This is a guest post by Wendy Lipscomb, Editor of totallygoldens.com.
Do Dogs Get Depressed?
Separation anxiety is the fear of losing or getting detached from something, especially something or someone you love. Dogs also experience separation anxiety when they are separated from their owners. Many articles have already highlighted the unconditional bond that dogs and their owners develop quickly. Remember Dug from “Up”?
For humans, dogs prove to be one of the most valuable companions, and we place a lot of trust and affection in our relationships with our furry pals. Dogs also exhibit great empathy in times of sadness, which deepens our understanding and bond with them. They are part of the family. Just like with any other loved one…when a dog is separated from its owner, it may experience sadness and even depression.
I Just Want To Be With You…
Separation anxiety is the most common behavioral issue in Golden Retrievers because they have such amiable and friendly natures. Leaving them unattended can intensify depression and lead to destructive behavior. Excessive barking, howling, destructive chewing, excessive salivation or panting and confined attempts to escape are all symptoms of separation anxiety. This may also be caused due to sudden changes in the regular schedule or moving to a new home.
Dealing with a Golden retriever’s separation anxiety can sometimes become challenging for busy pet owners. The demands of family and work cause us to need to leave home without our furry pal knowing this will likely make him feel bad. In many cases vets prescribe medicines that can help in reducing anxiety however it is just a temporary solution. You need to treat the root cause.
Tips For Dealing with Separation
When your Golden Retriever exhibits anxiety symptoms and your respond, you are subconsciously helping reinforce this behavior . Dog parents usually reward dog crying by showing sympathy, usually from the very first day you bring them home. However, from a very young age, if you can train your dog to stay quiet and calm by positive reinforcement and giving them a treat or their favorite food. You can find a list of food for large breed dogs on my blog at totallygoldens.com.
In addition to this, do not make her stay with you all the time – let her learn the art of entertaining herself. Provide your Golden with interactive or chew toys that can keep them busy for longer periods. You might also consider getting a companion for your Golden so they will have each other when you are gone.
Making changes in your and your dog’s daily routine will help you change his behavior. Instead of going for walk in the evening, get up 1 hour earlier in the morning and make your Golden retriever exercise with you. Working out releases stress hormones and it will also make him tired, which will make your departure less noticeable.
Another tool is to crate train them from early age, which gives them a cozy place to curl up when you are gone. When you are home, resist the urge to stay with them 24/7, so they can get used to relaxing when you are out of sight.
Finally, never encourage attention seeking behavior. Just like kids, your furry pal knows how to pull your heart strings. Sometimes you need to ignore the behavior to train them it doesn’t get your attention.
Wendy is a self-employed beauty therapist, mother of two; life-long pet parent and lover of dogs who somehow manages to squeeze in the time to satisfy another of her loves – writing. Wendy is the founder, main contributor to and editor of TotallyGoldens.com