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Aug 31 2016

Back to School Causing Separation Anxiety?

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My family and I are super close. I love them I love them I love them!!!  It’s great when we go to the dog park and see all the people and the dogs and the people – they are everywhere.   Maybe the only thing I love more than going to the park and running in the yard with my family and going in the car with them – SNUGGLING with my people.  There’s nowhere my family goes that I don’t tag along right next to them.

But sometimes, they leave me!  I don’t know where they go – they just disappear!  It used to be that I would get so sad, and scared, and I just didn’t know what to do.  I’m part of the pack and I don’t want to be left behind. I used to never know if they were coming home!

When they were getting ready to leave, I could tell!  Keys start to jingle and they put those things on their feet that I love to chew when I miss them.  I would start following them really closely and I would give them those eyes… and they would give me lots of petting and attention!  And then they would just disappear!! I got so anxious that I would pace around the house, looking out each window and checking every room. I tried calling their names but it didn’t help. I was so nervous I would chew everything I could get my teeth on and scratch the door until my paws hurt. Sometimes I would be so anxious I would even get sick. I never knew how much time passed, but whenever my family came home I would jump and bark and they would pet me, so I knew I was doing the right thing.

Eventually my family started to teach me about how to act like a big dog so I wouldn’t get so distressed after they had left. Now, when we are together, my family will give me some space and less petting.  I’ve started to spend more time exploring and sniffing on my own. They started to trick me too.  Now they jingle keys but they don’t always leave!  And they put those things on their feet but they don’t always leave!  So I don’t bother running around anymore when those things happen.  It’s too much work!

We’re still close, but now I don’t depend on them for attention all the time. These days, before my family leaves, they take me out for a really long game of “bring the ball back”.  I get sooo tired from that!  I heard my mommy doctor say that I’m too tired to have any nervous energy.  They also give me a big Kong bone to chew on and tell me to sit. They calmly walk out the door and I get to work on my bone. Maria, my big people sister, says “I’ll be back” before she leaves. No idea what that is! But I’ve come to realize it means she’ll return soon and I don’t have to worry. They won’t let me jump on them when they come home anymore, so I sit still and that tricks them into petting me. I think we are both happier this way.

We still have lots of SNUGGLE sessions, and we still do all of those family things.  But, see now I’m an independent dog who needs no owner when they do disappear.  I’m ok when I’m on my own, and it gives me more time to teach that new “kitten” a thing or two.

southwindsor | Pet Behavior

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