Yes I know we’ve all probably been there at one time or another…. It’s time for you to leave and Your fur baby starts in with the long face & big sad eyes, then the whining, barking and meowing starts. It’s enough to break any pet parents heart, not to mention the guilt and frustration that comes along with it. Well first of all let me say you’re not alone.
Did you know that some ways your pet may be acting out is directly connected to their separation anxiety? Well it’s true! Ever come home to find the trash strewn all over the kitchen? Or something of valued chewed to pieces? Or worse a potty accident somewhere other than than the litter box or outside? Yep.. all these and many more are connected to this issue.
Many pet parents deal with this issue of separation anxiety on a daily basis…. Especially if you are a parent of a rescue. So what’s a concerned pet parent to do?…
Well the #1 thing is to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and for God’s sake have a plan in place. Knowledge is key and clarity is better to understand what is going on in your pets mind.
To your pet YOU ARE THE CENTER OF THEIR UNIVERSE and for the most part they just want to be with you (and yes this includes the kitties). Even if you do not have a velcro pet they still want you in the vicinity of them for emotional security.
When you get ready to leave and they see they’re not coming with you and alarm goes off inside them and they start to panic. Are you coming back? Don’t you want me? Did I do something bad and that’s why I can’t go with you? Etc….
This is especially true for rescue pets. If you are the parent of a rescue know that in most cases you and everything you represent is the first security they’ve had and it’s a delicate balance to begin with. So when you leave it triggers old abandonment issues and memories and they go into a tail spin.
Now having said that I will tell you the worst thing you can do is baby your pet when you see them acting this way. By doing that you will reinforce this behavior in their minds that if they act out they will be rewarded with attention…. and we don’t want that.
Of course you can reassure your pet, by all means PLEASE do it but it has to be done the correct way. So let’s begin….
Anyone that knows me knows whether the being is human or animal. I BELIEVE STRONGLY IN COMMUNICATION. Once someone truly understands the message you’re communicating to them most of the time they are willing to cooperate with you… this goes for pets too.
1. Never interact with your pet if you are distracted, GET FOCUSED first. Please get off the phone and stop talking with other people. Then you can get better results from your pet.
2. Make time practice this EVERYDAY. Pets LOVE and NEED routine so they know what to expect. This alone will start to give your pet the foundation of confidence they need.
3. Exercise your pet. Either by a walk, or vigorous play if you have a cat for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you start. This will help your pet be more relaxed and therefore less apprehensive. Always remember how intelligent pets are… they can sense when somethings up. So this way it helps them build trust with you and deepen your bond with them.
4. Start by practicing Gradual Departures. Don’t wait until it’s time to go and expect your pet to fall in line with your program. Practice makes perfect with you so of course it will with them also. Start practicing everyday collecting your belongings in your pets sight then saying goodbye and leaving out the door. Do this first for about 5 minutes… then increase these trips by 5 minute increments over time. Do it everyday at least 3 to 5 times.
5. Sometimes if needed… get another pet. Sometimes this works but I prefer in any case you do the first 4 steps above. Sometimes a second pet will help your pet because they have another fur buddy in the house… but not always.
6. Always prepare the environment. Play Smooth Jazz or Light Classical on a LOW VOLUME in your home. Did you know that this is scientific? Playing this kind of music relaxes your pets and soon they will lay down and sleep.
7. Don’t make a BIG DEAL about leaving. Remember we are showing them this is just a a part of our lives. Most of the time if you act nonchalantly about it they will soon do it also.
8. Calm yourself before RETURNING HOME. When you come in the door do other things first before greeting your pet. Ex. take your coat off, go into another room. Wait about 5 minutes or so for them to calm down. Then you sit down and greet them CALMLY with affection and attention.
Now know that there are WAY more SPECIFIC things to do here to make this a successful part of you and your pets lives… but if you practice these you’ll be off to a GREAT start!
Remember working with Rescues is my SPECIALTY and I would be honored to help you and your fur babies with any challenges you may be facing 🙂 Get in touch and let’s talk so you can get the help you need and want!
REMEMBER PETS RULE!