Riley’s View: Dog Separation Anxiety

Riley

Hi Friends,

I wanted to share about a recent conversation I overheard between my dad, professional trainer Marc Elias, and his human companion about SA. Humans and their acronyms, it’s hard enough learning the English language let alone decoding an acronym. Anyhow I searched for SA on my humans company website and learned that SA is short for separation anxiety.

After reading the article, it occurred to me that I exhibit some of the behaviors of classic separation anxiety. In fact, my four legged friends Calli the German Shepherd and Phil the Cocker Spaniel down the hall from me also get upset when their owners are not within reach.

For the sake of Calli and Phil and all my furry friends alike, I thought I’d take time out of my nap schedule to help you and your dog regarding the issue of separation anxiety.

Well first, I recall mom and dad changing the location of where I sleep each night. A couple months ago I used to sleep beside the bed every night and sometimes on the bed. Now, I sleep outside the bedroom every other night with zero access to my humans bed.

separation anxiety

Apparently the more time I spend with my family the more my separation anxiety (or pack drive) is reinforced. Creating boundaries, as I understand it, teaches me to cope and have time alone. Mom sometimes pleads with dad to let me into the bedroom (I can hear it from the other-side of the door) but he doesn’t budge. A leader is a leader, rules are rules.

I don’t mind being outside my humans bedroom that much, especially since I get my favorite treats such as bully sticks, frozen packed Kongs and my favorite, this new dog puzzle I got from Nina Ottosson.

One way I know these recent changes have made a difference is during car trips with mom and dad. Usually when mom leaves the car I get panicky and anxious wondering why she is leaving, where she is going and when she’ll be back. Lately, I find I’m a little less concerned when mom leaves me. Be it in the car, or if dad and I walk with her in the morning then leave after seeing her walk up the big blue staircase towards that loud thing overhead on tracks.

I am middle aged Goldendoodle, I suppose it’s about time I learn to cope with being alone or not having my humans attention all the time. Something tells me I am going to have to get used to this. Mom says I’m going to be a big sister soon. Not sure but I think that swollen belly of hers means that there will be a new human in our pack soon.

 

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Marc Elias, ABCDT is the CEO (Canine Executive Officer) of Pooch Pals, the New York-based pet training and care service. After six years of experience working for corporations, Marc sought a less traditional role aligned with his background in client services, operations and marketing, paired with his love of animals and helping people. Today, Marc Elias is the Canine Executive Officer of Pooch Pals LLC with a dog training certification from the Animal Behavior College. Marc and his Goldendoodle Riley are active pet therapy volunteers certified by the Good Dog Foundation. Pooch Pals is committed to positive reinforcement dog training. They believe in creating a positive culture in New York City’s pet community, and they welcome clients who are as passionate as they are about receiving personal service for their dogs including positive reinforcement training.

 photo source

 

Anxious Doggies No More: What You Need To Do

By Kate Voss

A New Treatment for Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

For us dog owners who are required to spend the majority of the day away from home, one constant worry is the effect of leaving our beloved pooch alone and potentially bored for hours at a time. Boredom rarely has positive outcomes when it comes to dogs, especially those with separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety is a psychological term to describe the stress and anxiety a dog experiences when owners are absent. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), it is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of all canines suffer from separation anxiety. When animals feel neglected, they may resort to destructive behaviors, including barking, urination, defecation, and the dreaded chewing.

Home Remedies for Stay-at-Home Dogs?

Daily exercises, attention to your pet while you are home, and creating a routine when leaving and returning may help lessen the effects of separation anxiety in your dog. However, many pet owners still have to spend a large part of the day away from their dog. Working dog owners need solutions that can ease their pet’s anxiety and prevent destructive behaviors while they are gone.

For working dog owners, there is a new way to help distract and entertain a dog that suffers from separation anxiety — DOGTV. The TV channel created specifically for dogs claims to have found a way to “provide all important mental stimulation for dogs and help prevent boredom behavior”. The programs feature relaxing sounds and entertaining visuals, including dogs riding in cars, frolicking in fields and playing with colorful bouncing balls.

Benefits of DOGTV on Separation Anxiety

There has already been research done on auditory stimulation as a way to calm an anxious pup, but DOGTV is supposedly scientifically developed to cater to dog’s specific sense of vision and hearing, including altered frame rates and audio frequencies. This allows more dogs to become intrigued by and pay attention to the TV screen, and hopefully focus to reduce stress levels. Distraction and relaxation are effective ways to lessen your dog’s anxiety, and therefore reduce behavioral problems associated with their stress.

As with any treatment, however, all dogs will not respond the same way to DOGTV. Before you invest in this channel, you should make sure DOGTV is a possible solution for your pup by checking their response to samples of the program, and to television in general – some dogs have little to no interest in television, and some older TVs may not even offer a picture that your dog will recognize as a moving image.

Alternative Treatments:

Other ways to calm separation anxiety in dogs, include auditory treatments like Through a Dog’s Ear (a music therapy system for dogs); the use of a “Thundershirt,” a garment that wraps tightly around your dog’s body to make them feel secure; or even calming scents and aromatherapy. Also, simply creating some “jobs” for your dog to accomplish while you are away, such as a treat maze or a Kong filled with treats, will help keep them entertained and distracted from their anxiety by activating their foraging instincts.

Whether it’s DOGTV, or other auditory/visual alternatives, make sure you spend some time tailoring your approach to your dog’s preferences and you’ll be able to keep your home in order, stay guilt-free, and most importantly, keep your dog calm and happy!