As you prepare your luggage with so much eagerness and excitement for that well-deserved vacation, a flashback disrupts the momentum. It was a beautiful day of last year. You are bound for a refreshing beach escapade in Malibu. But as you approached the aluminum fence, your dog started barking and whining endlessly, begging you to come back.
Being away from your dog is a certified heartbreaker. Sure, you will both miss each other, but you also need a holiday. Here’s how you can ease your pup’s separation anxiety the next time you go for a vacation:
1. Desensitize your dog to leaving cues
Desensitization is the process of gradually exposing your dog to actions or things that signal your departure. Doing so makes your pet less likely to suffer distress during your actual absence.
Ways to Desensitize
- Your dog is hypersensitive to cues such as picking your keys, spraying perfume, putting on your shoes, and other routines that generally take place before your departure. Repeat these things without leaving until you notice that your dog doesn’t respond to the routine.
- Opening and closing the door brings panic to dogs with separation anxiety. Slowly do the “open-close-come-back” routine and make your pup comfortable while the door is closed. Leave your dog alone for a few minutes and repeat this step until your dog shows no sign of anguish. Slowly increasing your dog’s alone time will make your pup less anxious.
2. Don’t make your arrivals and departures a big deal
When you leave and arrive at the house, ignore your dog until your pooch calms down. Don’t dwell too much on your hellos and goodbyes as this will make it even harder for your pup to get used to a holiday without you.
3. Choose a safety cue
Safety cues are things that you do or particular words you say to give assurance that your absence is temporary. Train your dog by repeatedly doing actions like putting your bandana around his neck or telling him phrases such as “See you very soon” before going on short absences. Through consistent repetition of this routine, you will earn your pet’s trust, and your dog will be more confident that you are indeed coming back.
4. Choose the right pet professional
Make sure to hire someone compassionate to dogs and knows how to deal with separation anxiety.
5. Allow your dog to spend a few minutes with the pet sitter for a couple of days
Spending time with a stranger will worsen your dog’s anxiety. Meeting the pet sitter will not only help your dog feel at ease, but it will also help the pet sitter to get to know your dog better.
6. Before packing up, spend extra time with your dog outside
Exercise increases the release of serotonin, which will help your dog to relax before your departure.
It’s tough seeing your dog in a state of panic the moment you open the door and step outside. Prepare your beloved pooch for your departure as early as possible so that you can lessen your dog’s anxiety and you ease your distress. Don’t forget to enjoy your holiday!