Separation anxiety is one of the most frequently encountered problems in the world of dog training. It is also commonly known as owner absent misbehavior. Separation anxiety can manifest in many ways, including chewing, destroying the owner’s personal things, self-destructive behavior, excessive barking and inappropriate urination and defecation.
The manner in which owners leave the house can greatly contribute to separation anxiety issues. A long bid farewell can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety in your Shih Tzu, increasingly their sense of isolation.
Taking the time to leave the house can increase your pet’s excitement, leaving them with excess energy which cannot be diverted to positive activities once you have left. This can result in destructive behaviors, such as destructive chewing of furniture. One method to reduce anxious energy is to ensure your pet is receiving appropriate amounts of exercise during the week. Ideally pet owners should take an active role in their pet’s exercise, providing attention and positive reinforcement.
It is imperative to resolve the root cause of the anxiety. To prevent separation anxiety, your Shih Tzu must feel happy, safe, secure, and comfortable when their owner is absent. Ensuring that your pet has plenty of activities and is occupied while you are away, is a great way to help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Toys such as chew toys or balls are useful, and some owners may choose to provide their pet with a companion, either another animal or choose to utilize pet sitters.
Ideally, your pet should be able to engage themselves in play or be happy to sleep and wait patiently for their pet owners to return. Scheduling your day by planning for play sessions before you leave the house may also be useful. After playing, your pet may have less pent up energy, making it easier for owners to leave. It is also good to praise and reward your pet’s good behavior, either during playtime or during house training. Consistency can also help to reduce anxiety, and pet owners should try to leave and return to the house at regular intervals, to help the Shih Tzu become familiar with their owners departure and understand that their owners will return. Pets that have been previously, lost, rescued from shelters or re-adopted, may have greater problems with separation anxiety, and may be particularly fearful that their owners may not return. Teaching your pet that leaving is not permanent is therefore a particularly important part of treating anxiety. Although training your dog at home may not always be easy and can take some time, consistency and reinforcement of positive behaviors is essential. A well-structured training program can make it easier for pet owners to engage in their daily activities and reduce their pet’s dependency.