Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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Make sure there are no medical causes of the chewing behavior.[1][2] In some cases, dogs chew as a coping behavior when they suffer from psychological problems (like anxiety). Use deterrent sprays.[7] Dogs are much less likely to chew on things with tastes that they find unpleasant.
Encourage good chewing by providing your dog with toys and treats.[9] If you provide your dog with acceptable things to chew on, it will have fewer incentives to chew inappropriate objects.
Make sure to spend time with your dog.[12] Domestic dogs are social creatures that have evolved to be accustomed to contact with humans as well as with other dogs.
Objects such as remote controls, shoes, and books are common temptations for dogs that like to chew. Repeat this process until your dog moves away from your hand as soon as you say "leave it." This teaches your dog that ignoring whatever it wants to bite or chew on is better than chewing on that thing. Your enthusiasm as an owner can wear thin, however, as soon as your dog starts ruining your possessions with frequent chewing. Likewise, if your dog is affected by certain parasites or nutritional deficiencies, it may be compelled to chew all sorts of things.


Thus, you can discourage your dog from chewing on certain things by rubbing or spraying them with bad-tasting substances. If they become bored or are kept from contact with other dogs, some dogs can resort to destructive coping behavior, including chewing. Dogs don't just want toys; they want fun, happy interactions with the people in their family! As soon as it loses interest in your hand, however, offer it the treat from the other hand and give it lavish praise.
As with any type of behavior you wish to change, one of the most important things to do is manage the environment.
Exercise is vitally important for dogs prone to inappropriate chewing or other destructive behaviors. Occasionally chewing or tearing things up is a symptom of a more serious problem, such as separation anxiety. A few training books are still on the market that advocate inhumane methods for stopping destructive behaviors, such as putting duct tape around a pet’s mouth or physically hitting a dog.


Chewing or tearing things up (like paper) can also be a displacement behavior, a way to release pent-up energy or stress.
For example, spray items with Bitter Apple spray or Boundary dog repellant, or use a Scat Mat at the edge of a countertop, to stop counter surfers.
If you suspect separation anxiety, the first thing you need to do is schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
But we often forget that many adult dogs need the same type of management to keep them out of trouble.



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