Is your Morkie driving you crazy with bad behaviour? How do you figure out if it’s lack of training, a very stubborn animal or separation anxiety?
Animal Professionals are reporting more and more cases of separation anxiety today, partly because owners are out of the home longer and longer days. In fact, dog separation anxiety is an enormous and critical problem to address because up to 10% of all puppies and dogs can suffer from this syndrome at some point in their lives. It’s not easy to cure, but if you can get to the root cause, fixing it is easier.
Here are the symptoms of this disorder and some ways you can address it in case your Morkie or Morkie puppy is showing signs of dog separation anxiety.
What is dog separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is basically the result of your dog becoming too reliant and dependent on you.
Since dogs are social or pack animals, they seek your company as much as possible. Some dogs are a little more independent than others when you’re home, and will actually go and sit or sleep in another room, coming by to say ‘hello’ form time to time and then calmly seek out their favourite snooze spot. Others seem to want to be on your lap all the time. Neither means there’s a problem. Dog separation anxiety is the series of problems that happen when you come or go from the home.
If your dog starts behaving differently every time you come or go, then you’ve got a genuine problem on your hands.
What are the symptoms of separation anxiety?
This is where the “bad dog” syndrome comes into play. A dog with this syndrome can act a lot like a bad dog:
- biting and chewing furniture, clothing, shoes and more
- losing all housebreaking training, peeing all over the house
- whining, crying and barking excessively
- vomiting, wheezing or choking
- acting very anxious, upset and agitated
The difference between bad dog behaviour and the genuine disorder is, these changed behaviours are connected to the dog’s owner coming or going.
Can dog separation anxiety be cured?
This is a difficult syndrome to cure and there’s no real reason why some dogs are more susceptible than others. That said, you can certainly reduce the symptoms a great deal, with a combination of:
- changed behaviour on your part
- exercise for your dog
- canine medication
How can you take steps to help your Morkie?
A good walk before you go out every day will help your dog cope. Exercises like walking, running and playing will tire your dog out and she’ll be happier to rest quietly in her bed when you’re away. A tired dog is a happy dog.
Pick a safe room for your Morkie for when you’re out. If your dog is large enough, and sufficiently well trained to stay in a crate for several hours, then you might want to crate him when you’re out. (Small dogs like Morkies definitely don’t have the bladder size to stay in a crate for much more than 90 minutes at a time without extreme discomfort.) Put your dog in this room for short periods when you’re home.
Put one of your shirts in this room or crate for your scent, to reassure your Morkie of your presence. Put several of your dog’s favorite toys in the room. If your dog isn’t in the crate, be sure to put down some training pads, or “puppy pee pads” for his relief.
Use a ‘treat toy’ like a Kong to keep your little Maltese mix busy when you go out — these toys are often filled with a small bit of food like peanut butter or a dog biscuit and your dog works away at getting the treat out.
When you leave the house, do so quietly and calmly – no dramatic or high-pitched goodbyes. One expert suggests changing your departure routine every few days; don’t automatically put on your shoes, get your coat, grab the keys and leave. Some mornings, put your shoes on before breakfast. Have the keys in your coat pocket the night before, and so on. All dogs are very sensitive – some say Morkies are even more sensitive.
Coming back home, ignore your Morkie for several minutes when you come it. Do not make eye contact with your dog; instead go about your regular routines. THEN, give your Morkie a friendly, warm greeting – but not over the top. Gradually reintroduce yourself into your little pet’s life. This would be a great time to take your Morkie for a nice long walk.