My Jack Russell Terrier becomes very upset when we leave the house. What can we do?
There are three simple steps to help your dog overcome separation anxiety.
- Before leaving pay no attention to the dog for 20 - 30 minutes and leave a special toy or treat to distract the dog when you go out and remove the item upon your return.
- When returning home, ignore your dog until he is quiet and relaxed, then interact on your own initiative. Do NOT reprimand your dog for destructive behavior or for urinating or defecating in the house.
- While you are home, interact with your dog only at your initiative and when the dog is relaxed. Teach your dog to stay calm as you move away, gradually increasing the distance and time away. Put your coat on or play with your keys at times other than before you are going to depart.
Separation anxiety is a behavior that without behavior modification will only become worse. If these few steps do not help out, it is best to talk with your vet about other treatments, or contact a behavior specialist.
In addition consider leaving the TV on or playing music while you are away and possibly placing a t-shirt or something with your scent on it near the crate so your terrier can smell it. It's possible that your scent will help calm him/her.