Has your dog started exhibiting signs of anxiety and now you are looking for answers on how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs? Then this article is exactly what you need to read.
Let's assume it all started when you dog started showing signs of agitation when you were getting ready to leave the house. That's when your dog starts to whine, pace and even bark in protest.
The next issue will be what you discover once you return home. Which could be the garbage ripped open or your furniture and belongings chewed.
These are actually normal behaviors for a dog that has separation anxiety. The good news is, this behaviour can be rectified.
What Is Separation Anxiety In Dogs?
Well, let’s first take a closer look at normal dog behaviour. They are very social animals who love to spend time with their owners (you). But when you two are apart, they becomes anxious.
The bond they share with you is very strong and that is why they become distressed when you are not around.
How Does Separation Anxiety Develop?
Your dog may be exhibiting behavior that is similar to separation anxiety due to many reasons. As a result, the conditions being displayed could be attributed to something else.
Here is a list of possible conditions your dog may be suffering from which should answer your question "Does my dog have separation anxiety?"
Several different medical issues could be the cause of incontinence including a UTI, diabetes or another illness. It could also be a side effect of medication.
Some medications may cause your dog to lose its appetite, urinate or defecate indoors. As well as display excessive salivation and anxiety. So before you jump to the conclusion that your dogs incontinence is a sign of separation anxiety, ensure it isn't more serious first.
2. Urinating From Excitement or Submission
Does your pee during playtime, when being reprimanded, when being held or greeted? If so, then that is a personality trait rather than a stress issue.
The sign to look for to determine if it more to do with anxiety or stress is if your dog maintains a submissive position during these times.
3. Marking Territory
Dogs sometimes start to leave their scent on things inside the home by urinating on them. If your dog has not been spayed or neutered, this may be the cause.
Dogs in need of mental stimulation will chew things, pee indoors or be connected to some other type of destruction. As it turns out, this is not caused by stress. It is an attention-seeking behaviour.
5. Other Factors
Separation anxiety can be caused by other environmental issues such as moving to a new home or moving in with a new family. There could be a death in the family or the arrival of a new baby.
Your dog may have spent some time away from you, for example in a boarding kennel or at the vet office for overnight observation. There can be so many different triggers to separation anxiety.
It can be caused by a change in routine, such as you getting a new job and different shift work. Your dog will be used to you going to work at a specific time and seeing you come home at another normal time. If that changes drastically, it can affect him.
Certain dog breeds are also more susceptible to feeling anxiety and distress. There are just so many possibilities.
My Dog Has Separation Anxiety, What Now?
If you’re wondering how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs, punishing your dog is not the answer. It doesn’t get to the root of the problem. If you punish your pet, it only causes the problem to get worse. Fortunately though there are other methods to help you deal with this issue.
You can let others know that your pet has dog confinement anxiety by putting a bandana or harness on your dog that clearly states “No Dogs” or “Nervous” on it. A yellow ribbon on the leash is another signal to others that they should refrain from interacting with your dog.
A desensitizing process may prove to be beneficial. It starts with your dog being exposed to a weaker version of whatever it is that upsets him or her. It has to be weak enough that your dog can remain calm enough to respond to your commands.
If your dog listens to them and ignores the stimulus, you reward the behavior with a treat. Once your dog becomes used to the stimulus, you increase it and go through the command/reward process again.
Eventually, your dog will learn to not respond to the stimuli and in doing so will receive a treat. It will assist in breaking the cycle of anxiety.
Because anxiety can be a serious issue for your pet, you have to be patient to overcome it.
How To Treat Separation Anxiety In Dogs
Assuming you have taken your dog to the vet to have any underlying medical issues ruled out, the vet also agrees that your dog has separation anxiety. What to do now though?
Here are some steps to follow to help ease your dogs anxiety.
1. Teach Alone Time
You can teach your pooch the value of spending time alone with boundaries.
You can start by teaching him or her to ‘stay’ or ‘wait’ while you go into another room.
Praise your dog or give a treat if your dog remains where you left them when you come back.
A pet camera with 2-way audio (affiliate link) may be another way to go so that your dog can hear your voice when you are not home.
2. Crate Training
Some pets do not suffer from dog confinement anxiety after they have been crate trained. The bonus to crate training is that there will always be a ‘safe’ dog confinement area for your pet to go and relax if something else is causing anxiety. From here you can check the best crate for separation anxiety here.
3. Regular Exercise
When your dog spends time exercising both his body and mind, he should be too tired to worry about where you are when he can’t see you from his bed.
Wearing your dog out before leaving home is a very successful method to use in dealing with separation anxiety.
How To Deal With Separation Anxiety In Dogs Final Words
Separation anxiety can cause other problems if it is not properly identified early and dealt with properly. Hopefully, we have given you some clues to watch out for and some great ideas on how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs.