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Pets: Dealing with separation anxiety

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Dogs are great companions because they become so attached to people.  But that attachment sometimes becomes overwhelming to your dog.  Some dogs just want to curl up and take a nap while the owner is gone away from home.  Others have adverse behaviors indicating separation anxiety; in the form of excessive barking, household destruction including inappropriate elimination. These dogs are not acting out of spite or anger.  They are just distressed by separation from “their family.”

If your dog exhibits signs of separation anxiety you must work to desensitize him to separation.  We want to change the sequence of behaviors or cues you give him before leaving home. 

The “down/stay” is only one of the beginning training tools in getting your dog to better adjust to his home.

Teach and practice the “down/stay” exercise. When he is up to a 10 minute down/stay, slowly go out of sight for a few seconds. Gradually increase the amount of time to 10 minutes.

Reward your dog for being away from you and not following you around. If he stays In the down position while you walk out of the room, toss a treat to him..(don’t call him to you).

Hire Judy our professional trainer to help you get this process on a firm schedule and committing your time to your dog.

Do not leave your dog alone until he has shown obvious improvement. Take him to doggy daycare at your favorite pet spa, or leave him with a friend. (Your dog must not be left alone during this desensitizing process.) Which may take a month or more depending on you and your dog.

Early training in good behavior, increased physical and mental exercise will help you have a happy stress-free dog and keep you happy too.  Remember, your dog wants to please you.  Your patience, consistency and love will help him modify his behavior so it fits appropriately into the routine of your household.

To obtain more information about this and other behavior issues please contact Judy Estes, Certified Dog Trainer at American Pet Spa and Resort at 940-464-3300, www.americanpetspa.com 

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