Adopting a dog can provide massive benefits to the members of a household. In addition to providing an excuse to exercise, dogs can improve the overall mood of their owners. Adopting an adult dog can also save families the hassle of training a new puppy.
However, many dogs are brought to shelters because of behavior problems their previous owners couldn’t handle – in fact, this is the top reason most dogs end up at shelters and humane societies.
Separation anxiety can cause serious behavioral problem in dogs, and it only gets worse if untreated. It can cause the animals to urinate or defecate in the house while no one is home, claw up walls or chew furniture. In addition, they can develop self-destructive nervous habits such as tail or leg-chewing. Adopted dogs may already have this condition, or may develop it as they adjust to life in a new family.
Dogs may be able to be desensitized to humans coming and going and thus cure their separation anxiety. Owners can repeat the leaving actions of opening the door from within the house and shutting it again, until the dog has no reaction to it. After achieving that step, owners should leave the house and close the door behind them, re-entering after 15 seconds. When the dog shows no reaction to this step, owners should continue the pattern in intervals of 15 seconds until it has no reaction to an absence of one minute. Owners should gradually increase the amount of time before re-entry until the dog shows no reaction to an absence for up to three hours.
Often, owners may have to repeat this exercise dozens of times before the pet stops reacting. Another way to help a dog who gets stressed or anxious when its owner leaves is Comfort Zone with D.A.P. This plug-in diffuser takes advantage of a dog’s keen sense of smell, releasing a calming pheromone that chemically communicates safety to the dog. While dogs smell this chemical, which sends the same signal puppies receive while snuggling with their mothers, humans cannot smell anything.
The diffuser can be plugged into a wall electrical outlet and will provide 24-hour stress relief for dogs that can stop excessive barking, chewing, urination, or other symptoms of separation anxiety. Assuring an adopted dog that its new home is a safe and secure one will help the adjustment into the owner’s family.