Separation Anxiety and Your Dog
It's not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others don't. Remember a dog's behaviors are part of a panic response.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety happens when a dog is more than a little whining when you leave or a bit of mischief while you’re out. It's a serious condition and one of the main reasons owners get frustrated with their dogs.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
- Accidents when housebroken
- Excessive chewing, digging, scratching
- Obsessive pacing
- Bark, howl and/or whine to excess
Any dog might do some of these things once in a while, but one with separation anxiety will do them almost all the time.
How to Treat
Firstly a vet should be consulted to rule out any medical problems. If you dog is taking any prescriptions, ask your vet if they can be to blame.
- Don't make a big deal out of arrivals and departures
- Leave your dog in a room with a window and plenty of toys
- Provide recently worn clothes that smell like you
What Not To Do
- While formal training is always a good idea, separation anxiety isn't the result of disobedience or lack of training.
- Punishment isn't effective for treating separation anxiety and can make the situation worse.
- Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses inside a crate and can even injure themself in an attempt to escape.