How We're Tackling Edie's Separation Anxiety
If you’re a regular watcher of our Instagram stories you might have noticed us talking about Edie’s separation anxiety and how we've been working on it. Which is something that became a very large issue for us this year and it was something that we knew we had to tackle but that didn’t make it any easier on any of us mentally. The issue of separation anxiety is very topical and every person has something that works for them and their dog as each situation is different. So when reading this post please don’t take our word as gospel, it’s simply what we’ve found best for us and it’s still something that we’re constantly working on so that we can leave Josie and Edie happily knowing that they’re not in distress.
HOW WE KNEW EDIE WE KNEW EDIE WAS STRUGGLING WITH SEPARATION ANXIETY
Edie by nature is very clingy to her humans and in particular, me (Rebecca) as I work from home and very rarely need to go out and leave the dogs which is how this issue began. With Josie, I made a real point of making sure she was regularly left from the beginning and at the time my boyfriend was still a touring musician so it was just the two of us for a large portion of the first year of her life. But when Edie came into our lives he started to transition out of that job and into something more permanent at home and I for some reason stopped making such a point of leaving the dogs and ultimately it’s an issue we’ve somewhat bought on ourselves. Because we didn’t leave Edie very often when we did leave her she would cry, howl, bark and generally become very distressed which was not only very upsetting for us but it must have been incredibly difficult for her. Something that gave us a little bit of hope is that she was completely fine in the house being left downstairs if I’m sat up at my desk in my office which is upstairs. She won’t feel the need to come upstairs for at least two hours so we knew we could somewhat build on leaving her alone in the house.
how we’re tackling leaving edie by herself
Because we knew Edie could be by herself in some capacity that gave us a good basis to work with leaving her and this is how we began;
I’d leave the house with absolutely no fuss so no saying goodbye to her or faffing around getting a bag together. I’d make sure our dog camera was plugged in, grab my car keys and go. I’d drive to the end of our village and sit and watch her on the dog camera. To begin with, I only left her 5 minutes so she could see that I always returned to her and she seemed to get the hang of things quite quickly. Slowly I built up the time and when it got to around 20 minutes with no crying I knew we were making real progress and a few months into it we can leave her for around two or so hours.
When I returned to the house something that I was quite strict with was to not fuss her until she was somewhat calm as she’s always been an excited greeter and was even more frantic if we'd been out. I waited a couple of minutes until she was calm and wasn’t jumping anymore and then gave her a big fuss and that’s been a big help for us in general.
Routine and consistency have been the biggest thing in tackling her separation anxiety and even though things aren’t perfect she’s made so much progress in a relatively short amount of time. Edie ultimately needed to know that when either I left her or we were both leaving her that we were always going to come back and now I think she does understand that and why building up the period of time she was left was so important. Before we started working on this she wouldn’t even let us out the door, as soon as we picked up our keys or even went upstairs she’d be on high alert running to the back door but now she doesn’t move when we leave.
As well as routine and consistency I’ve found the best time for her to be left is in the afternoon rather than the evening as in the afternoon we’ve been at home from our walk for an hour or so which means she’s settled down and is generally quite tired. Now when we leave her she might let out a couple of cries and then instantly settle back down afterwards and I imagine with time there hopefully won’t be any cries at all.