One of the most common complaints of pet parents is that their dogs are disruptive or destructive when left alone. Their dogs might urinate, defecate, bark, howl, chew, dig or try to escape. Although these problems often indicate that a dog needs to be taught polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of distress. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.While all dogs tend to be a little clingy, separation anxiety means your dog gets super stressed out whenever you leave the house. It can be a little annoying to your neighbors if your dog has been barking for hours while you’re out, and it’s also really sad to think that your pup is that anxious and scared when left alone.
What is Dog Separation Anxiety?
Whether in a puppy or an adult dog, separation anxiety is when your dog exhibits extreme stress from the time you leave him alone until you return. The symptoms can vary, but he will act as if he’s terrified to be in the house on his own.
Signs of Separation Anxiety
- A dog who has it shows a lot of stress when they are alone. They might:
- Howl, bark, or whine to excess
- Have indoor "accidents" even though they are housebroken
- Chew things up, dig holes, scratch at windows and doors
- Drool, pant, or salivate way more than usual
- Pace, often in an obsessive pattern
- Try to escape
What Can I Do About My Dog’s Separation Anxiety?
It’s exhausting to come home to destruction and upsetting to see your puppy in such distress. It’s even more devastating for your dog. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to deal with it。
For All Dogs
Make sure your pet gets lots of exercise every day. A tired, happy dog will be less stressed when you leave. It's also key that you challenge your pet's mind. Play training games and fetch. Use interactive puzzles. Work their mind as well as their body. That will keep them busy, happy, and too tired to be anxious while you're gone.
How to manage separation anxiety?
If your dog is exhibiting mild to moderate separation anxiety, the goal is to remove the anxiety the dog feels from being alone. This is a gradual process that starts with short timeframes of independent activities that grow into longer time periods spent apart from the dog. Here are a few things you can do to help your dog feel secure.
When leaving or entering your house it is best to say a simple goodbye and hello or even ignore your dog. Emotional greetings, when you leave and arrive home, tells your dog that it is a big deal that you left.
Continuously Come and Go
Help your dog learn that you are not abandoning them every time you leave the house by practicing leaving and returning before they get upset. For some dogs it might require smalls steps in which you pick up your keys, walk out the door and walk right back in. For other dogs you might be able to walk outside for a few minutes before entering your home. Continue to increase the amount of time you leave as your dog gets more comfortable.
Do some exercise everyday
Exercise can’t fix separation anxiety, but it certainly can help treat and prevent it.A well-exercised dog means a happy and less anxious dog. Before you leave for a long period of time make sure your dog gets some type of exercise like a long walk or run or playing catch for a good amount of time.
Break Your Routine
Some dogs start to get nervous as you prepare to leave. They recognize your routine of getting dressed and packing up your bag. Break the pattern your dogs sees by getting dressed, grabbing your keys and sitting down on the couch or getting dressed and sitting down to watch a movie.
Make Alone Time Fun
Give your dog a special treat, that they only get when you leave, like a frozen Kong filled with peanut butter or a snack that will take them awhile to eat. It’s important that they only get this special treat when you are gone. While at home you can help your dog become comfortable with being away from you by increasing independent playtime with mentally stimulating games like the Muffin Tin Brain Game.
Take Your Dog To Daycare
At Dog daycare, dogs can run and play getting plenty of exercise and even learn a new command or two. Paired with dogs of similar size and personality, dogs enjoy endless socialization with their best furry friends forever making it the most exciting day ever! Pet parents can join in on the fun from work or home by watching their pups on the webcams. You’ll pick up a tired but happy dog who will be begging you to bring them back for more daycare!
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*We hope to give you better ideas for your pet, but this information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. If your pet feels bad, please take it to the veterinarian in time.