Inevitably, at some point your dog will find hiself home alone. Unfortunately if not prepared correctly, many dogs find this isolation hard to cope with and can easily become stressed. Some will even develop a behavioural problem known as separation anxiety. To avoid problems occurring you can use techniques to teach your dog to be relaxed when alone. This results in them becoming confident when alone and secure in the knowledge you will return.
Something I find really useful in both helping to prevent issues from developing and to treat dogs who have an existing a problem, is to provide activities which will engage and interest them. Activities which incorporate food and treats are an excellent way to do this. A toy with food in it is more likely to get a dog’s attention than one without. The principle is that while the dog is engrossed in an activity, they are less likely to be worrying about where you have gone.
Natural instinct offers a wide range of natural treats which are ideal to use. Being natural means you don’t have to worry about filling your dog with additives. Some additives can even cause chemical reactions within the dog which can help fuel stress and anxiety, something we most definitely want to avoid!
Treatment of separation anxiety is often complexed requiring desensitization techniques. Distraction techniques are a valuable tool and also a great way to ensure your dog doesn’t develop a problem.
Here are some of the distraction techniques/games I would suggest:
I recommend that you are initially present whilst your dog familiarises itself with what to do. Once they have got the hang of the game set it up for your dog to do whilst you are in another room before actually going out and leaving your dog.
Hide and Seek.
You will need:
• Some small containers or food bowls
• Natural Instinct Chicken Hearts and Beef Jerky
Cut up some Natural Instinct Chicken Hearts and Beef Jerky into small pieces placing a small amount in each container. Hide the containers around the area your dog will have access to whilst alone. Obviously make sure you hide them in safe places and nowhere which may result in your dog breaking or damaging something by accident.
A snufflemat is a mat which is designed to enable you to hide treats in it. To find the treats your dog has to use their sense of smell. Most Natural Instinct treats work brilliantly with this.
You can see me using this with Ruby my cheeky Chihuahua
Food Dispensing Toys.
There are some fantastic interactive toys available which will involve your dog using their brain to work out how to extract treats.
There are two main types:
• Those which involve your dog actively moving the toy to release treats ie a treat ball. You will find pieces of Natural Instincts Liver Treats, Chicken Hearts and Beef Jerky ideal for this. Why not add some pieces of whitebait, you will find dogs are really attracted by the fishy smell! Try some yummy Natural Instinct treats here: www.naturalinstinct.com/dog-cat-accessories/bones-treats
• Those which you stuff e.g. kongs etc. For this type of toy I find it ideal to use my dogs normal Natural Instinct food.
To add to the challenge and to keep things interesting I like to vary what activities I leave for my dog. There are many other ways you can keep your dogs brain engaged and occupied, just make sure they are safe. Be creative and make things fun!