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Can you recommend a safe no bark system for a shihtzhu? He is having separation ...

mjraleigh

Question: 
Can you recommend a safe no bark system for a shihtzhu? He is having separation anxiety as I have relocated to a new place. I am in an apt complex and am trying to avoid the complaints. He is 10 years old and never had this problem before.
Answer: 

Using any sort of punishment on a problem caused by separation anxiety has the potential to make your problem worse. Punishment tends to raise the dog's stress level and can make him more anxious. I understand you need to avoid complaints though. If it's really separation anxiety, my first suggestion would be to consult with a veterinary behaviorist as medication is often recommended for SA. Until then, you could try crating him (unless that raises his stress level) to keep him away from interesting stimuli, use a white noise machine (to drown out sounds that might excite him), give him a stuffed Kong when you leave to distract him, exercise him well (so he's too tired to spend the day barking), and work on building his confidence in being alone. If you absolutely have to go with a no bark system, one that makes an aversive sound (rather than a shock) might be the least stressful to the dog.

Comments

23 Dec 2010 12:13 am

ladywolf319 said:

I'm personally against any anxiety medication for dogs if it is something that we can do to help them. Would you drug your child to keep them quiet?

23 Dec 2010 12:12 am

ladywolf319 said:

We have two chihuahuas and our trainer told us to pretend to leave throughout the time that we are going to be home so that it seems like no big deal. In other words, while you're at home, go through the motions that you would before you leave for work. Pick up your keys, put your shoes on and go outside the door for a moment. Then come back in and do it again. The biggest thing is to not make a big deal of it. When we leave and when we come home, we don't say anything to them. They will give a couple of yips to say welcome home, but they quiet right done and are less anxious about us leaving because we haven't made it a big deal. As hard as it sounds, we feel much more relieved that they are not anxious while we're gone just because we had to tell them how much we love them. They know we love them and by allowing them to be calm while we're gone is a better gift than saying "I Love you." I hope that helps :)

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