Dog Separation Anxiety
5 Signs Your Dog May Be Freaking Out Without You!
- Barking, whining and Howling.
- Scratching at doors or windows,digging at doors and windows .
- Chewing and Tearing up furniture, shoes, carpet and the like.
- Howling, barking and whining often seemingly at nothing obvious.
- Peeing and Pooping inside multiple areas of their home.
How to Tell if it Really is Dog Separation Anxiety?
Your dog may have separation anxiety if:
- If when you leave your dog alone, almost directly after you shut the door behind you the distress behaviors begin.
- Rarely lets you leave his site, often rechecks to see if you are still there. Follows you constantly.
- Overly excited when you return home, exuberant behaviors.
- If the dog separation anxiety behavior begins long or short after you leave him alone.
- Shows worrisome excitement to beat you out the door when you go to leave your home.
What causes separation anxiety
Why some dogs will suffer from dog separation anxiety and others dogs do not, is unknown. Yet realize your dog is suffering in pain, and not trying to punish you, or ruin your household belongings, flooring, or clothing and or other possessions. These behaviors are coping mechanisms natural for a dog to act out to try and deal with their pain derived from what is real fear to them, of being abandoned for good.
Dog Separation Triggers Can Be:
- A dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left alone for the first time.
- A dog suffers a traumatic event (from her viewpoint), such as time at a shelter or boarding kennel.
- There’s a change in the family’s routine or structure or the loss of a family member or other pet.
How to treat minor separation anxiety
- Don’t make a big deal out of arrivals and departures. For example, when you arrive home, ignore your dog for the first few minutes then calmly pet him.
Leave your dog with an article of clothing that smells like you, such as an old T-shirt that you’ve slept in recently.
- Establish a safety cue—a word or action that you use every time you leave that tells your dog you’ll be back.
- Consider using an over-the-counter calming product that may reduce fearfulness in dogs.
How to handle a more severe problem
Use the techniques outlined above along with desensitization training. Teach your dog the sit-stay and down-stay commands using positive reinforcement. This training will help her learn that she can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another room.
Create a “safe place” to limit your dog’s ability to be destructive. A safe place should:
- Confine loosely rather than strictly (a room with a window and distractions rather than total isolation)
- Contain busy toys for distraction
- Have dirty laundry to lend a calming olfactory cue or other safety cues
How to cope while your dog learns to be calm
It can take time for your dog to unlearn his panic response to your departures. To help you and your dog cope in the short term, consider the following interim solutions:
- Ask your veterinarian about drug therapy. A good anti-anxiety drug shouldn’t sedate your dog but simply reduce his overall anxiety.
- Take your dog to a doggie daycare facility or kennel when you have to be away.
- Leave your dog with a friend, family member or neighbor when you’re away.
- Take your dog to work with you, if possible.
What won’t help
- Punishment. Punishment isn’t effective for treating separation anxiety and can make the situation worse. The destruction and house soiling that often occur with separation anxiety aren’t your dog’s revenge for being left alone; they’re part of a panic response.
- Another dog. Getting your dog a companion usually doesn’t help an anxious dog because his anxiety is the result of her separation from you, not just the result of being alone.
- Crating. Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses inside a crate, and she may urinate, defecate, howl, or even injure herself in an attempt to escape. Instead, create other kinds of “safe places” as described above.
- Radio/TV noise. Leaving the radio or television on won’t help (unless the radio or TV is used as a safety cue).
- Obedience training. While formal training is always a good idea, separation anxiety isn’t the result of disobedience or lack of training; therefore, it won’t help this particular issue.
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