It is hard for many of us to leave our dog and extra hard to leave our separation anxiety dog. Where do you leave him? What is the safest, least potentially damaging option?
This is a game a Separation Anxiety dog taught me one day while I slowly walked circles around the kitchen table while on the phone. I was gabbing and, at the beginning of the conversation, the dog was following me around and around the kitchen table.
After a while, he just lay down on a nearby bed because heck – I was going to be back in a minute! I noticed and this game was born!
This is an excellent game for all dogs – Separation Anxiety dogs in particular. “Wait There” helps to build patience and allows your dog to practice calming himself with your support. The game is: Wait where I put you – quietly – until I come get you.
Right now, if you have a dog with separation issues, you are probably his safe place. As charming as that is, it may well be the taproot of your dog’s problem, because when you walk out the door, his safety goes with you. So our task is to create a safe place in your home that is always there when he needs it.
What are the things that tell your dog that you are leaving soon? Picking up your car keys? Rummaging in your purse? Putting on work shoes?.
One of the ways you can help your Separation Anxiety dog is to defuse these triggers. Instead of them meaning you are leaving, they come to mean nothing at all.
Here’s an example of how to defuse the sound of keys.
Leave your keys where you always leave them. Every time you walk by them pick them up, set them back down and go about your day.
Imagine that all day every day you had nothing in particular to do. No job, no one to play with, no books, television, internet or phone. You could not go outside. You could not draw or play a musical instrument. All your meals arrived on time on a plate, no work involved. You have a few toys that don’t do much and that you’ve played with many times before.
Dogs with separation issues have a hard time with… well… to state the obvious, separation. Want to help your dog? Then minimize the contrast between when you are home and when you’re not. This means, if you cuddle with your dog pretty much nonstop when you are home, you actually set your dog up for problems when he is alone. How can you make things easier for your dog? Start here:
Time to Detox!