Behavioral Issues in Dogs
Another one of the big behavioral issues in dogs (and cats as well, who knew?), is Separation Anxiety. Face it, your dog(s) and cat(s) love to spend time with you. You’re their human! They love you, and when you’re gone, they miss you and they get anxious.
You’d be surprised to learn that it isn’t necessarily about the waiting that causes the anxiety. It’s more about the expectation of you coming home that makes them anxious. When we come home and we’re greeted at the door by someone who is so happy to see us, well, we all do it! We make a big fuss over them! Helloooo! I missed you! Who’s a good boy? Is it you? Yes it is! It’s you! It’s all about the expectation of that greeting!
While We’re Gone
The expectation of our arrival is what they think about all day! I mean, really…what else do they have to think about? The house is quiet. No one is there to make a fuss over them, so they wait for that burst of energy when you walk through the door. Sometimes they just can’t wait any longer and they start the burst of energy before you get there, and unfortunately it’s your furniture or maybe your shoes that have to pay the price. But that’s ok to your dog, because it made the time pass quicker, meaning that you might get home sooner!
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
- Peeing or pooping on the floor
- Barking or howling while we’re gone
- Of course, we hear about this from our neighbors!
- Chewing and/or digging
What To Do About It
So how do we help our furry family members cope with separation anxiety? Avoid those strong bursts of energy when you come home:
- Start a new homecoming routine
- Enter the house calmly
- Avoid eye contact, and initially, even physical contact
- Allow everyone to adjust to a busy house again, with the least amount of fuss possible
- Set your stuff down
- Take your dog (or cat) outside to relieve themselves
- After about 5 minutes, you can let yourself get silly, once the normal bustle of the house has been reestablished
Don’t get me wrong, this is not easy. It goes against every instinct we have when we come home to our pets. But trust me, if you reverse your psyche and make leaving your pet an emotional, excited treat laden time and make greeting your pet (when you get home) boring and no big deal, you will have a happier, better adjusted family member.
— Dr. Tanya Boyle Brown DVM, Port City Referral Hospital in Portsmouth NH
To be continued…Enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to check back on Monday for a continuation of Behavioral Issues in Dogs. Please feel free to leave a comment (or suggestion). I will get back to you as soon as I can. Sign up for our newsletter (above), and hop on over to my Facebook page and click the button to send me an email! I check my email multiple times a day.