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Old 05.05.2020, 10:29
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Re: Preventing separation anxiety when life return to normal

At the best of times our GSD is very much a velcro dog who also suffers from SA. He has never been left alone much - the ability to sit by my desk at work and go out and about almost everywhere we go. He was, however, left alone for circa an hour most days when I went shopping etc. Maximum he would be left would be around 3 hours for dental and hairdressers and trips to airport. Now that I am only going shopping about every 5 or 6 days his separation anxiety is much worse.

I am retraining him to get used to being alone for short periods, creating a calm atmosphere on leaving and return. He has his relaxopet to listen to and we are working on desensitising him when I pick up keys and bag and open the door. He senses when I am getting ready to leave even though I have no specific leaving time. If I am sitting down he will try to sit on my lap or will rush to the door and block it to stop me leaving. When I do get out the door he howls.

I am now randomly picking up my keys during the day. walking to the door, walking outside for a few moment and coming back. For a dog with SA it really is baby steps. For anyone who has a dog now used to the whole family being home, I suggest the whole family start going out for up to 5 minutes (perhaps start with even less) several times a day if they think their dog will be anxious

He loves nosing games so I have him sitting well away from the door, hide treats around the room, make him stay in sit until I am at the door and then he can go get them. That distracts him long enough for me to just about get to the car before the howling starts. By that time it is much less and stops pretty quickly. When I get home he will be on my bed and I try to greet him as calmly as possible, making my coming and going not a big deal. The longer I have been away the more hyper the reaction on return.
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