Separation anxiety occurs when your dog experiences elevated stress between the time you leave them and when you return. There are many symptoms involved, but it’s important to understand separation anxiety in dogs is the equivalent of a panic attack in humans.
As the parent of a doggo, you have the responsibility to raise a well-behaved and well-adjusted dog. That’s why training and socialization play a significant role in the upbringing of your pup. However, there are times when no matter how much training your pup receives, they still become nervous and destructive when you are away from them.
There are many reasons why a dog may feel anxious. A new home, routine, or even the absence of another family member can all be triggers of anxious behaviors. Research has even shown that a lack of regular exercise is a potential reason for these behaviors.
Separation anxiety can be a difficult challenge for both owners and their beloved dogs. It often manifests in destructive behaviors such as chewing, barking, or digging as the dog attempts to cope with loneliness.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
If your dog is destructive each time you leave your home, it’s likely suffering from separation anxiety. While this unconditional love would be flattering to any dog owner, it’s also frustrating, stressful, and dangerous.
While these destructive behaviors are most common in puppies, adult dogs can exhibit signs of anxiety, too.
Pacing, whining, and trembling are the most common signs of a nervous pup. Other behaviors like chewing and ripping paper or trash, accidents in the home, excessive barking or howling, and attempts to escape confinement are also common.
But, it’s important to note that just because your dog is anxious doesn’t mean you need to change your schedule or routine. A few minor adjustments can make departing your precious pup a little less stressful for both of you.
Soothing Separation Anxiety
As the parent, it’s important to build a positive association with leaving. For example, by providing a special treat or toy when you go. This can be a toy with a hidden treat, a piece of fruit, or another item they only receive as you head out the door. While it’s not exactly a solution, plenty of exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce these stressors, too.
If you notice your dog continues to exhibit destructive behaviors, consider placing them in their crate when you leave. This keeps the dog and your home safe from damage. Don’t forget to reward them with a special treat as they jump in their kennels.
Additionally, gradually increase the amount of time you’re away until they are comfortable with longer periods of separation. As your dog becomes more comfortable, you may be able to ease them out of getting in their crate or placing them in a room.
Regardless of the method you choose, be consistent in your approach with the same commands, tone, and incentive. With patience, understanding, and proper training, separation anxiety can be managed, and dogs can learn to be content and non-destructive when you are away.
For questions or concerns about your pet’s health or behavior, don’t hesitate to contact us.