Helping your Dog with Separation Anxiety.
Separation Anxiety is when your dog is unable to cope when they are left alone. It is heartbreaking and really distressing to see and it can tragically destroy the bond between the dog and human.
As a knock on effect from Covid-19, so many people have worked from home and been around their dog 24-7. Needless to say many dogs have not been exposed to time alone in this time or ever in their life.Now as life resumes to some sort of normality, it is incredibly hard for these dogs to cope when owners go back to work.
In this post we are going to show you some awesome products that can help your dog right away. They are a great way to help you associate their “safe space” to positivity and an amazing place to be and gradually teach them to be happy on their own for very short periods of time and then build on these durations to teach your dog from scratch how they can be happy alone.
*Please note this post includes affiliate links, which mean I receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you on any purchase that is made.*
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety.
Symptoms vary from dog to dog but here are some of the common signs you may see if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety:
- excessive whining, barking or howling in your absence.
- coming home to the house being chewed or destroyed.
- your dog following you around the house and garden.
- your dog unable to settle when you are not in the room.
- self-harm, panting, excessive licking.
- toileting accidents in the house when they have been previously toilet trained.
Why will these Products Help your Dog?
These products are tried and tested and will make a huge difference in your dogs life without a doubt, here are some of the reasons why:
- Teaching your dog to be happy alone is the first step in dealing with separation anxiety problems before the rest of the frustrating behaviours can be treated.
- Dogs learn by association and one of the best ways to positively associate something new is through fun, entertaining activity toys that can be stuffed with yummy food and treats.
- Dogs love working for food and foraging for food as it releases happy chemicals in their brain that makes them feel good.
- These activity toys will mentally stimulate your dog and keep them entertained for hours.
- A well stimulated dog has less energy to be anxious.
- They will enable you short bursts of time to begin teaching them to be happy alone in their safe space whilst they are focused on something that they enjoy.
- Some of the recommended products can be stuffed and frozen so it takes longer for you dog to eat the treats.
The 7 Best Products to Help Your Dog Today.
- Pheremone Collar
This enables the dog to smell a smell similar to their lactating mum, which they find very soothing and calming and makes a huge difference instantly when beginning any happy alone training.
2. Classic Kong Cone.
Can be stuffed with yummy food and treats and frozen to make it last longer. This will keep your dog entertained for ages. Available in a range of sizes and textures depending on the size and age of your dog.
3. Slow Feeder Dishes.
There are a huge variety of these slow feeder dishes designed to slow down your dogs meal times, preventing gulping but make them think more about working for their food. Available in a range of different sizes.
4. K9 Wooden Puzzle Games.
These are a great way to engage your dogs brain, make them work hard to figure out how where the food is and how to get to it. Once they have got the hang of it, its really useful activity to leave your dog with whilst you need to nip put for a short while.
5. K9 Forage Slider.
This is a slow feeder and puzzle bowl all in one and your dog will have great fun finding the treats by sliding the buttons along.
6. Treat Dispensing Toy.
Your dog will have lots of fun chasing this around the room and cleaning up the trail of treats.
7. KONG Jump n Jack.
This is so much fun. Fill the holes with treats and the grooves with peanut butter, meat paste, pate or cheese spread and freeze it for hours of bouncy entertainment.
How and When to use these products.
Aside from the first product which can be on your dog at all times when beginning to teach your dog to be happy alone, these products can be used several times a day. Here are some situations that using these activity toys can prove to be invaluable:
- when leaving your dog in their safe space for short periods when you pop out of the room to do some jobs around the house, pop to the toilet, answer the door etc.
- When going out and leaving your dog at home, these can help keep your dog entertained and focused on something else rather than thinking about you not being there.
- to reinforce to them that their safe space is an AMAZING place to be as they get amazing treats and toys when they are in there.
- when you are busy with something else such as eating or cooking dinner and your attention is not on the dog.
- to keep your dog entertained in another room in a positive way whilst you are getting ready on a morning or getting children ready for school.
- on a night time to help them to settle in their safe space.
Depending on whether you are using a crate or not some of these activity toys may work better in certain situations. The puzzle games are probably not the easiest to use in a crate but would work well if their safe space was something like a utility room.
Other ways to Stimulate your Dog.
There are so many ways to keep your dog mentally stimulated aside from activity toys. Not only is it vital that your dog is getting the recommended physical off-lead exercise for their breed each day but they also need stimulating through games, tricks and basic command training. They love to learn and work for food and get a huge endorphin release (feel good feeling) every time they are rewarded for doing something good.
You can check out LOTS of awesome activities to help you have fun with your dog HERE.
For help with building up a basic commands repertoire check out the basic commands module on our WELCOME HOME PUPPY COURSE or find out more about the course HERE. By investing as little as 5/10 minutes a day into teaching and expanding on all the basic commands, not only will you have a superbly behaved dog but your dog will have less energy to be bored or anxious and be happy and content in their surroundings even when you are not around.
Commonly asked Questions.
1. I have used a kong before and my dog didn’t seem overly keen on it.
Stick with it, it can sometimes take a little while for them to get the hang of it. Stuff it with high value food such a chicken, cheese, ham bits of their kibble and cover/plug the end with a meat paste or cheese spread and freeze it to make it last longer. Give it to them any time you leave them alone even for a few minutes and especially if you are going out for a little longer.
2. Do the Pheremone Collars really work?
Yes they do, they are proven to have a calming affect on dogs and really help them to adapt to learning to have time on their own. The collar is on them all the time releasing the pheremone and you can also use a plug in diffuser for the room they spend the most time.
3. Will my Dog get Fat from too Many Treats?
If your dog was consuming a large amount of pet shop treats then yes but they are not high value enough for training we are talking about fresh tasty food like chicken, liver, sausages etc. When using treats a lot in training we do recommend reducing the overall daily allowance of their kibble down slightly but remember you can also use their food mixed in with high value treats too. Normally we recommend weighing out your dogs food allowance for the day, reduce it by 100-200g to account for the treats. Chop up a mixed bag of high value treats for the day (chicken, cheese, ham, hotdog, liver etc) and throw in a handful of they daily food.