Battersea Q&A: My rescue dog loves me too much!
(Q) With Valentine’s Day in mind, I’d like some advice on how to teach my rescue dog, Daisy, how to love me a bit less! She suffers from separation anxiety, which is distressing for both of us.
(A) Battersea canine welfare trainer Nathalie Ingham says: Newly rehomed dogs often go through a honeymoon period, and are on their best behaviour until they feel safe enough to start pushing the boundaries. Some will pester for attention, or bond so closely with their new owner they become over-dependent.
This may feel rather flattering to begin with, but discovering you can’t leave your dog alone, even for a few minutes, isn't so great — and neither is a destructive dog, or one who toilets in the house. Here are four simple steps designed to ensure dogs like Daisy are given love, attention, and security but don’t become over-dependent:
♦ Try not to allow your dog to become addicted to you in the first couple of weeks after rehoming. Give affection and attention when you decide, not on demand.
♦ Don’t allow your dog to follow you from room to room. Shut doors between you and him as part of your daily routine, and try not to allow constant contact when you are together.
♦ Practise trial separations. Encourage your dog to go to his bed, give him something good to chew or play with, and then leave without giving him too much attention.
♦ Leave your dog with toys that are really fun and rewarding to play with — interactive ones such as stuffed Kongs. To keep the novelty value high, only give them to your dog when you’re going out.