Make Dog Boarding Easy – Preventing Separation Anxiety
Greetings and welcome to the Inn of the Dog blog! Here we will provide you with fantastic tips and news to help you take better care of your dog! As a doggy daycare and boarding facility, we thought we’d start off with a common problem (particularly in puppies): separation anxiety. Separation anxiety occurs when dogs panic over the departure of their owner, often leading to issues like property destruction, eliminating in the house, digging holes, jumping fences, and more.
When you drop your dog off at a boarding facility such as ours, that problem can be magnified if it is not handled early in life. The ideal time to prevent separation anxiety is when your dog is young, as behavioral problems are more easily prevented than cured. The following are a few tips to help get you started.
Give Your Dog Alone Time
One of the first steps to preventing separation anxiety is to provide your dog some alone time. Dogs are pack animals by nature, and not used to being alone, but like humans can learn to handle it in short increments. If you have a designated “dog room” this is the perfect place to give them some time to be on their own and get used to the idea of being solo. A crate can also be handy for this purpose. Just don’t leave them alone for 8 hours right away – give them time to acclimate, increasing the alone time just a little bit each visit.
Resist the Urge to Release a Barking Dog
If during this alone time, or when they’re in a cage, your dog starts barking a lot, wait for them to quiet down before you let them out. If you let them out of their room or cage every time they get loud, the lesson they learn is that all they need to get your attention is to make noise. This will not only harm your efforts at preventing separation anxiety (since when the time comes that their barking fails to elicit response they will become scared again), but may also make your dog more vocal. Let them associate silence with reward, and this will help in the long run.
Low-Key Arrivals and Departures
While it may be tempting to give your furry friend a big hug and lavish them with all the attention in the world after you come home, this is a temptation best resisted. Arrivals and departures should be kept mundane. They are a normal part of life for every human being, and it is best to teach your dog early that these things are normal as well.
That being said, feel free to give them treats before you leave – if you can associate your leaving with something positive, that will make them all the less anxious when you are away.
Too much time alone with nothing to do can be stressful in more than just dogs, and one solution to this problem is to tucker them out before a long departure. If you have time before going to work, some light exercise with your canine companion will help wear them out and make it more likely they’ll sleep through the day. As they get older, if you have space for it that they won’t tear up, letting them out to run around can be very beneficial for both their health and their emotional well-being.
These are just some of the ways to help with separation anxiety. There are many more options available, and remember that dog training is hard work. However, if you put in the effort, you will save both yourself and your canine companion a lot of stress in the long run. Furthermore, by nipping separation anxiety in the bud, if you find yourself needing to leave for a long trip, you’ll be able to put them up at a dog boarding facility (such as our own) without having to worry about stressing your dog out.