Separation Anxiety- How to identify and treat it

 

When speaking with dog parents a common concern seems to come up- seperation anxiety. Separation anxiety can range from a mild problem, to a severe one, to a an extreme level more akin to separation panic. But don’t worry- there are ways to help alleviate this fear.

How to identify separation anxiety

A pup chewing your rug can also come from boredom, so how can you tell when you are looking at separation anxiety? According to most experts there are a few tell tale signs:

  • As you are getting ready to leave does your dog start to get depressed
  • When you walk out the door your dog will go into a slight panic- barking, scratching the door
  • Overly joyful when you get home (to the point of hysteria)
  • Read more about signs and symptoms here

At the end of the day you know your pet best, so trust your instincts here.

What to do

There are ways to alleviate separation anxiety.

  • No big goodbyes- try to avoid contact with your pet before you leave, the goodbyes are more for you, and if you make it a big deal they will see it that way
  • No big hello’s- same as goodbyes, when you get home ignore your dog for a few minutes, don’t immediately jump and pet them
  • Get them used to it- start by leaving for 5 minutes, then 20 and then a whole day
  • Leave a something of yours behind- a shirt you slept in, or anything that smells like you
  • Feed them right before you leave and they will associate you leaving with something positive
  • Take long walks before you leave- tired them and they can spend the time away from you contently napping
  • Some people prefer to crate their pooch to give them a sense of security

What NOT to do!

  • Don’t punish them for the bad behavior (chewing, urinating and defecating) they did while you were away.
  • Immediately get another pet as a solutions- your pet isn’t just lonely they are missing you

Medication

Vet’s can prescribe medication to help calm your dog, however this is not a cure and will not address the root of the problem.

How have you dealt with this issue- let us know!

12 thoughts on “Separation Anxiety- How to identify and treat it

  1. Hi Y’all!

    I get excited when I know I’m GOING with the Humans. If I’m not going they “pay” me when they leave. They each give me a home baked treat before going out the door. I’ll go to the door and bark if they forget to “pay up”. When I’m paid, I just sit and watch them leave, then I go listen to music and doze.

    When I was a pup, the always crated me and gave me a treat. Over the years I’ve learned that when they say “I’ll be back” it means that I won’t get to go.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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  2. Wonderful post! I read about separation anxiety before the pups came into our lives, and took measures to avoid it! We start our day ~ EVERY DAY ~ with a nice, long walk to make sure the pups don’t have any pent-up energy. I am a dog walker & pet sitter and have early morning visits at 7 am every now and then. Well, that just means that I will have to get up at 4:30/5 am to make sure that my pups get their walk in! I never just let them out to potty and then leave right after.

    When we leave, we do exactly what you pointed out ~ nothing! The pups have learned that coming & going is just part of their daily doggie routine (we never leave them alone for longer than 4-5 hours, tops). We also don’t make a big deal when we’re coming back home, therefore the pups don’t get overly excited about our return either.

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  3. Excellent post, separation anxiety is such an issue. We have a rule that we do not make a big deal about leaving the house or returning; we stay very calm and insist they sit nicely before we greet them upon returning home. If they start getting “bouncy” we walk by & ignore them. When we have to leave our little dog by herself when we take our other dog somewhere I give her a Kong w/ some peanut butter as we leave. She doesn’t pay any more attention to us as she goes for the Kong!

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  4. Great tips. Harley spends most of his time with us, so when we do leave him, I actually think he’s relieved to be left behind. I do believe that crates are paramount though, they always seem to make it just a little more bearable when given the option to go inside their crate.

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  5. Thanks for sharing these great tips. Separation anxiety is hard to fix. My German shepherd had a bad case and caused lots of damage if I left him alone for even a few minutes. My solution was to take him with me whenever possible and he became a great traveler and buddy.

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  6. At one time I owned a toy poodle and a standard poodle. Though both were the same breed (but quite different if you know poodles) they were very different in levels of anxiety. My standard poodle Andy would be very distraught to be left alone. He never really tore up anything or acted crazy but I could see it in his face. He was the one that followed me room to room and never left my side when I was home. I know he had separation anxiety, he just never was aggressive enough to act out. He would go all day and not eat or drink anything. When I would arrive home he would eat and drink like he was starving. Just like people, dogs sure do have different personalities

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