Long goodbyes: How I kicked separation anxiety cold turkey

Long goodbyes: How I kicked separation anxiety cold turkey

I used to suffer from separation anxiety, the number one cause for behavioral problems, when I was left home alone.

The moment my owner put on her shoes, it would begin. My anxiousness would grow when she grabbed her keys. By the time she had her hand on the front door, I’d start whimpering. She’d feel sorry for me and play with me a little longer. (Little did she realize that she was adding to the problem.) Eventually, she’d have to leave and when she did I really acted up. I scratched on the door and window, hoping to get out so I could be with her. When that failed, I howled and barked, chewed furniture and relieved myself in the house even though I was housetrained. By the time she came home, I was so stressed out that I was shaking.

This type of behavior couldn’t go on forever or else I’d end up in a shelter, which I didn’t want. I knew I had to change so I did, along with my pet parent.

  • Our morning walks became longer, thus allowing me to rid myself of excess energy I used to turn into nervousness.
  • T-shirts she slept in were left for me so her scent could comfort me.
  • Toys were left for me to play with and that took my mind off the fact that she was gone.
  • She left home nonchalantly and stopped making a big fuss about departing. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure when she was going to leave because she walked around the house in her heels and with her keys in her pocket for a while before leaving.
  • When she returned, she didn’t rush to me. Instead, she put down her purse, flipped through the mail, checked her voice mail messages, and then calmly petted me.

It only took a few weeks for my separation anxiety to dissipate. I’m glad I didn’t need medication or get shipped off to go to doggy day care, which can become expensive on a daily basis. What would have been worse was going to a shelter.

– Trevor the dog

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