Having to go out of your house and leaving a very anxious Belgian Malinois’ can be very worrying but there are ways you can implement to help them with separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety happens when your dog becomes very anxious and stressed when they are left alone and not close to their owners.
The Belgian Malinois can suffer from separation anxiety and this is a huge concern because you will have a very stressed dog.
If you want to know how to help them get less anxious due to these triggers, then you’re in luck because, in this article, I am going to show you how to stop separation anxiety in Belgian Malinois.
I’ve got a list of 7 helpful training tips that are sure to help your Belgian Malinois’. Number 5 is an incredibly important step that ensures the success of this process.
Ok, let’s get to it!
How To Stop Belgian Malinois' Separation Anxiety
1.Desensitize your dog
Desensitization is a way of exposing your Belgian Malinois’ to their separation anxiety triggers until they are used to them to the point of not causing anxiety.
Different dogs have different triggers that initiate separation anxiety. These triggers include putting on your shoes, saying goodbye to family before you leave, picking up your car keys or bag.
Observe your Belgian Malinois’ to identify the trigger that sets off their anxiety. After identifying the trigger, perform this activity constantly within the house but do not leave the house.
For example, wear your shoes or pick up your car keys at the front door while your Belgian Malinois’ watches you, and instead of leaving, go to the kitchen or sit with them on the couch. Go about your daily home routine.
Your Belgian Malinois’ will come to associate this pre-departure routine as normal and will be less triggered by these activities.
Repeat this over and over until you see less panicked behavior from them.
2.Train them to adjust to separation
Desensitization methods will help your Belgian Malinois’ become less anxious when they observe your pre-departure routine.
After this desensitization, the next step is to train your Belgian Malinois’ around separation from you. This means they need to get used to not being in your presence all the time and be calm as they wait for your return. Follow the below steps:
- Perform the pre-departure routine, for example, wear your shoes or pick up your car keys.
- Within your home as your Belgian Malinois’ follows you, instruct them to ”sit” and “stay”. Exit to a different room leaving your Belgian Malinois’ where you have instructed them to stay and close the door behind you.
- Immediately after 5 seconds come back into the room that your Belgian Malinois’ is in and give them a treat for staying.
- Repeat the above process while increasing the time that you are separated from your dog in different rooms. For example, increasing time from 5,10, 15 minutes and so on. Your Belgian Malinois’ may bark, howl or scratch the door when you first start this training. This is normal, however, only reward them with a treat if they stay or sit as instructed, not because they demanded you to return to them with the barking.
- Transition the separation routine to your front door and repeat the process while increasing the time that you are outside.
3. Crate training
Crate training your Belgian Malinois’ also helps to manage and control their separation anxiety. A crate should be a safe area where your Belgian Malinois’ can relax and be comfortable in.
The goal is not to have them in the crate the whole day as they wait for your return home, instead, it should be used as a place within your home where they are comfortable to sleep and stay.
Recommended reading: How to crate train a Belgian Malinois’ puppy
4. Provide toys
Invest in interactive toys such as puzzle toys which you can give your Belgian Malinois’ to keep them busy and entertained while you are away.
Give them their favorite toys which they can play with to stay engaged during the day while resting in their crate.
A good example is a KONG toy in which you can freeze peanut butter. This will entertain your Belgian Malinois’ as they slowly lick the frozen peanut butter.
Interactive toys help your Belgian Malinois’ focus on something other than your absence which helps them calm down. Thereafter they tire out and rest most of the day.
5.Stay calm during goodbyes and welcome homes
Make your goodbyes and welcome homes less emotional.
When you come back home and walk through the front door, stay calm and do not make the event very emotional when your dog comes to you.
Enter your home and ignore your Belgian Malinois’ completely which means no eye contact, touch, or talking to them.
This also applies when you’re about to leave the house, do not have them excessively emotionally-charged indicating that you are about to go and be separated.
I know, this sounds a bit cold but the only way to make your entrance and departure less dramatic.
By doing this, your Belgian Malinois’ will learn over time that your coming and going is a normal routine and they will not be emotionally charged up or have their anxiety triggered.
6. Seek treatment
Some Belgian Malinois’ anxiety may need medication to be able to keep it under control to calm them down. Talk to your vet about your Belgian Malinois separation anxiety.
The vet will determine the severity of it and may prescribe medication to help them. Medication is prescribed in cases where it is necessary.
7. Work with an animal behaviorist
Engage an animal behaviorist to help you with the process of training your Belgian Malinois’ to overcome separation anxiety.
Sometimes we need a bit of help when it comes to changing our dog’s behavior and who better to help than a professional.
The above-mentioned tips will help your Belgian Malinois’ to manage separation anxiety well, however, if you need more help, work with an animal behaviorist.
Separation anxiety is when a dog experiences extreme stress and anxiety when they sense that they are about to be left alone or separated from their owner or family.
Other triggers to separation anxiety also include a change in the daily schedule, moving to a different home or environment.
This can leave a dog terrified and express signs indicating stress such as loss of appetite, trembling, whining, excessive drooling, barking or howling, indoor bathroom accidents as well as destructive behavior.
Belgian Malinois are susceptible to separation anxiety and as an owner, it is important to learn how to prevent, manage or control this.
By following the methods in the training, you will have a trained dog that will be less stressed and one that will experience separation anxiety less, which is the main goal of keeping your dog healthy and happy.
At this point, you’ve just scratched the surface of the fascinating world of Belgian Malinois. But there’s so much more to discover! Are you curious to learn about Belgian Malinois’ breed information and care guide, or perhaps you’re eager to uncover other aspects of Belgian Malinois’ behavior?
Our resources have you covered! Keep reading to explore in-depth information that will take you on a journey of knowledge and help you become a true Belgian Malinois’ expert.