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Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Date:9/18/2009

od-bye," it can be "May the force be with you!" or any other phrase. The point is to condition your dog to know that when he hears this phrase, he will also see you again later, she said.

"You have to provide a security base where their world is maintained," she said.

Here are some other tips:

  • Leave clothes with your scent on them around the house. "That's security," Halliburton said.
  • Make sure your dog can keep busy while you're gone. "If you can get a dog beyond the first 45 minutes after you've left, you've got it made," Halliburton said. Try giving your dog an empty milk container without the lid, but with some of the milk residue still inside it. "Dogs will be attracted by the smell, then they find out it makes a really neat noise and then they're king of the mountain," Halliburton said. "They can super-entertain themselves."
  • If your dog is outside, hang an old bike tire, a bunch of dish rags knotted together or a shoe from a tree so the dog can play with them, Halliburton said.
  • Have a pet sitter come over once in a while to spend time with the dog, or try doggie daycare two or three times a week. "That can be really enjoyable," Goldfarb said.
  • Put the radio on a talk station and leave it on while you're gone. "That noise muffles any other kinds of sounds the dog might worry about and it's just background," Halliburton said. "It's comforting. Those are the sounds they hear when humans are home."

More information

The Humane Society of the United States has more on separation anxiety in dogs.



SOURCES: Judi Halliburton, companion animal behaviorist, Albuquerque, N.M.; Adam Goldfarb, director, Pets at Risk program, Humane Society of the United States


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