If your Dachshund has ‘separation anxiety’, here are some suggestions that may help you come up with a solution.
Whether you have a Dachshund puppy or a Dachshund that is ‘new to you’ one way to stop separation anxiety is to train your Dachshund to be alone. Just as you would potty train or teach them to sit, starting right away to separate will help to alleviate any anxiety your Dachshund may develop.
Almost all of us have to leave our Dachshunds for different periods of time. Starting with ‘short’ departures and gradually building up to longer periods of time will help your Dachshund to adjust to being alone and reduce separation anxiety. Start with very short intervals of about one minute. Walk out of the door and just quietly stand there so your Dachshund thinks you have departed. Now listen. Is your Dachshund barking or whining?
If your Dachshund is barking or whining, in a firm tone discipline him/her by saying ‘No barking’ through the door. Continue this training by gradually lengthening your time away as well as your distance away. We practiced this with Sampson and found we were successful. To test our success we actually left a voice recorder on while we were gone.
We were very pleased to learn that Sampson had been quiet while we were gone! Today, though he gets a little ‘excited’ when we are ready to leave, we say, “No Bark” before we walk out of the door and he is quiet. Knowing that we may be on the other side of the door ready to discipline him, he behaves and has very little separation anxiety.
Downplay your Departures
When we have to leave, we quietly try to get the keys, sunglasses, purse etc. and get to the door. Of course, Sampson always realizes we are leaving, but shortening this ‘departure’ time gives him less time to ‘get worked up’.
He will typically start to get excited, wag his tail and whine because he knows we are leaving. Coddling him and focusing extra attention on him will only increase his anxiety. If he starts to whine, we firmly say “No”. As we are walking out of the door we turn to him and say “No Bark”.
Downplay your Return
Just as important as it is to downplay your departure, it is just as important not to over dramatize your return. When Sampson first came to live with us I was very guilty of over dramatizing our reunions, so much so that it turned into a big problem.
You see, after I had been working all day, I was very excited to come home and see my little baby Sampson, so happy to see me, that I would talk to him in a high voice, pick him right up and hug and kiss him. This behavior was SO wrong. This behavior on my part only served to heighten his excitement so much so that he started to have ‘happy drops’ (or worse, a stream…) on me everyday when I came home.
I knew this behavior was partly my fault and it had to be corrected. It killed me, but I did it and the problem was corrected. Basically I had to ‘ignore’ him when I first walked in the door. Oh sure, he was jumping on me, trying to get my attention, but the moment I even looked at him, he would start to pee.
I had to pretend he wasn’t there, walk around the house doing my own thing, while he calmed down. After 5 minutes or so and he was much calmer, I would pick him up and we say our hello. After several weeks of practicing this routine, the over excitement and the urinating stopped.
Now, I can acknowledge him in a ‘normal’ voice when I return and we say our hello.
Remembering that you too, probably have some behaviors to correct will only serve to help your Dachshund correct his separation anxiety. Then you will both be happy!
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