Dog separation anxiety can be a major concern for many dog owners. Many breeds are susceptible to this condition, however, smaller breeds such as the Bichon Frise often have heightened levels of anxiety. Thankfully there are some steps that can you can take to help your dog accept being separated from you or other members of your family.
Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety will indulge in very destructive behavior when they are left alone in the house. They will chew items of furniture, chew up shoes, and dig at carpets and doors in an attempt to escape. They may also bark or whine either continuously or intermittently no matter what time they are alone. In extreme cases, beloved pets who suffer from dog separation anxiety may urinate and defecate, even when they are house trained.
You will see the signs of dog separation anxiety before you even leave the house. Your dog may follow you around the house, and may show other signs of anxiety such as barking. Another symptom of separation anxiety will be apparent when you return as your dog will be extremely hyperactive. This trait is common in Bichon Frises.
Bichon Frises are especially prone to separation anxiety because they are naturally sociable dogs. They are extremely friendly and loyal, and make very good companions. As a result of this, they often find it very difficult to be left alone, and will act out in the ways described. However, they are also very clever dogs who can be easily trained.
Training is essential to overcome a dog’s separation anxiety. If your Bichon become anxious during your routine for leaving the house then you could change your routine by getting ready to leave, but then sitting back down again. When you do have to leave it should be done in a low key manner and as calmly and quietly as possible. It could also help to only leave your dog alone for a few minutes at a time, and then gradually increase the time of absence. By using these methods, eventually your dog will feel much calmer about being left alone.
Some owners find that leaving the television or radio on convinces their dog that they are not alone. You can also help your Bichon feel less anxious by making his living area as welcoming as possible, with a warm cozy bed, fresh water, and plenty of chew toys to keep him occupied. This will help to make him feel safe and secure in his own home.
Dog separation anxiety can be extremely distressing for both you and your dog. The condition is a result of a dog’s nature as a sociable animal but through sustained training it is possible to overcome the anxiety and your Bichon will be happy to be left alone.