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Lately we’ve made lots of new buddies on Facebook. Our pal Sebastian Cabot helped us out by sharing our page. He’s a really cool pup! If you haven't already liked us on Facebook, you can follow my baby brother Chio and me, Charger the Guide Dog. You’ll find lots of tips for dealing with anxious pets and have some laughs too :)
As you may know, I’m very afraid of thunder. It cost me my career as a seeing eye dog. Instead, I like to see myself as a kind of pet therapist, helping others to deal with their anxiety. It’s been great getting to know all about my new friends and what turns them from proud pup into a scared dog. One thing that keeps popping up is separation anxiety. Lots of my friends are struggling with this so I have dedicated this week’s blog post to pets with separation anxiety.
Have you ever come home to total chaos - destroyed furniture, claw marks on doors and window still, blood stains and angry neighbors bothered by hours of howling or barking? These can be signs of separation anxiety. It’s a very serious disorder which can be very distressing for your dog and damaging to your home.
This is a complex condition that might need to involve the help of a behavioral specialist. But don’t despair, there are ways that you can try to reduce this.
- Take a long walk with your dog before you leave - this is my personal favorite! Dad also brings me for a swim to tire me out.
- Give your dog something to keep him busy right before you leave - a toy stuffed with food works really well.
- Mix up your routine. If picking up your keys triggers the reaction, try picking up your keys and then sitting down to relax. Put on your outside clothes and tidy the house. Make these triggers less threatening.
- Let your dog know that you’ll be home soon by telling them “I’ll be back”.
- Try using aromatherapy - relaxing oils and plugins can help calm your pooch.
- Calming music can help a dog to relax. Just make sure it’s his idea of calming music though, not yours! We hear music different to humans. Classical music or similar soothing music works great.
- Before adopting a second dog to keep your dog company, try borrowing a neighbor’s dog to see if their presence helps. A calm, relaxed dog might relieve your dog’s stress.
- Remove any stressful things from your dogs surroundings when they are left alone - no choke chains, shock collars, or scolding. These things don’t tend to make a happy dog anyway and dad wouldn’t allow them in our house.
- Create a safe haven for your dog. My dad made me a ZenCrate which makes me feel safe and secure while he’s gone. It also plays soothing music and blocks out sound so I can hide during a thunder storm.
- If all else fails, getting help from a behavioral specialist might be the best thing to do.
Please comment below if your dog suffers with separation anxiety or any other distressing emotional behavior issue. If you think this article would help someone, please do share it. You can also sign up to my mailing list for more tips.
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