Does your dog bark and make a mess around the house when you leave? Are the neighbors complaining nonstop? Are you desperate because you´ve tried it all and don´t know what to do? We understand what you are going through – many of us have gone through the same situation. These are some of the things that worked:
Dogs are animals that live in groups and are not used to being alone. When you leave them home alone, it can be stressful, causing them to bark and cry. All they want to do is grab your attention and get you to come back. These behaviors can start at any age, not just when they are puppies. This is why we should try to apply some of the things below so they never suffer.
If you want to hire a dog trainer, go for it. First, however, you should make sure the trainer doesn´t require your dog to take a bunch of additional classes to correct other, unrelated behaviors. If this happens, you have two options:
- Call another dog trainer.
- Tell your current dog trainer to charge for a one-time package that focuses on correcting separation anxiety.
These options will make sure that you´ve gotten your money´s worth.
Nowadays, being a dog trainer is trendy so you must be careful who you trust. It is important to know that working with a dog trainer without reinforcing behavior through exercises that he or she assigns is pointless. It´s crucial to be consistent.
Here is one simple and effective exercise that you can do at home:
Start by putting your dog in a room by himself (you can leave treat inside) for a few seconds. Enter the room just before he starts to bark or get upset. This way, he´ll start to realize that nothing happens when he´s alone. You can do this exercise as many times as needed, each time leaving him alone for longer periods.
Here´s another helpful tip:
When you get home or re-open the door after practicing the exercise above, ignore your dog for at least 5 minutes or until he calms down and is completely relaxed. If you start petting him as soon as you see him and he is excited, you will contribute to his anxiety and re-enforce unwanted behavior.
If you have practiced the two exercises above for a while and see no change, you can talk to your veterinarian about other options. For example, you can try using a pheromone collar for a month. Not only is it not harmful to your pet, it calms him by giving off a substance called the appeasing pheromone.
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