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Signs of separation anxiety: excessive barking, soiling the crate or house, tearing up things, chewing things excessively, only when you’re gone.

I posted this video on my blog called “Through a Dogs Ear” because I am a firm believer in music to calm your dog. I use it all the time on my dogs and my horses. “Through a Dogs Ear” is a collection of 4 dvds and 1 book for you and your dog. There is even one dvd that is for driving, designed to relax the dog but keep the driver awake.
Boarding facilities that play this music find the dogs more relaxed and calm.
If your dog has separation anxiety there are some things you can do to ease that. 99% of the clients who come to me because their dog has separation anxiety allow their dogs to sleep in the bed with them. Dogs are pack animals and sleeping with you solidifies the pack behavior, everyone sleeps in the den together. Therefore, when the dog is “left behind” from the pack, it goes against all pack instincts and causes anxiety. Insecure dogs develop this more often than do other dogs.
So what can you do? Give you dog a bed of his own to sleep on in your room. If you crate your dog while you’re gone, put the crate in your room and let your dog sleep there. When you go to bed at night play calming music,(and I highly reccomend “Through a Dogs Ear” dvd’s), the dog will then begin to associate the crate and the music with relaxing. Put calming music on at least 20 min before you leave. You should also play the music at various other times when you are home so that the dog does not associate the music with you leaving. As you know, dogs learn through repetition and consistency, so if the only time you play the music is when you leave they will learn that. So mix it up!
During the day when you are home, put your dog in its crate, play music, and if he is good let him out in 10 minutes or so. I perceive separation anxiety as a trust issue. Your dog must trust that you will return to them. Dogs that have been abandoned or crated for cruel amounts of time often have this issue as well.
You must build on their trust. Put them in their crate and go through the routine of leaving, go out the door, if their is no howling or erratic behavior, come back in, praise, and let them out.
Give the dog a special toy or safe treat when you leave, one that they only get when they go in the crate. My favorite is the Kong Toy. I stuff it with peanut butter and place it in the freezer. When I leave they get it in their crate. Puppies and dogs both like the cold on their gums, it’s soothing for teething, and the frozen peanut butter makes them have to work at it longer. Chewing releases energy and anxiety in a dog. Have you ever come home to find your baseboards or chair leg chewed? Your dog was doing what it knew to do to release anxiety or energy!
Putting your dog in a crate essentially tells your dog that it is off duty. He doesn’t have to worry about the house, just chill! Your dogs crate should be his safe, secure place, a place where your dog will go on his own when he wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the household.
Last, but most important, go through obedience training with your dog. Training builds a trust and a language with your dog, as well as building self-confidence. A bond is created with your dog that will improve your dogs behavior in many ways. So look for a trainer in your area that uses positive-reward based training.
Next blog: Does Dog get Car Sick?

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How to Dog-Proof Your House – Paw Nation.

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