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Thread: Separation anxiety

  1. #1

    Default Separation anxiety

    I have recently moved from acreage to the city. My dog used to bark when I left but no one could hear him and my neighbour said that he stopped after I left, so it was a bit of a game. I have now adopted a stray who has separation anxiety and carries on when I go out and and my 7 year old is joining in. Do I need to do the "leave and come back quick and make it longer and longer" until they realise I am coming back. I like to leave my big dog in the house when I'm not home as I'm not in a good area. They are in the house most of the time and I am home most of the time. Should I start making them spend part of the day outside so they are not so attached to me? I also have a little blind dog but he's happy with the big dog around.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    I haven't had to do this, but I think the idea is indeed that you gradually make them used to you leaving. Especially if you don't leave them every day. I have seen it demonstrated where the owner starts with putting on their shoes and coat, get their car keys and walk towards the door and then just go back to what they were doing. They do this very regularly until the dogs don't react anymore. Then go out and come straight back in, lots of times. Etc.

    I suppose you could couple that with rewarding when the dogs stay calm too.

    So you have 3 dogs now? But you leave 2 outside when you go out? I can recommend installing a dog door or leaving the back door open when you go out. I think locking them outside would exacerbate their anxiety. If that is not possible, making them used to being outside when you are home is probably the next best thing indeed.

    And give them lots of things to do. Bones, chews, kongs or treat balls, etc. You can also hide food around the yard. I used to do this when I got my rescue dog. Things like fresh bones and chicken necks, etc. You can even make a scent trail to get them to go searching for the loot.

    Playing an exiting game of fetch or similar with them before you go out is also supposed to help. And then ignore them for the first 5-10 mins when you come home. The idea is to make you leaving more rewarding for them than you coming home. Though I must admit I find it very hard not to enthusiastically greet my dog when I come back home. I think I'm as excited to see her as she is to see me.
    Last edited by Beloz; 01-08-2012 at 01:47 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Logan, Brisbane QLD


    my shelter dog did the same thing, i asked the instructor how to combat this and she gave me the same method as you described up above. I never bothered, and instead i kidnap my mum's dog during the week so that keeps her happy lol

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