Separation Anxiety in Dogs

How to Stop Your Dog From Having Separation Anxiety

A common complaint of pet parents is that their dogs are destructive or disruptive when left alone. When a dog’s problems are accompanied by distress behaviors, such as showing anxiety drooling when his pet parents prepare to leave the house, they are signs that the dog has separation anxiety. It is created when dogs become upset because of separation from their owners. Escape efforts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme, especially around exit points such as doors and windows, and can lead to injuries and household destruction.


Signs 

  • Chewing on objects such as door frames or window sills
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  • Defecating and urinating when left alone
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  • Escaping from an area of confinement
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  • Continuous howling or barking
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  • Pacing in circular patterns
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  • Coprophagia

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Causes
The exact causes of separation anxiety are unknown. However, dogs adopted from shelters display this behavior problem more often than those kept by a family from puppyhood. It is thought that losing an important person or group of people in a dog’s life can create separation anxiety. Other potential causes may include:

  • Not enough exercise
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  • Too much socialization
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  • Change in their routines
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  • Lack of obedience training
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  • Underlying medical problems

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Tips
Some dogs respond fairly quickly to efforts to relieve separation anxiety; with others, it takes patience, consistency, and time. Here are some tips to try:

  • Don’t talk, touch, or make eye contact with your dog for five minutes before leaving and after returning home.
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  • Stay calm and assertive and project confidence as the pack leader.
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  • Start out by leaving your dog alone for just five minutes at a time.
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  • Walk your dog before you leave the house.

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If you are unable to resolve your dog’s separation anxiety, you should consult with your vet to determine if there is a medication condition present causing the behavior problem.
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