Last updated on July 29th, 2022
Dogs can feel anxious when they are separated from their owner, and this can lead to separation anxiety. Separation anxiety and stress are fairly common in dogs. When a dog is left alone, it may become very distressed, usually displaying a wide range of behaviors. A dog who displays anxiety may whine, bark, howl, pace, or chew. If left alone for too long, it may even attempt to escape. By implementing a few, but important training you can be able to prevent dog separation anxiety before it starts.
What are the Signs of Dog Separation Anxiety?
Dogs with separation anxiety will strongly display symptoms of anxiety. The most common signs are:
- Excessive barking or howling
- Destructive behavior like chewing and destroying furniture
- Anxious behaviors Trembling, whining, or pacing while you leave him alone
- Extreme salivation, drooling, or panting
What are the Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety?
There are a variety of reasons why a dog exhibits symptoms of separation anxiety. While the loss of an important person, or group of people in a dog’s life, maybe the cause, there are other reasons why a dog may exhibit this type of behavior.
1. Change of Owner
When a dog is abandoned, surrendered to a shelter, or given to a new guardian or family, they may develop separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can range from mild to severe and can have lasting effects on behavior.
2. Change of Routine
If you suddenly have to leave your dog alone for long periods of time, they may develop separation anxiety. For example, if you work from home and are with your dog all day but then get a new job that requires you to be away from them, they may become anxious.
3. Change of Residence
If you’re moving to a new residence your dog might start to feel disturbed.
4. Change in Family Structure
When a resident family member dies or moves away, it can be tough on those left behind. Separation anxiety may develop in some cases.
How to Train Your Dog to Stay Alone in Order to Prevent Separation Anxiety
You can establish staying at home alone training as a part of his routine. For this you have to follow these steps:
- Leave your puppy in a room without your presence for 5-10 minutes at first.
- Shower your puppy with treats, praise, and cuddles when you return o the room to let them know that being home alone isn’t a bad thing – in fact, it results in a lot of love from you!
- This time, increase the alone time to 15 minutes. If your puppy whimpers stay calm and continue training
- You can gradually increase the amount of time you leave the dog alone. Also, remember to give him a treat or attention when you get back from your outing. A dog that knows you will return soon feels more secure
- Some dogs will whine and sulk when they do not get what they want. Ignore them. Make sure the dog understands what you want from them.
How to Stop Separation Anxiety in Dogs
1. Keep Arrival and Departure Low Key
When you leave your pup, try not to make a big deal about it. The same applies when you return. Don’t rush up to her and give her a big hug. Wait for her to calm down. Give your dog affection when he or she is calm.
Exercise won’t cure SA entirely, but it can help manage and prevent it. A tired, dog who’s had a brisk walk and playtime with you is less likely to be anxious. Dogs with separation anxiety benefit from a structured program of exercise, training, and mental stimulation.
3. Crate Training
If you don’t want your dog to feel anxious, many experts recommend crate training. When done correctly, the crate gives your dog a safe, comfortable place to relax when you’re not around. It’s a great training tool and can help with many puppy challenges.
4. Mental Stimulating Toys
Make sure that your dog has exciting things to do when you are not with them. Give your dog a mentally stimulating toy, such as a stuffed ‘kong’, a meat-flavored chew or a treat ball or cube. Make sure that this is a ‘special’ toy that they only get when you’re not there. Remember to put away this toy when you return and also to take any food treats out of your pet’s daily food allowance to avoid overfeeding.
5. Anti-anxiety Medications
Sometimes training and counter-conditioning aren’t enough. Some vets recommend medication, like amitriptyline for depression or alprazolam for anxiety and panic disorders. These require a prescription and are safe for most pets, though you’ll need to consult with your vet first.
There’s no quick fix for separation anxiety in dogs. But with some dedication, you can easily overcome it with the help of training and supplementary products. The above-mentioned steps will also lead you to worry less about your pooch while you’re at work and the two of you can maintain a perfect work-play balance together.