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Dogs do get Separation Anxiety .... Here's some
Written by: Tippy
Dogs are very social creatures and they have a drive to stay
with their pack members at all times. They don't feel the
need to be alone at times like humans. Dogs with separation
anxiety exhibit behavioral problems when they are left
alone with a panicked response to being left alone. This usually
starts within a short time of their owners leaving, usually
within twenty to forty-five minutes.
Here is a list of typical behaviors that may be exhibited
when you leave a dog that suffers from separation anxiety
It isn't understood why some dogs develop separation anxiety
and why other dogs do not. You should understand that you
dog isn't punishing you or seeking revenge because you left
it alone. Instead this is a panic response to being left
In the wild, individual wolves that are isolated from the
others have been excommunicated from the pack and are not
allowed to return. This usually means a lot of hardship and
maybe even death from starvation. It could be that your dog
is tapping into an instinctive response to being left alone.
Or if your dog is already the nervous type this can just be
an out branching of the nervous disorder. It is important to
understand, if at all, possible why the behavior started and
when. This helps to treat and diagnose the bad behaviors
that go along with separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is dangerous to not only property but it
is also dangerous to the dog itself. Fits of depression and
anxiety can aggravate any other health problems your dog may
be suffering from. Dogs that chew as a result of separation
anxiety are at a high risk of suffering from some kind of
gut-related illness because of this behavior.
Millions of dogs are affected by separation anxiety but this
can be treated and managed and in many cases separation
anxiety can be cured.
What to do if your Dog suffers from Separation Anxiety
For the mild case of separation anxiety the techniques
outlined below can help the anxiety. For the more severe
cases of separation anxiety the techniques outlined below
along with desensitization and possibly medication should be
used to treat the problem.
Here is a list of techniques that you can employ to help
your dog with separation anxiety:
- Keep departures and arrivals calm. It is important that
when you get home that you should ignore your dog for the
first couple of minutes and then pet it calmly. If you show
dramatic attention to your dog when it displays this kind of
hyper activity it only reinforces the bad behavior.
- When you leave your dog alone give it some of your clothes
that you have worn recently so that they smell like you.
- Use a training word when you leave your home for short
periods. Dogs will learn to associate this word with you
leaving and that you are going to return. For instance, if
you are going outside to water your lawn and you use this
word when you leave your home the dog will know that you
will be back shortly and won't panic.
This takes some time to take effect and consistency is a
must. You can also use a favorite toy, the television or
radio to train your dog to know that you will be back
shortly. Be sure to only use this training when you are
going to be gone for short periods that your dog can put up
with otherwise the meaning will be lost on your dog and it
will no longer work.
- If your dog chews as part of the separation anxiety then
giving the dog a sturdy chew toy when you leave is a very
good idea and can save your table leg or carpet. Some hard
rubber toys are designed to give your dog a treat when it
chews and are effective in distracting your dog for a period
Quick Solutions for Canine Separation Anxiety
Not everyone understands just how damaging separation
anxiety can be to the dog and your property. Canine
separation anxiety is a disorder that is frustrating to the
dog and its owner and although there are treatments for your
dog the cure is never immediate and there are times when you
need help immediately for your dog so that it doesn't harm
itself or your property.
These quick solutions are only meant as a temporary way to
control the separation anxiety until you can get control of
your dog's separation anxiety by desensitization methods
that take more time. They are not a permanent solution and
shouldn't be treated like they are.
- One quick solution is to talk to your veterinarian about
possibly putting your dog on some kind of anti-anxiety
medication. That doesn't sedate the dog it just controls the
anxiety. You should not use this while you are desensitizing
your dog. Instead this should be used to help your dog
control its anxiety until you can start desensitization.
- Another solution is to take your dog to a boarding kennel
or dog day care facility when you must leave it.
- Leave your dog with friends or family or a pet sitter.
- Take your dog with you to work or on the outing with you
Follows is a list of what you shouldn't do if your dog has
separation anxiety. This is just as important as any quick
solution. You have to retrain yourself as much as the dog
needs to be retrained because your behavior can reinforce
the bad behavior of your dog.
- Never Punish Your Dog when it displays separation anxiety!
Punishing your dog when you return from your outing can
increase its separation anxiety and will not help in any
- Get another pet or dog to be a companion for your dog with
separation anxiety. Your dog doesn't want the company of
another animal; it wants to be with you. Bringing in another
animal can increase separation anxiety as it is altering
your dog's routine.
- If your dog isn't used to being crated then crating your
dog is a bad response to trying to control your dog's
separation anxiety. Your dog can seriously hurt itself by
trying to escape the crate and still engage in all of the
bad habits that it was doing, just doing them inside the
- Leave the radio on when you leave. Unless you have trained
your dog that this is a safety cue it may only be agitated
by the noise and more confused.
- Training your dog outside of desensitization. Although
regular training is good for your dog in general it will not
help the separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a panic
response to your leaving; it is not from lack of training or
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