The Wisconsin and Iowa-based Homeward Bound Animal Behavior and Training, LLC says it is seeing growing levels of canine separation anxiety with the post-pandemic return to the office increasing. For many canines, being left alone even for just a few hours can be a hugely traumatic experience.
“Separation anxiety can wreak havoc on both the animal and guardian’s quality of life,” explains Homeward Bound founder, Emily Blythe. “This anxiety disorder ranges in symptoms including but not limited to vocalization, house soiling, destruction, and sometimes even bodily injury when left alone. No matter whether they display one or more of these varying outward signs, underneath it all lies panic and an inability to cope emotionally with being alone.
“We often find that in addition to the stress that living with this challenge causes, many people become very frustrated by the wide range of conflicting information they find when researching how best to address the problem.”
As Certified Separation Anxiety Trainers (CSATs), Homeward Bound is tackling the myths surrounding separation anxiety, what causes it and how to deal with it. Among the many misconceptions about canine separation anxiety, incorrect advice such as leaving the animal alone to help them become used to departures, wearing the animal out prior to leaving them alone and offering food or toys during departures are all debunked by Homeward Bound.
It also warns against tactics such as using suppression tools and instead shares how pet owners can help their four-legged friends to become calmer, less stressed, and more comfortable when left alone.
“While it’s distressing for all concerned, clinical separation anxiety is a very real and highly treatable anxiety disorder,” Blythe adds. “Management of the animal’s stress levels while working through systematic desensitization by gradually exposing them to the scary situation incrementally and at their pace is a wonderful way to help them learn to be genuinely relaxed before and during departures.”
Working with a professional can help worried pet owners feel confident that they’re tackling the issue in the right way, rather than adding to their pet’s distress.
For more information about Homeward Bound’s separation anxiety program visit: https://www.homewardboundbehavior.com/dog-separation-anxiety-training-services