Conquering Separation Anxiety in Chinese Crested Dogs
For the Chinese Crested dog that is happiest as a companion, separation anxiety can be a serious issue. Since Chinese Cresteds tend to bond very strongly with their owners, they often hate to be left alone. If your dog struggles when it is time for you to leave the house, either by sulking, barking, or causing destruction, there are a number of training methods you can use to help him overcome his emotional distress.
Determine whether your dog is suffering from separation anxiety or an undiagnosed behavioral or health problem.
If the separation anxiety symptoms have developed suddenly, there may be an underlying issue with your Chinese Crested. For instance, one symptom of separation anxiety is defecating or urinating in the house. However, this problem should not be confused a legitimate health problem that is causing your dog to frequently use the restroom indoors, such as a urinary tract infection. Before attempting to treat your dog’s anxiety, first take him to a veterinarian to rule out the sudden onset of any disorders.
Give your dog a special treat every time you leave the house.
For mild cases of separation anxiety, a special treat, such as an interactive toy or a peanut butter filled KONG, can help your dog associate your absence with positive experiences. Only give your dog this toy or high-value treat when you are gone, or else your dog will grow accustomed to its novelty and return to his anxious ways.
Practice your morning routine to ease stress.
If your Chinese Crested dog becomes distressed every time you put on your work uniform and grab your wallet, desensitize him to this situation by practicing the routine multiple times per day until he no longer becomes upset. Go through your daily routine, but when it is time to walk out the door, simply touch your hand to the doorknob and then turn around and watch the television instead. Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement throughout the process. Although this method can be time consuming in the beginning, your dog’s anxiety will eventually lessen.
Leave the house for short periods of time.
Help your dog become confident that his favorite companion will always return by periodically leaving the house for a short while, such as to grab the mail or run to the store. Go through your normal routine before you leave (i.e. putting on work clothes, turning on the hair dryer, etc), to help your dog understand that when you leave, you will not always be away for long periods of time.
Ask for help if your dog’s behavior is not improving.
For severe separation anxiety cases that are not improving with diligent practice, seek the help of a professional dog trainer or canine psychologist. Especially if your Chinese Crested is a rescue, he may have serious abandonment issues that need individualized help. A canine professional can help you approach the situation with a proper plan, and will work with you until the problem is solved.