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After a long and hard day at work, you come home to a jumping, spinning, and very high energy filled dog. You walk into your living room, and find that he's chewed up the couch, the door frame, and 3 pillows. You find out from your neighbor that your dog has also been howling and barking all day while you were gone. Does all this sound familiar? Your dog may be suffering from dog separation anxiety. In nature, dogs are never away from their pack. We need to teach them what we want them to do during the separation period. These are some tips to help accomplish that:

1) Take your dog for a walk before you leave the house - To make the walk even more rigorous, use a dog backpack with weight in it. Then, when back home, reward your dog with food and water once he is in a calm state of mind. You want to leave your dog in calm, relaxed and resting mind while you are away.

2) No hands, no mouth, no eyes - Don't make a big deal when you leave for the day or when you return. Just leave. You want your dog to be calm before walking out the door. When returning home, just walk in. This way your dog understands that the separation period is not a big deal. It's just a normal thing. Depending on the severity of the dog anxiety, you may need to practice this for a longer period of time before you leave and when you get back.

3) Say goodbye to your dog long before you leave – Can’t leave without talking to your dog? Then show your affection and tell your dog that you will miss him way before you actually leave. Just remember that this display is for you, not your dog! Your dog won't be upset if you don't say goodbye.

4) Always be calm and firm - When you are ready to leave the house, do not feel guilty, nervous, or worried. Instead, let your dog know that everything is okay by being confident and calm. A calm and firm pack leader can eliminate separation anxiety in dogs.

5) Start out by leaving your dog alone for just five minutes - Leave your dog alone for five minutes, then gradually increase the time to fifteen minutes, then to twenty minutes, then an hour, etc. Continue to gradually increase the time you spend away from your dog until you can do so without any more problems.

6) Use an audio-book - An audio-book can have a calming effect on dogs and help with separation anxiety. The sound of a human voice can help reduce their stress while you’re not around.

If you have a problem, or need guidance / direction, consider hiring a professional dog trainer or dog behaviorist to help.

As always, remember: BP4 – Be: Patient, Positive, Peaceful & Persistent / 201-937-6123 / Little Falls, NJ 07424

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