Labrador anxiety is a serious issue that can disturb the relation between you and your Dog. The causes of anxiety include some situations, some kinds of environment and some animals which are not habituated to your dog. It is easy to handle Labrador anxiety in the beginning stages itself before your Dog starts suffering from it.
Labradors are loving breeds that tend to develop a great bonding with your family, hence they prefer to stay and spend quality time with you. Therefore any form of separation and leaving them alone for long periods can create anxiety in them. This leads to unusual destructive behaviour which can be emotionally disturbing for both you and your dog.
When the owner cannot understand this kind of dog behaviour, it can cause the dogs to get punished and in severe cases, this might result in the Dog being abandoned.
Labrador anxiety symptoms- Check if your Dog has these symptoms
- Panting and Rapid breathing
- Tucked tail
- Trying to hide below the beds and in the corner spaces
- Excessive continuous barking
- Scratching the doors and windows
- Whining and Howling
- Escape behaviour such as continuous running
- Excessive self-licking and chewing
- Drooling a lot
- Destructive behaviour. Mainly my Dog used to destroy the furniture when he was anxious, my couch was always a victim when my dog used to get anxious.
- Urinating and Defecating indoors even if your dog is trained properly.
Check for these kinds of symptoms. If they are excessive, your Dog is likely being suffered from Anxiety.
Main causes of Anxiety in Dogs
The main causes of anxiety in dogs are due to Separation from the owner, Disturbing noises and Confinement. Thus anxiety in Labradors can be classified into three types, they are
Separation anxiety is one of the major kind of anxiety that Labradors suffer with. So, let us talk about this now.
Labrador Separation Anxiety- 5 steps to handle it
Labradors are one of the most intelligent breeds that develop a deep emotional attachment with humans rather than their doggy friends. They are great attention seekers and want to stay and play with you. A little action of taking your vehicle key, or putting on your jacket or carrying a luggage bag can make them anxious. Hence leaving those emotional creatures alone for a long period of time can cause separation anxiety in them.
Some owners do not treat this as a problem. Leaving separation anxiety unattended can make it a serious behavioural problem which is harmful to your lab. Therefore follow these proven steps to handle Labrador separation anxiety successfully.
1. Teach him to stay Alone
There are No Bad Dogs only Bad Owners. Training your Dog effectively can mould your dog into the way you want them to be. Labradors are intelligent breeds and can be trained easily. From the stage of the puppy itself, offer your dog a safe, separate place to sleep. It is “His/Her place to sleep”. I do not recommend allowing your dogs sleeping along with you at least during the night times because they need to be psychologically trained to sleep in their places alone, away from you. So even when you leave home they should be comfortable enough to sleep in its safe, comfortable place provided to them.
2. No emotional Goodbyes
Dogs may not understand your language properly, but they can understand your body language very quickly, so do not feel bad when you leave your dog because your body language might make your dog feel that you will not come back again. Hence do not exhibit behaviours such as kissing and hugging your dog while going out. So no Goodbyes to your dog. Do not create the emotional thought in your dog’s mind that you are leaving him. Do not give any kind of extra attention to your dog while going out of your house and it must be done as a normal routine.
3. Practice short interval departures
When I used to leave my room, my dog used to start barking and when this became a daily routine, my dog understood that going out is a normal process. So go out for a few minutes, stay for a while and come back, then your dog will understand that even if you go out, you will come back. Slowly increase the time interval duration and your dog gets adapted to it. Labradors like patterns, and when you follow the same pattern of going out and coming back, your dog will understand that you will come back for sure even if you go out and he will not become anxious.
4. Exercise to make your dog tired
In these busy days of work, you may rarely have time to exercise your labrador, this is the biggest mistake that can contribute to anxiety in dogs. You have to know one thing that A Tired dog is a Calm dog. A tired dog sleeps very well. Exercising your dog before you leave the house makes the dog completely exhausted and it is likely to sleep as it has low energy levels. A dog without any form of exercise, which means a dog with high energy levels tend to exhibit destructive behaviour due to anxiety.
5. Distraction is the key
Giving your Lab its favourite things can distract him easily. I generally give my dog its favourite toy to play when i go out. You can feed your dog its favourite food, give its favourite toys to keep him engaged. Sometimes your Dog might think that he will get the treat when you leave the house. Even this works. Keeping him engaged can help him to avoid separation anxiety. Every Dog is unique and different in behaviour, hence proper steps are to be adopted according to the behaviour of your dog.
Punishing your Labrador for issues of Separation anxiety
You generally talk to your friends or watch a movie or listen to music when you are fully stressed. But what about your Dog? Who else does he have to share his stress? It’s just you. The destructive behaviour during separation anxiety is his way of expressing his stress. Punishing your dog for destroying things and for other forms of weird behaviour can make the Dog more stressed. Increasing stress is not at all a solution for your stressed Dog. Any form of serious punishment can be very painful for your Dog.
Your dog has a short-term memory. Suppose your dog has destroyed the furniture in the afternoon, you came home from the office in the evening. Punishing your dog at that time is not useful, as your dog cannot relate the punishment given to the destruction it has done in the afternoon.
Patience is the Key. Every dog is different and every dog takes its own time to get rid of separation anxiety. If you can train your dog properly there are fewer chances that your Dog suffers from anxiety.
Be patient in understanding and handling your dog and you can stay happy with your doggy friend forever that does not overreact when you go out.
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