Have you ever looked after a dog who suffered from separation anxiety? Did he seem to be nervous or instable? Did the owners tell you that his/her attitude was unusual?
Some dogs are completly desorientated, even with the smallest change. In fact, dogs are sensitive to the routine and when it changes, their behaviour also evolves.
The first signs of anxiety can be noticeable during the first 24 hours of the watch.
Some anxiety signs:
- Barking non-stop
- The dog keeps doing the same movements
- He can hurt itself on purpose (stereotypes)
- He can wait nervously in front the door
- He can destroy objects (most of the time it happens when you let him alone)
- He can urinate or defecate inside the house
- He can try to escape
When these signs are coupled with panic crisis, distress or depression, it’s sure that the dog suffers from separation crisis! You have to act according to the dog’s behaviour to decrease its anxiety and relieve the doggy.
- You have to keep calm
You must stay calm to not make the dog more nervous! If you show that you’re upset, the dog will more suffer, because he’ll understand that the situation is unusual and you don’t have the control over it. On the contrary, if you stay calm, you’ll transmit positive vibes to the dog, and he’ll be less preoccupied.
- Ask advices to the dog owner
No one knows better how to answer the questions you have about the dog’s behaviour than the dog owner. Don’t hesitate to ask him advices on the way you have to react in front of the dog. If you don’t know what to ask and how to write it, here is an example:
Hello, I’m sorry to disturb you, I’d like to ask you some questions about Rex. Rex is fine and behaves well, but he is anxious about your separation and I’d like to help him the best I can. What should I do to calm his anxiety? I’m going to take care of him the best I can because I’d like to make his stay unforgettable. Don’t worry and enjoy your holidays. Thank you for your help and your advices.
- Use a Kong toy
A way to manage the dog’s anxiety is to give him a Kong: a rubber toy you have to fill with dog candies. The dog will be focus on the Kong and not on his master’s absence. Very useful!
- Walk the dog on the street
A puppy needs a long walk to relieve separation stress. If you bring him to an unknown place, he will smell new things, and meet new friends to play with. Exercising is the best tool to calm anxiety!
- Be careful with doors
The dog will try to escape to join his master again! So, be very careful to check if doors and gates are closed. The dog must be let free in a closed space/ garden or held by a leash.
- Don’t let him alone for too long
If the dog suffers from separation anxiety, it’s important to not let him alone for too long. You have to act step by step, letting him the time to take the habit. Remember that you’re a dog-sitter and your role is to look after the dog, not letting him alone!
The Gudog‘s team is here to answer your questions and give you other advices to help you during your watch.