Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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One of the first things that you need to do is look for the warning signs of separation anxiety. The best way to tell if your dog is suffering from anxiety, and that they aren’t just bored, is to spend more time with them and get them some toys to play with throughout the day.
Most pet owners want to treat the separation anxiety naturally, rather than give them medications to help ease the effects.
It usually starts out with the following, “My dog follows me everywhere” or “My dog won’t stop scratching at the door when I leave.” Some pet parents think that it’s endearing and cute when their dog is attached to them at the hip but when it comes time to leave your beloved furry family alone, stress ensues and it is a major behavior and health problem.
Separation anxiety in dogs is an acute or chronic unnatural, unhealthy phobia and stress which ensues when a dog is left alone from their pet parent.
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and only a positive reinforcement, force-free Certified Professional Dog Trainer with many years of experience with separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is very serious, can be life threatening and is a very scary and traumatizing experience for dogs.
Thank you Russell for your dedication and compassion for training & helping homeless dogs. Russell is not only one of my dearest friends, but the guru of dog training, behavior and all things dog! You are so impressive; I cannot believe how much you know about dogs and how fast the dogs are learning. We already mentioned the separation anxiety that puppies have, and this is sometimes something that they just grow out of as they get older and become more trusting that you will return home to them at the end of the day.
This often times makes it difficult to determine why your dog may be experiencing this anxiety when they are separated from you.

There are a variety of different signs that may indicate that they suffer from separation anxiety. There are a few things that you can do that will be all natural, safe and effective at modifying your dog’s behavior and helping them to feel at ease. Studies show that cortisol levels (a steroid hormone released in response to stress) spike even for dogs that are left alone who do not display signs of separation anxiety.13 If you find your dog exhibiting these types of stress or behavior issues, your dog may have separation anxiety (SA).
Separation anxiety often occurs with shelter dogs, who experience substantial change and instability in the family home. Although sometimes impossible to accomplish, try your best to avoid replicating the results where your dog is in fear. The problem is, sometimes the signs of separation anxiety are very closely related to the signs that come along with just plain boredom in dogs.
Puppies will often show these signs in the beginning, and sometimes it is because of both boredom AND separation anxiety.
It takes a great deal of time and energy to combat separation anxiety and you should have reasonable expectations and time frames before calling a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) with adequate experience in dealing with separation anxiety cases such as Fun Paw Care.
It helps to brainstorm, be creative and to discuss with your behavior specialist the different options and scenarios where you may avoid putting your dog in any undue stress and panic. NEVER scold or punish your dog for any reason, in particular for being afraid and having fear.
Once you rule out anything physical, you can begin to treat the anxiety and modify their behaviors.
Separation anxiety and your dog’s clinginess are far from cute or endearing; they are extremely debilitating, traumatic and stressful for your dog and will end your social life faster than a nun in South Beach Miami (no offence to nuns).

No two cases are the same and it requires experience in dealing with a variety of separation anxiety cases, vast expertise, and knowledge of ethology, cognitive ethology, psychopharmacology, epidemiology, ontogeny and thinking outside of the box. In addition, create a safe room or area of your home where your dog feels confident and comfortable in.
Teach your dog how to cope and learn in a healthy, confidence building way through empowering exercises. Sometimes, homes that have multiple dogs will be less likely to have pups that experience these anxiety issues, because they always have someone there, a friend so to speak! When a pet parent leaves their pet alone, emotional, physical, pathological, and detrimental conditions ensue, shorting your dog’s lifespan1. As with all social animals, empowering others fosters learning, comfort and calm homeostasis.17 Always empower your pet and let your dog choose this safe area, not you.
Depending on the intensity, lasting reprieves from separation anxiety are measured in months and take commitment and energy. Consistency patience and repetition will pay off with a skilled force-free, CDBC and CPDT and your dog will thank you.

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