Separation Anxiety summary
From Priory Vets’ client talk with Denise Nuttall on 27/4/21

With the lockdown restrictions being lifted, there is a chance of separation anxiety developing in dogs who have become accustomed to having their owners around all the time.

Different separation problems

• Fear of being alone (separation anxiety)
• Fear of confinement
• Frustration at being alone
• Frustration at being confined
• Noise sensitivities

How to prevent separation anxiety

• Plan ahead – Help your pup develop independence
• Let them explore all of the house, whilst monitoring with a dog cam, don’t constantly follow them around.
• Aim to make ‘the door a bore’ – keep going in and out of a room until they get bored following you
• Don’t pay them attention all the time. If they are following you do not engage with them all the time.
• Encourage independent activities, such as toys, stuffed Kongs etc
• Get them accustomed to being behind a gate or in a larger safe area such as a utility area.
• Leave for only short periods of time whilst monitoring with dog cam. Then slowly increase the time left alone

What not to do

• Do not let them ‘cry it out’ – this conditions emotional despair when left alone
• Don’t tell them off for crying or destructive behaviour.
• Don’t leave in crate until fully happy in there. Make the crate a safe/happy space with food and toys.
• Don’t leave them for longer than they can cope with.

If you would like more information or advice you can book to see our registered vet nurse Jess, at our Bransgore branch on Friday mornings, where she will be more than happy to help.

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