The goal of training in relation to separation anxiety is to desensitise your dog to being left alone, so they are not bothered by their owner coming and going. Below are some tips that can help.
- Make coming and going as low key as possible. Ignore your pet for a few minutes before leaving, and when coming home. This teaches your dog that it is not a big deal for you to come and go. When you return home, pretend they are not there for a few minutes, and only greet them when they’re calm.
- Avoid triggers that the dog associates with separation. For example, if your dog starts to get upset when you pick up the car keys, mix it up a bit! Pick up the car keys then have a cup of tea. This way the dog does not associate certain actions with being left alone.
- Gradually build up the time they are left alone. Start small. Put your dog into a different room or area for a small period of time. Gradually build up the time they are left alone over a period of weeks. Remember not to make a big deal of coming or going.
- Make a positive association with your departure. Introduce a yummy treat, toy or game when you leave, to act as a reward for their alone time (see Boredom busters for ideas). Remove the treat once you are home. Rotate the treats and toys regularly so your dog doesn’t get bored.
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