More tips on dealing with separation anxiety

Bark Busters Tips 'n' Tails . Spring 2005

• Provide good leadership. Train the dog to respond to you rather than you responding to the dog. Teach him to sit, stay, and come. Make certain that you physically lead him through doorways and up and down stairs. Teach him to walk at your side or behind you.

• Do not over-nurture. Picking a small dog up, frequently responding to a dog's requests, and allowing a dog on a bed or couch are examples of over-nurturing. Dominance is best expressed by ignoring a dog's wishes and by breaking eye contact with
the dog.

• Leave the dog at times. Allowing a dog to constantly follow its owner contributes to separation anxiety. Owners should make certain the dog is separated from the owner for periods of time every day. This way the dog gets used to the owner being away.

• Ignore the dog before you leave. About 10 minutes before you leave your house, start totally ignoring the dog. Do not talk to the dog in a nurturing voice, such as "Don't worry, Missy. I'll be home soon." This increases the dog's anxiety. As you leave the house give a low "BAH" type guttural sound. This is reassuring to the dog since it mimics the sound a canine pack leader would make when it leaves the pack for a short while.

• Get professional help. Separation anxiety can be very complex, but with the help of a professional trainer it can be remedied and the dog can become a loving companion.