Separation Anxiety-at the loss of another dog

March 26, 2012

So far today, our younger dog is doing ok without his momma. It has been cloudy all day so we are hoping that explains his moping around. Since dogs do grieve(yes I assigned a human emotion to dogs because they do feel them), we recognize that he will go thru an adjustment just like us. Since he has hardly been home without anyone in the past 5 yrs, we need to get him acclimated to it in small doses. We both left the house & opened & closed the garage doors-just like we actually left-but we stayed in the garage. We heard him wimper & cry which gave me a knot in my throat. With dogs & kids, you sometimes have to be cruel to be kind. We forced ourselves not to go back inside otherwise, we ran the risk of rewarding his sad behavior because that is just how he would see the situation(When you own a dog, it helps to try to think like one). He would have  said to himself, I cried & they came back-so if I cry next time, then they will come back. So we were cruel & waited until he stopped crying. Once he stopped, we went back in. He was happy to see us. We gave him a casual “Hey Little Guy” but nothing too extravagant because that could create separation anxiety all by itself. Tomorrow we must re-enter the daily grind & will have no choice but to leave him alone. In order for him to make the departure more tolerable for him, we will create a distraction to take his mind off of us leaving. We will fill two Kongs with peanut butter & dry dog food & hide a few small piles of dog food throughout his area. Hopefully, he will concentrate on where we are leaving the food & not us putting our coats on. We will just have to take it from there. As much as we want to coddle him during the transition to being the only dog, we refrain because that will reinforce his being sad. He is getting the same type & amount of attention as he did before he lost his momma and we are maintaining his routine so he doesn’t get further confused. As a rule of thumb, the experts say it takes a dog 3 to 5 days in order to adjust to new environment or a change int heir existing one. This is just a general rule. The dog we just said Good Bye to took a good two years & an addition of a puppy to allow her to adjust to the loss of her buddy. We are also trying not to be sad around him so he doesn’t pick up on it. We will all get through this & we need each other to accomplish it but it can be done.

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