Basenji Companions

Devoted to Basenjis as Pets

“Peek-a-boo” Game for Separation Anxiety

By Jean Skaggs, Oregon, updated 2013

Separation Anxiety is very common with re-homed dogs. They have been separated once, and it takes a LONG time before they can realize it will not happen again.

The best thing I know of is “peek-a-boo” out of sights game playing. As the dog becomes less anxious with quick short ones, add time in very small increments. You MUST make certain the dog is comfortable at each level before you progress and stay very upbeat. This is a game so make it fun for the dog. Once he grasps the idea that you are always coming back his separation anxiety will decrease and you can leave him for longer and longer periods.

“Peek-a-boo” Game: When your dog is busy doing something else, step out of sight-somewhere you can see or peek at the dog but they can’t see you. As soon as the dog notices you are missing, step out and say whatever it is you choose to say, “Peek-a-boo,” “Hi, there!” “Miss me?” etc…

When the dog is comfortable with that, you can step into another room and close the door. You can hear the dog sniffing or beginning to make a fuss. If the dog is sniffing at the door just open it and say your peek-a-boo word. If the dog is in another room starting to fuss, quickly go to that room and say your peek-a-boo word. Do this throughout the house.

Then start going out the door of the house. Gradually increase the time you are outside of the house. It is important that you do not increase the time away from the dog until the dog is very comfortable with the last stage.

What you are doing here is telling the dog in a language the dog can understand that you can go away but you will always come back. This exercise is very similar to crate training. In both instances you are teaching and reassuring the dog that you will return.

Copyright © 2013 by Jean Skaggs

All rights reserved.

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