Home alone!

Separation anxiety is one of the common problems faced by pet parents but each pet is unique and so is how they are handled. Here, our Hyderabad friends share their experiences on dealing with separation anxiety.

Anjaly with Gavin and Dollar

Anjaly with Gavin and Dollar

Giving him a comfort zone: “Dollar, my five-month-old Lab, has no issues with separation anxiety. It’s Gavin, my four- year-old Dachshund,who does. He is very devoted to my mom and starts howling in her absence. Whenever she starts packing for an overnight trip, he gets very nervous. But he has never been destructive. When we all go for a vacation, we make sure we leave him at our cousin’s place. He is initially a little nervous, but settles down by thenext day.”

Love is the way: “Whisky is a desi stray I adopted. She has always been a true desi – fiercely independent. She has never really been anxious about being separated from me. Stepie, my Retriever cross, is the exact opposite. He is high strung and has serious abandonment issues. He was also a rescued dog.  I
try to reassure Stepie the best I can and he is rarely left alone at home.”

Training is the key: “Donny is my two-month-old Lab. He is visually handicapped and cannot see clearly

Shruti with Stepie

Shruti with Stepie

beyond three feet ahead of him. He is extremely obedient and well behaved. But he suffers from separatio

n anxiety. He does not howl much, but when I come back from my night shift, my house is in a mess. Wires are chewed up, papers and books are strewn on the floor, slippers and carpets are shredded. We are now working with his trainer to find a solution.”

Love and comfort do the trick: “We all love Caesar at home. He is the apple of my eye. We have a large family and he is rarely left alone. But he does miss me when I go to work. My mom tells me he keeps staring at the door and gets startled at every noise and expects to see me coming home. He always gives me a huge welcome every evening. The problem usually is when I leave for overnight trips. He gets cranky at night and howls a little. When mom and I are both away, he takes comfort in other family members and needs a lot of attention from them. Of course, we get a good scolding from him when we return.”

 

Shashi with Caesar

Shashi with Caesar

Wants to be in his comfort zone: “Bruno is just eight-week-old, but misses me terribly when I am at work. He startsgetting nervous when I am getting ready for work. He looks me with his large eyes, as if pleading not to be left at home. My family tells me that when I am away, he haunts my room and curls up in my clothes. There has been no destructive behaviour so far, so we are grateful.”

Dog-sit when alone: “Jason can be a handful when left alone. He is equally attached to all the members of the family and is alright if any one person remains home with him. So, we find someone to dog-sit for us if we are expecting to leave longer than a few hours.”

 

Chandrashekar with Csar

Chandrashekar with Csar

Training dealt with separation anxiety problems: “Being a professional dog trainer, I made sure neither of my pets – Peach nor Csar suffered from separation anxiety. As puppies, of course they did. But they were properly trained. Basic training at Progressive Kennels includes training to deal with separation anxiety. There are many ways of dealing with this. You can increase separation time in small increments until the puppy/dog is used to being away from you for about four hours – not longer. You can leave treats and toys hidden in the house so that the dog remains entertained in your absence. The last method is to burn all their energy before you leave, by giving them a long run or a high energy play session. This makes them sleepy when they get back home, when you are leaving. A combination of these techniques works best for most dogs, including my own.”

(Inputs from Dr Kadambari of Olive’s Pet Clinic, Hyderabad)