Confidence Building: The Solution to Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

The love we share with our canines is a wondrous thing. But creating an overwhelming need for attention is a recipe for misbehavior when we must leave our pets at home alone. Seeking a simple solution that may help with your pet’s separation anxiety? Read on.

I haven’t featured a pet based post recently, but in view of a friend’s recent experience, I decided it was my duty, as an experienced pet owner, long-time obedience trial competitor, certified dog groomer, to impart a bit of advice concerning a problem which causes property damage and emotional distress for owners, threats of eviction for pets in rental homes and apartments.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Some symptoms listed by a FETCH by WebMD post, exhibited by dogs suffering separation anxiety include, but are not limited to:

  • Obsessive pacing
  • Drooling
  • Excessive howling, barking or whining
  • Having accidents when owners are away for a short time, although housebroken
  • Chewing, digging, scratching
  • Panting for no apparent reason
  • Frantically trying to escape via windows or doors

Contributing Factors Resulting in Separation Anxiety Symptoms

Does your dog freak out when you leave? – asks this Humane Society of the United States Post. The article goes on to list some of the potential reasons pets become anxious when their people are away from the house.

Generally, theses “canine panic attacks” can be caused by one or more of a few general issues.

Previous Experiences

A traumatic background – like being sent to a shelter after having a home – one or more times.

A change in routine of a loving family member – as when a pet was adopted by someone working from home who then returned to a conventional position requiring long hours away each day.

Altered family structure following an event like a death, divorce, a child leaving for college or marrying and moving out.

Owner Over-attachment

Dogs are very intuitive regarding their owners feelings, though sometimes feelings can be misinterpreted. An owner who lavishes constant affection on a pet when at home, and is overly demonstrative when leaving the house is setting up a typical scenario which can result in separation anxiety.

Genetic Predisposition

Some pets are simply more prone to separation anxiety due to inherited temperament.

Creating an Independent and Confident Pet

Various specific techniques and actions can be employed for each individual situation, but generally speaking confidence and a stable environment are most important in preventing and correcting separation anxiety issues:

Inspiring confidence in your pet

Enroll your dog in an ethical training class. Learn how to work your canine; the best ways to offer correction and praise.

Pets who must follow guidelines, who know what is expected of them, who experience consistent praise and support for proper behavior feel more confident and secure, they are better able to spend time alone without worrying when their humans will come home.

(Of course setting up the proper environment when you leave is important too. Pet proof an area and leave a few safe toys for mental stimulation.)

Minimize Emotional Highs and Lows

Don’t make a big deal of greeting your pet when you leave and arrive. Be positive, but treat the times as a normal part of every day. You are not leaving forever, just a few hours. Don’t make your pet feel you are upset. Don’t act like you’ve been gone for years when you enter the house after work.

Being aware of how our own behavior appears to our pets is a major factor for preventing separation anxiety and other behavior problems. Need more help in solving your dog’s behavior issues? Contact a certified trainer or canine behavior specialist who utilizes positive reinforcement methods.

Pet People Connections – Relationships that Sustain Us When Family and Friends Fail Us

This photo reminds my of my favorite tabby, our Penelope.

The kitty who goes on car trips with us. Who’s been with us a  bit over ten years, but who looks young for her age, and has very beautiful skin, both according to her veterinarian.

Tabbies have a reputation of being easy going, and that’s been my experience, from the ones we lived with, over our lifetime. Penelope has been the only “in the house cat” for years. Now she is having to put up with Vanna, another type of tabby.

Vanna has unique markings, including one leg that’s an orange tabby pattern. Maybe it’s that orange cat in her that gives her a bit of spunk. Though they don’t actually fight, she and Penelope are sorting out their relationship with staredowns and gentle punches.

We treasure them both, as we have all of our pets. They give us solace, when humans fail us.

Much research has been done on the benefits of the pet-people bond. But we don’t need studies to feel the love of our cats, dogs, whatever type of creature with whom we share our lives.


“Fixed” and Nearly Ready for New Homes

The kittens are now spayed and neutered, so new owners would only have the expenditure for shots. 

Leave a note in the comments if interested.

Four girls:

2 black with white markings

1 calico

1 white with black spots

One male:

White with black spots

Getting more charming every day.

Travels With Penelope – Cats and Car Trips

How many readers have cats who love car rides? Our tabby enjoys drives every Sunday – to the lake or just around the local countryside.

She visits drive-thrus with us for dinner, appreciates views of woods, fields, and Christmas lights in season.

So many cats have anxiety attacks when driving to the vet. I wonder if they would have a different reaction if they were taken on pleasure trips too.

Introducing kittens to trips in motor vehicles early may be the key to lifelong relaxing travels with felines. Or, perhaps some cats are just born with a calmer demeanor.

A friend I know is leaving this week for Florida with her kitty. She’s done it before, and says he settles down and sleeps after initially showing a touch of anxiety.

When planning a trip with your cat, make sure he or she is on a leash or inside a secure carrier when the car door is open. A stretchable, break free collar with ID is a good idea for extra security. (Penelope wears a harness and a safety collar, both with ID) Cats can be immensely more difficult to catch than dogs, should they inadvertenetly slip away.

With proper preparation and safety procedures, your cats may learn to enjoy car trips, as much as Penelope.

Feel free to share your own experiences of traveling with felines in the comments section.

Kittens Anyone?

Here’s a picture of Mom . . .

These five lovely diminutive felines are scheduled for spay and neuter soon (4 girls 1 boy). They’ll soon be ready for new homes.

Their mother, a very intelligent and unique kitty, was a stray who came to our home. Her babies all have personality plus.

Girls: 2 black with white markings, 1 white with black markings, 1 calico

Boy: white with black markings

If interested, please leave a note in the comments section or email me through form.

Kittens on a Hot Tin Roof

Another shot of the two black kittens, carried by their mother to the roof over a storage area. The tree that grew over the roof offers shelter. There are also a calico and two mostly white, spotted with black.

They are social with humans, not feral, but getting them used to handling is a challenge as they remain out of reach.

Cats on a Hot Tin Roof?

Earlier, I posted a picture of Kitty Carlisle during her early summer pregnancy. She had five kittens, in a cozy nest in the tall grass of a nearby field. (Yes we did try to catch her and have her spayed, resulting in a doctor visit for my husband.)

She later moved them to the roof over an old storage area. A tree that has grown to encompass much of the rooftop serves as their shelter.

A friend mentioned the old movie, when I expressed the fact that I had never seen a cat take kittens onto a roof.

How we will deal with this problem remains to be seen. We can’t reach the kittens to tame them, the roof is much too fragile for humans to crawl onto. But something must be done.

Memories of Maxwell – and All the Dogs of My Life

I used to be a dog person. In recent years, I’ve gone to the cats.  Never thought it would happen to me, but cats are simply an easier fit with the style of my life these days.

I miss training and showing in obedience trials. The shelties were so intuitive, the beagles great fun to work with too, in spite of their distractable demeanor. But I must admit, winter is easier with felines. They don’t have to be taken outside into the snow three or more times per day.

Pictured is Maxwell, who loved the lake like I do. I remember this beautiful day in September though I can’t immediately recall the year. The little town on the lake held a delightful festival, centered upon canines and other four legged friends.

Max would have made a wonderful therapy dog. He loved all creatures except for horses. And everyone except those who rode bicycles. A wonderful find from a local shelter, Max completed the first two levels of obedience titles with ease, and filled our lives with love and lighthearted moments for sixteen and a half years.



Lolling in the Sun Before Labor

Our stray kitty – the one we can’t catch to spay or take for preventative shots is staggering with the weight of kittens. She rests in the sun this bright morning, awaiting the adventure of bringing more felines into the world.

Tame as can be for petting, she becomes violent at the threat of capture, and she’s too savvy to trap. So we continue to assist her as we can, hoping one day she will trust us completely.


Kittens and Springtime Go Hand in Hand – Support Your Local Cat Shelter

Tabby Kitten Sitting on the GrassIt won’t be long till a new crop of kittens arrives – adding their demure wonder to our springtime world.

Unfortunately, not all will find nice homes with the perks of catnip toys, free massages, or even just the essentials of food, water, and a place to sleep free from worries about hawks, owls, and speeding cars.

Local governments seem loathe to provide services for spaying, neutering, providing shelter for homeless cats.

They rely on the charity of wonderful people many of whom have difficulty meeting the payments on their own homes.

In this season of great need, please seek out shelters in your own area in need of support. Offer what you can spare, whether money, towels and bedding, coupons for cat food, volunteer hours. . . a home for an animal in need.

No, this is not this is not my kitten, but a lovely stock photo from a free site. Hopefully the stray we’re supporting, but have been unable to catch doesn’t offer us any gifts. Adorable as kittens can be, the two adults who make our home with us are enough for now.