Beagle separation anxiety is a surprisingly common problem, but contrary to what you might think it’s not your dog’s fault – it’s your fault. Separation anxiety might be only annoying, such as barking, but if left unchecked, it could turn into destructive behavior. You might return home one day to find that your dog has eaten the new leather sofa or dug up all of the houseplants, leaving a mega-mess in his wake.
Sources of Beagle Separation Anxiety
Dogs, and especially Beagles, are pack animals. They generally need social interaction and don’t do well as loners, but separation anxiety goes beyond that. Your Beagle is attached to you as its master (and this is normal), but your dog can become agitated by the actions you take when you are leaving or returning home.
The reason for your dog’s anxiety is the special attention you give them and the routine rituals you perform before you leave and after you return. Routines, such as how you prep in the morning before leaving for work, will reinforce even a small amount of anxiety and magnify it over time.
How to Reduce Beagle Separation Anxiety
There are several ways to reduce your dog’s feeling of anxiety and here are some of the easiest, especially when combined.
1. Change Your Routine
Sights, sounds and actions can trigger a response in your Beagle if he associates them with you leaving. For example, your alarm clock or your keys jangling together can trigger anxious behavior. The time and way in which you get dressed can do the same thing, but now it’s visual instead of audible. Try changing your routine, such as getting up and getting dressed at a different time. Pull your keys off the hook well before you leave instead of the moment you are going out the door. Many small changes can have a big effect.
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2. Don’t Reinforce It
This is a big one. Don’t pay attention to your Beagle for 10 to 15 minutes before and after you return. The best way to reduce Beagle separation anxiety is to avoid the connection between affection and you leaving, so just ignore him for a while – not even a pat on the head. If your dog starts whining or carrying on, don’t feel sorry for him and give in – this is just reinforcing his separation anxiety. If you feel better starting more slowly, practice by putting him in his crate or a separate room. You can do a few repetitions without leaving your dog for more than a few minutes.
3. Build Up to Longer Times
You can start small and work your way up, especially if your Beagle is anxious the moment you leave. Try leaving for just a few seconds and return. Beagle separation anxiety can be dealt with by changing your dog’s expectations of how long you’ll be gone. When he starts to understand that you’ll always return, you can leave for longer periods.
You’re Not Being Mean
While some of the solutions, such as ignoring your dog, may seem harsh, they will ultimately help your dog relax. There is no reason for your Beagle to be anxious, since you are going to return and you are the alpha leader of the household. If you project confidence, then he’ll be relaxed and will be healthier – emotionally and physically.
If your Beagle shows signs of prolonged or severe anxiety, work the problem out quickly before it escalates. Beagle separation anxiety doesn’t need to plague your dog and your household and once your dog learns that your coming and going doesn’t affect the pack pecking order or his survival, he’ll be a much happier camper.