Updated: Aug 21, 2019
Definition: Separation anxiety in dogs describes a condition in which a dog exhibits distress and behavior problems when separated from its handler. Separation anxiety typically manifests within 30 minutes of departure of the handler. It is not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others do not.
Symptoms that dogs will display that have separation anxiety
- Urinating and defecating
- Barking and howling
- Chewing, digging, and destruction
Why do dogs have separation anxiety
- Change of guardian or family
- Change in schedule
- Change in residence
- Change in household membership
Other problems to rule out
- Excitement urination
- Incomplete house training
- Urine marking
- Excessive barking or howling
What to do if your dog has separation anxiety
-You can stuff a Kong. Give the Kong to your dog right when you leave. This will keep the dog occupied for the first 20-30 minutes that you leave.
- Desensitization and counter conditioning.
1. Pre- departure
Pick up your keys, coat, purse, water bottle, whatever you take with you when you leave the house. Do this multiple times through the day even though you aren’t leaving the house.
2. Departure/ absence
Get your stuff and act like you are going to leave and go hide in the bathroom or somewhere the dog can’t see you. You can teach your dog to sit or lay down and stay while you go hide in the bathroom.
- Then gradually increase the time you hide and wait to see what the dog will do.
- Progressively try to leave the house and hide behind the door or right outside the door.
- Now leave for only a few minutes and gradually increase the time that you are gone.
- Remember to act very calm when leaving and coming.
- You will have to be able to judge if your dog still has separation anxiety.
- It will take a good amount to be able to leave your house or long periods of time.
- DO NOT PUNISH your dog for chewing or destroying stuff, or the problem might get worse again.
Contact us today as your local dog trainer in Evergreen and Conifer, to help you and your dog with separation anxiety.