Help your dog with separation anxiety – Transcript

Hi my name is Lucia and I'm a Canine Behaviour and Training Advisor here at Battersea and today I'm going to teach you how to keep your dog relaxed when you're not at home 

Sometimes when dogs are left at home alone they can cry, they can bark, they can destroy things, rip up things 

Your dog may be scared or anxious but they may also be bored and have nothing to do 

Here's a few tips on how to keep your dog calm understand the underlying cause of the separation anxiety and how to solve it 

Start by trying to figure out what is the cause of your dog's stress 

Is it frustration 

is it boredom 

Are they genuinely just scared of being left alone 

Once you've identified the issue then you can address the problem 

For example if your dog has loads and loads of energy they'll be wanting to burn it off in some way 

So you'll need to give them plenty of things to do whenever they're left alone so they don't rip up your furniture 

If possible set up a camera so that you can see what your dog gets up to during the day 

With this footage you can then pin point the triggers that could set your dog off 

You don't want to punish your dog for their anxiety or frustration or the damages that come with it 

This may be their way of asking you for help 

So it's important not to punish them for the mess they've made 

You don't want them to become anxious of you coming home 

Once you've figured out the cause of the frustration or anxiety, you can then begin to help them 

Here at Battersea we leave the radio on with some classical music as it helps them settle 

Or if you're dog's really distracted by what's going on outside you can always close the curtains or try and put them in a different part of the house 

If your dog is simply anxious about being left at home 

You can teach them that nothing bad is going to happen 

To start with you'll need to figure out how long your dog is happy being left alone 

To do this you can leave the room, ideally with a baby gate in between and see how your dog takes to get stressed 

Once you've established how long your dog is happy to be left, practice leaving them for this amount of time with plenty of distractions 

You can use food puzzles, toys, long-lasting chews, or a cosy den to retreat to 

It's a good idea to tire your dog out beforehand with a long walk or some fun play 

You can then begin to increase the time you leave your dog alone even if it's a minute or so each time 

The idea of this is to encourage your dog to settle on their own for longer 

Every dog will be different so ensure you give them a lot of time and be patient 

If your dog is scared or anxious about being left alone it could be an issue to do with their confidence 

Just like us we need to boost our dog's self confidence so they can be able to do things on their own 

Training with positive rewards is one way to do this 

You should also be rewarding your dog for any independent behaviour 

So if your dog settles away from you give them some calm praise 

Do your best to ignore any stressed or excitable behaviour both when you leave and when you come back 

By engaging with your dog at this time you're rewarding that behaviour and they're more likely to go to these extremes 

This will help boost their confidence in the long run and with their behaviour generally 

If your dog is especially anxious and struggles to be away from you even when you are in the house you want to encourage them to settle on their own 

One way to do this is to give your dog a chew and place it at your feet and then gradually over time 

Increase the distance between you and the dog 

When your dog does choose to settle on their own, make sure you go in and out of the room as normal 

Also you can install baby gates around the house and this discourages your dog from following you everywhere 

Those are our tips on how to teach your dog to relax when alone 

If you'd like to learn more about how to teach your dog the Battersea Way 

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