If your dog has separation anxiety, you are not alone. Separation anxiety is a very common issue, especially in small breeds, and can lead to destructive behaviors. However, several large dog breeds are also prone to having separation anxiety, including powerful German Shepherds, which means the destructive behaviors they have can be more drastic.
The problem can become so extreme that you dread walking into your home after a long day at work, because you don't know what extensive damage you could find. To make matters worse, strong dogs can severely injure themselves when they try to escape a dog crate, so that's not a good option. Here are a few suggestions if you have a large dog with separation anxiety.
Visit the veterinarian
The first thing to do is to rule out any medical conditions that could lead to separation anxiety. Your dog depends on you for a lot of things, including being taken outside to relieve themselves. When they see you leave and they are unable to alert you that duty calls. A well-trained dog can easily become upset when they have no choice but to do their duty indoors. Therefore, rule out any medical issues that could lead to separation anxiety.
Recondition your dog
Condition your dog to associate being alone with happiness. Most dogs are happy when treats are involved, and most dogs love toys. There are several types of puzzle toys on the market today that give the dog a treat while the dog is playing with the toy. These types of puzzle toys can keep your dog busy during the first half hour or hour. Give your dog the puzzle toy only when you are gone. The dog can then associate your absence with the fun toy. However, this tends to work only in minor cases of separation anxiety.
Send your dog to training
Another option is to send your dog to training with a certified animal behaviorist specialist. These professionals are like dog whisperers. They will spend time with your dog, studying their behaviors and learning their triggers. Once they understand the triggers, they attempt to desensitize the dog to those triggers. For example, if loud noises while you are gone trigger destructive behaviors, the specialist attempts to get the dog used to loud noises.
Use a pet boarding service
Another idea is to send your dog to a pet boarding facility or doggy day care center. However, build up to a full work day slowly to allow your dog to settle into the new routine. Choose a pet boarding facility that also has a veterinarian on staff or in the same building. That way, the veterinarian can see any problems first hand and, possibly, offer other tips and suggestions.
For more information or assistance, contact establishments like All Pets Hospital Ltd.