owners are more at risk of separation anxiety
There are dogs that just can leave their owners’ side. They’ll follow their owners to their room, kitchen and even the bathroom. Because of how attached they are, it’s easy to think that they are the ones who are likely to feel anxious when left behind.
As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that not all dogs who are strongly attached to their owners suffer from separation anxiety. Dogs that don’t constantly follow their owners aren’t completely free from anxiety, too.
8. Using special types of collars can alleviate anxiety in dogs
Using a a collar infused with citronella can stop anxious dogs from barking. This, however, doesn’t mean that they won’t feel anxious anymore.
9. Exercising dogs can help prevent separation anxiety
There’s no doubt about how important regular exercise is for dogs. It can make them stronger, flexible and more focused. Unfortunately, its list of benefits doesn’t include treating separation anxiety. If you want to really solve the issue, you have to know how to properly condition and desensitize your dog.
10. You should let your dog stick close to you at home
People get dogs for companionship and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you have a dog struggling with separation anxiety, you need to learn to put just the right amount of space between the two of you. This can set proper boundaries as well as let him find other things he can put his attention to.
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