Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

The kids are now accustom to their daily school routines, work is beginning to pick up and you’re getting ready for those holiday travel plans! That’s right, summer is long gone (in fact winter is just days away) and so are the days of having someone around to keep your dog company all day. This is the time of year when separation anxiety can be a real problem for many dog owners. Just like we humans have issues adapting to the seasonal schedule changes that influence family life, so to do our dogs.

As means of helping our customers deal with their separation anxiety dilemmas, we’ve developed this handy guide to help you neutralize your pup’s distress and make schedule adjustments easier for the entire family.

1 – Do your best to establish a routine : Establish regular walk times, rest times and play time when your dog is allowed to use his favourite toy. Try to align the play time with when you depart so the toy becomes a distraction for your pup.

2 – Interact and Engage : Make sure you are meeting all your dogs needs. Ensure your pup gets lots of attention, exercise and walks. A lack of these things can contribute to the anxiety he feels when you leave.

3 – Establish predictable rewards : If your dog suffers from separation anxiety it’s likely his favored reward is your attention. Be sure to reward good behavior with treats and toys too, as these may become welcomed distractions for your pet.

4 – Crate or Mat Train : When leaving ensure your dog has access to, and is comfortably settled in their own safe and special place, like their crate or mat. This will allow your dog to feel safe and secure as you get ready to leave.

5 – Be disciplined : Remember training your dog doesn’t stop just because your schedule changed. Sticking to a strict training and command routine at all times can help prevent separation anxiety before it occurs.

6 – Don’t make leaving a BIG DEAL : We know it’s tempting to say good-bye or hug your dog before you’re off for the day. These behaviors actually train your dog to be anxious when you leave. Do your best to enforce a positive experience like “toy time” when you leave, rather than focusing on the act of leaving itself.

7 – Like most problems, prevention is key! Working with your dog as a young pup to teach them that it is OK to be alone can be a very helpful and successful method of giving you a confident adult dog that is relaxed and comfortable with your comings and goings.

Need more tips or advice on how to deal with, or prevent separation anxiety? Give our staff a call and the team at Bloor Animal Hospital and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have – 416-767-5817

Photo courtesy of © Copyright 2009 Lifelearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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