Separation anxiety is triggered when an affected dog is separated from his people. Left alone, the panicked pup may act out; she may try to escape or break house training, bark, harm herself or chew and destroy everything in reach. The good news is separation anxiety can be resolved with positive reinforcement, routine, and training to restores trust and self-confidence. Start by creating a Zen-Den.
WHAT IS A ZEN-DEN?
A small space (kennel, crate or pen) designed for your dog. A happy place to rest and be calm. Every dog needs a Zen-Den for security, comfort, and peace of mind.
The Zen-Den should have just enough space for your dog to stretch, stand up and turn around. The Den should include a water bowl, special toys and comfortable bedding. To create a calm and comfortable environment, spritz the Zen-Den with GreenDog Botanics Calm Spray and dim the lights. Complete the experience by playing a little music that you and your dog will enjoy. Once your pup is settled in, resist changing or relocating the den. Consistency and routine are what your dog needs. Ease them into this transition by keeping the den door open when you are home so pup can explore.
Tip: Your unwashed t-shirt or pillowcase is a great addition to the Zen-Den. Your scent keeps you near and helps pup relax.
Puppies sleep, play and relax in their Zen-Den. Use this space for behavior training including housebreaking. Welcome puppy to its den with a tasty treat or chew and a spritz of Calm Spray. If your dog is an adult, but new to the Zen-Den it may become the new favorite place to be. But, if alone time causes anxiety, creating a Zen-Den is a first step in overcoming your stressed pup’s worried nature.
Acclimate slowly, apply GreenDog Botanics Calm Balm and Spray to your pup and then lead them into den. Offer a frozen chew or puzzle toy to keep them busy. Start slow and return after a few minutes if your dog becomes anxious. Repeat several times, gradually allowing more time in between, until you both become comfortable. After practicing, release dog with hugs, praise, and play.
TIP: Cover your dog with a weighted blanket, spritz with GreenDog Botanics Calm Spray. This combo is sure to calm anxiety and relax the restless sleeper.
Desensitize Training: Set timer. Fetch your dog, apply GreenDog Botanics Calm Balm and Spray, then help your dog into her Zen-Den. Offer a frozen chew, or puzzle toy. Close the door and walk out of sight. When your dog starts to become anxious (whining, barking, scratching) wait a full minute then return. Note time and record how long your dog was in her den before starting to stress. Release dog with hugs, praise, reward then play. Repeat this exercise at least three times per session. During each event, delay your return adding a minute or more beyond the last time. Do this exercise two times per day. increase your away time gradually with each event. End each session with praise reward and play.
TIP: Apply GreenDog Botanics Calm Balm to paw pads and nose, worried dog will inhale and relax. If your dog is chewing itself in a state of anxiety try applying Calm Balm to the chewed area. Greendog Botanics Calm balm and Spray are a drug-free non-toxic solution to soothe your pup, an aide that keeps anxiety in check allowing an opportunity for your anxious dog to train and heal.
TIP: Fun and Games: Use enrichment activities as distraction during de-sensitize training. Some of the popular fun for dog options include; puzzle games, smart toys with hidden treats, kibble served in a puzzle dish, dog TV. Stuff a Kong toy with Peanut butter, freeze. Spritz games and treats with GreenDog Botanics Calm Spray. Exercise is also proven remedy for anxiety. Take your dog out for a brisk walk (or run) twice a day.
TIP: Hire a dog walking service on days you must be away. Require the walker to be the same person for each visit. Introduce your dog to this new “friend” one or two times before the first walk. Be present during introductions but hang back so your dog and pet-care worker can become familiar.
TIP: Dog Parks are a great way to encourage independence and build confidence in your dog. You can be present yet a bystander, providing security while you dog explores, play and interacts on her own four feet (paws).
Can I ever leave my Anxious Dog Alone?
Yes, but it requires awareness and patience and repetition.
- Before you leave; apply Calm Balm on paw pads, then spritz your dog (and den) with Calm Spray. Leave dog in her den while you are gone.
- Limit your away-time to only what (you’ve learned) your dog can tolerate.
- When you return reward your dog immediately, use lots of praise, then share a happy playtime.
Another option available in most cities is doggie daycare for days you must be away. Be sure you discuss your dog’s anxiety with daycare staff. They may be willing to partner in her training.
Separation anxiety is real, for both you and your dog and can be resolved with positive reinforcement, routine, and training to restores trust and self-confidence.