5 tips for a relaxed and happy dog!
Have you ever come home after a work trip or holiday and found your paw-pal stressed and your yard a mess? As much as we love our paw-pals, we just can’t take them everywhere with us. Even though dogs are our special companions they can also be content during time away from us! With set boundaries and consistent reinforcement in the short term, your puppy and dog will develop into a healthy and independent dog in the long term.
Separation Anxiety Behaviours:
Excessive barking, howling, urination, whining, pacing, digging, chewing and damaging objects, jumping, excessive clinginess, obsessive/repetitive behaviour, withdrawn and reduced activity and appetite.
Situations where Separation Anxiety might develop:
- A change in a family’s schedule causing an increase in or change to times where your dog/puppy might be left alone.
- A change in residence and or an unfamiliar environment.
- Traumatic events such as the sudden death of an owner/family member or separation/divorce of owners.
- Change of guardian or owner.
- Puppy/dog is being spoilt with too much of owners’ time and resources.
5 sure-fire ways to make your dog happy while you’re away!
For your puppy:
- Create a safe place for your puppy such as a doggy bed, mat, box, or blanket area. Make the area special by using your puppy’s favourite toy or blanket. If you have a safe and secure outside area you can keep a kennel where you can leave your puppy outside when you are not home from an early age so they learn to be independent.
- Wherever you choose to sleep your puppy, do you your best to ignore your puppy’s crying. We know it’s hard but we promise it will go away and then they learn there are no rewards for barking and whining.
- Chew toys are fantastic for when your puppy is alone as they are a good stress reliever. They are also great for jaw strengthening and dental health and best of all reduce the chance that your furry friend will destroy your favourite shoes!
- Invite your friends and family over so they can play with your beautiful puppy (not that they will need an invite!). It helps your puppy meet new people and not get too attached to just you. You will also score yourself some willing puppy minders when you’re away!
- Slowly increase the time spent away from your puppy so it is not stressed with a sudden and long separation. Your puppy will learn that alone time can be fun and that you do come back to them.
For your dog:
- Doggy play dates not only can be fun but can teach your dog how to play with other paw-pals. So when you are at work or away they learn to play with other dogs or animals in a positive way and are not alone or bored. Before you schedule a play date make sure the dogs have met each other and know the backyard/home environment. Bring your dog’s favourite toy or blanket so they feel comfortable and that they have a special area to relax in when they want quiet time.
- Create a fun scavenger hunt that can entertain your dog for hours by hiding some treats in toys or bones in crevices within your backyard. Make sure your four-legged friend isn’t too overwhelmed by a lot of toys and instead have a few interesting toys rotated every couple of days.
- It will be hard but make departures and returns to your companion uneventful and calm. This will help keep your dog relaxed instead of feeling sudden spikes of excitement and stress.
- Regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy active dog’s life. It is also great for releasing doggy endorphins and serotonin (feel-good and calming hormones). Exercising your dog in the morning helps them to use up extra energy so they tire out and are calm during the day.
- Not only is obedience and lead training awesome for your dog’s general behaviour it is also great for their brains! It reduces their chance of feeling bored and destroying your favourite pot plant or sofa. It is also a great way to bond with your paw-pal and improves everyone’s mood!
By using these helpful tips, you and your family will be at ease during times of separation from your beloved canine companion and know that they will be happy and healthy.
If you are concerned about your puppy/dog’s behaviour and don’t feel that your strategy is working don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a professional dog trainer (we recommend Ian the Dog Trainer), dog behavioural specialist or Veterinarian.
Here at Banksia Park Puppies we keep our dogs stimulated with regular visits to the Agility Park for extra physical activity and provide socialisation with incursions and excursions. We supply our dogs with some toys and chew ropes and regularly rotate dogs into different yards so they have new neighbours and paw-pals to interact with. We employ an average of 8 Socialisation staff who focus primarily on developing our puppies and dogs’ physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. They undertake walks and lead training, giving and receiving extra affection and cuddles, as well as encouraging surface training with interactive baby toys, mirrors and objects that stimulate a puppy’s senses. With this combination of love, attention and strategies, our puppies and parents are able to adapt to most environments and interact positively with a broad range of people and furiends with minimal to no stress and anxiety!