I received an interesting question from one of my human readers. She wants to know how she can help her dog through its separation anxiety. I asked my Research Assistant, Cordless (Cordy) to help. I will say I was quite pleased that she did such a thorough job. Cordy interviewed members of dog, cat, horse, cow, goat, sheep, deer, mouse, and a few bird families.
We of the prey variety had very different views of what makes us anxious, but only the dogs seem to suffer from being separated from humans. Cordy actually had to explain the concept to the cats. I’m not sure they believed her.
Those of us who live in flocks or herds are a bit nervous about being stalked by a predator, but we look at those near us and decide who we can beat in a race. We only have to run faster than one to be safe so the chance of survival can be pretty good, depending on the size of the group. The mice were pretty jumpy about it, but they usually travel alone.
The predators were the most laid back group, especially those with their own humans. If a feral cat missed a meal another one would come along in time. The house pets that Cordy questioned did not have any problems about food. It was abundant and served on time. A little creative begging could even bring forth a treat. Cordy and I have been known to use that technique ourselves.
Cordy’s next assignment was to talk to the dog with the panic attacks. He told Cordy that when his human went out the door he was afraid that she would never come back and he would not know what happened to her. When she left she never told him when she would be back. He had been abandoned by a previous person and it was a horrible experience until he was rescued. He told Cordy that he had a friend from the pound who had attacks much like his.
My girl, Cordy got right on it and found that dog. This telepathy stuff cuts a lot of corners in detective work. That dog said that his job was to protect his human and he could not do that if he was not next to her. He was terrified that she would have something happen to her and it would be his fault.
We felt that we had all the facts, but we didn’t know how to fix the problem. We turned it over to Anita, said, “Fix it,” and asked for an apple each.
There are some very good articles on the Internet about the subject. I just typed in “separation anxiety/dogs” I have heard good reports on “ThunderShirts” that are readily available.
Make sure you tell your dog when you will be back and use all positive words when you speak to him. Let him know that he is safe and you are too.