Today I wanted to touch on a topic that we deal with here at Fort Fido on a daily basis. The dreaded, Separation Anxiety in dogs!
Separation anxiety is a developmental stage during which the dog experiences anxiety when separated from the primary caregiver.
During daycare, many dogs with this ailment are relieved with help from the pack. The other pack members tend to having a calming/mood stabilizing effect over the sufferer, but not always!
The behavior associated with Separation Anxiety manifests in different ways. In Doggie Daycare, the main manifestation is an inability to relax or socialize "normally" with the pack. Instead of playing and interacting with the other pack members a dog may whine, bark, pace, howl and shake. It may even appear to be a bit of an "outcast" standing alone in the corner. Very well balanced members of the pack will pull out all the stops to get the individual out of it's shell.
Now, obviously, everyone wants their pet to get along well with the others at daycare by socializing and playing hard! That is the point, that way they come home tired and may be a bit easier to deal with.
Many times, people do not correlate their actions during "dog interaction" with their dogs negative behavior. We often hear things like, "It's not me, it's the dog!", especially when conversing about Separation Anxiety. Unfortunately, here is the truth... It is rarely, if ever, pretty much NEVER, the dogs fault! It is us, the owners! We tend to humanize (yes, I'm guilty too) our animals by projecting our human thoughts and emotions on to our pets. Unfortunately, depending on the situation, this can have lasting negative effects on our K9 companions behavior without us even realizing it. To put it frankly, we liken it to mental abuse. As extreme as that sounds, it is what it is. The good news is that we can change how we interact with our dog.
On tomorrow's blog post I will be discussing some helpful tips on overcoming Separation Anxiety. Whether or not your dog has it, these tips will truly benefit the relationship you have with them. They will help you gain a better understanding of the doggie mind and help you get the most out of Doggie Daycare here at Fort Fido.
*Edit* Separation Anxiety Part 2, Part 3, other S.A. related articles!