Do you know that in mother nature there is no concept of separation anxiety in dogs? And yet separation anxiety in house dogs are so common.
The reason that in mother nature separation anxiety doesn’t exist is that there is no concept of getting separated from the pack, because, in the dog world, the pack is power, the pack is security, getting separated from the pack means death, so they always stay together.
BUT, the human world is different and separation is a daily job for us. We separate daily to go to different places like offices, movies, cafes.
Understanding this is important because we have to realize that leaving the dog at home alone is an unnatural act from a dog point of view, the dog will feel confused, nervous and become anxious.
When you leave the dog behind, the dog believes that he is getting separated from the pack and he needs to find a way to get out of the trap(home) so he starts howling, barking, digging the sofa so that he can tunnel out and reach to you, scratch the door to open it so that he can be together with his pack, and when you come back you find that your dog destroyed the home, you find your neighbour complaining about your dog’s howling and barking.
We can prevent this from happening. This post is for people who recently got a puppy or thinking to get one. (Please adopt)
So, let’s consider how people behave when they bring a puppy home.
Most people behave excitedly with the puppy, whenever the puppy comes towards them they meet with excitement creating a lot of sounds and they often pick the puppy up.
Also, whenever the puppy gets nervous, whines, people usually pick the puppy up and start giving affection. They hardly leave the puppy alone, the puppy sleeps with them, follows them the whole day and practices excitement most of the time.
This is a recipe for developing separation anxiety in dogs. You must change your behaviour with your puppies and dogs if you want them to live a calm confident life.
Here are the 3 behaviour which you must follow to ensure that your puppy grows up into a calm confident obedient dog who can behave in a balanced way in most situations.
Behaviour #1: Stop Nurturing Excitment
Why do we nurture excitement and what is wrong with nurturing excitement?
The reason most people nurture excitement in dogs is that they think that excitement is happiness but in real excitement and happiness both are different emotions.
The excitement in the animal world is unstable energy and it is a precursor to many behavioural issues including Anxiety in dogs. Your dog or puppy should get affection when they are in a calm state of mind. It is hard but it will make your life easy and help you raise a balanced dog.
Just remember whenever you give affection to a dog you are going to nurture the state of mind the dog is in at that time. So use affection as a tool to help your dog understand what kind of behaviour is expected from them.
If you want a hyper anxious dog then give affection to the excitement and if you want a calm confident dog then give affection when he is calm and relaxed.
Behaviour #2: Stop picking up the puppy
I am not saying that you should not pick the puppy up at all but what I am saying is that do not pick up when the puppy is under stress. You are doing this to give comfort but that’s how you can give comfort to humans but not dogs, the reason is the difference in psychology.
Dogs cannot rationalize why you are giving affection, they can only figure out that their state of mind is being rewarded. So if the dog or the puppy is under a stressed state of mind and you are picking up then he will always need you to calm down, and he will keep on getting in habit of getting nervous or insecure because you are not letting him learn how to get over the insecurity by yourself.
This behaviour leads to raising an insecure dog, which creates so many behaviour issues in them including separation anxiety and even aggression.
Behaviour #3: Stop keeping the puppy with you always
Puppies are cute and they bring so much happiness in our life but we have to take care of their state of mind.
We must help them become confident, and help them understand that living alone is ok, getting separated from the pack is ok because the pack will come together after a brief separation.
Make a separate place for the puppy and leave the puppy there, he will cry for a while but you must control your emotions and let them experience the alone time and let them understand that nothing wrong is going to happen.
Keep the puppy always with you and let him sleep with you all the time whenever they want a sure shot ingredient of raising an anxious insecure dog.
I highly recommend you to go through all of our courses and start implementing if you want to raise a calm confident obedient dog.