Separation Anxiety in Dogs is the second most common reason dogs are sent to a shelter. Unfortunately, some dogs never get out of the shelter, or have to be put to sleep because they are so scared of being alone, that they don’t become good household pets. Luckily, you can do some specific training to resolve most dog separation anxiety problems quickly.
Be the Pack Leader!
In order to have a successful relationship with your dog, you need to make sure that you are the pack leader. Being the pack leader is a state of mind. You set the rules and call the shots. Dogs with a strong alpha leader tend to be calm and happy, because they know they have someone looking out for them.
In terms of separation anxiety, a dog that thinks that they are alpha is more likely to develop anxiety because they feel responsible for you, and are upset that you are breaking from their pack. Being the pack leader is stressful for a dog, and stress causes anxiety.
In the wild, the alpha dog can come and go as they please. By ensuring that you are the top dog, you can mitigate some of the stress the dog feels when you are leaving.
How to Be The Alpha Dog
Being the Alpha dog is a combination of two things; actions and attitude. Alpha dogs are calm and fair members of the pack. They rarely get into fights or confrontations with other dogs in the pack because the other dogs know that they are the boss. However, alpha dogs will put another dog in it’s place. If they need to correct or discipline another dog, it is done quickly, calmly, and without serious emotion.
You may have heard advice where you should stick your hand in the dogs food bowl, or take it away then give it back to prove that you are alpha. While this works, it’s not something that a pack leader in the wild would do. In the wild, the alpha dog eats first, then turns over the rest of the meal to the lower pack members. In your case, always eat before your dog. When you have finished eating, feed them. You can give them a set amount of time to eat, like 15 minutes, then pick up the uneaten food.
Training for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
In any training program for Separation Anxiety, you must show yourself to be the alpha leader. Once this has been established, you can move on to training your dog using behavior modification techniques. Behavior Modification training techniques are the most powerful, easiest ways to replace your dogs anxious behaviors, with more calm happy behaviors.