page contents


How to Help Your Dog with Separation Anxiety

One of the more frequently experienced issues that puppy owners, or owners of newly-acquired older dogs, experience is separation anxiety. At the very least, animal separation anxiety can be frustrating, prompting your puppy or dog to bark and misbehave when you leave your house. If the behavior is allowed to develop, they may begin making messes, destroying your furniture, or barking non-stop for hours whenever you leave. It’s important that this behavior is addressed as soon as you begin to notice it.

The Sources of Separation Anxiety
Inherently, dogs are pack animals. They experience a direct attachment with their owners, and when you leave the house, they’ll become agitated. A large part of the anxiety they’re experiencing is a result of their attachment to certain actions that you take while you’re present, and that they crave while you’re absent.

The feelings of anxiety occur when the animal receives attention prior to you leaving the house, followed by the abrupt absence of that attention when you leave them alone for an extended period of time. Very quickly they begin to associate your preparations to leave the house with the inevitable loneliness they experience when you’re gone, and it doesn’t take long for your dog to develop a behavior pattern, such as shredding things, barking incessantly, or going potty on the floor, to cope with feelings of anxiety when you leave.

Reducing Puppy Separation Anxiety
Their are several ways to reduce the anxiety your pet suffers when you leave your home. Some of the easiest methods are:

  • Alter your routine. If your puppy begins acting out the moment your alarm clock sounds (this is due to them associating this particular sound with the thought of you leaving the house), change your routine in the mornings. Get out of bed at different times, get dressed earlier, and have your keys with you a long before you leave the house. Simple changes in behavior like this will reduce pre-leaving anxiety.
  • Don’t reinforce negtive behavior. Whenever you lavish your pet with attention just as you are leaving, or smother them with affection when arriving home, you’re only reinforcing their behavior. The simplest strategy to minimize separation anxiety is to eliminate the behavioral connection of you leaving and arriving, and the attention they receive before and after these activities. Ignore your puppy for ten to fifteen minutes once you get home, don’t pet them whenever you leave and quit giving in once they make sad noises. It’s best to practice this method with crate training, or in a separate area within your home, then coming and going back in intervals.
  • Build up to longer periods away. If your dog displays anxious behavior the moment you leave the house, begin by only leaving for short periods of time, maybe starting out with a few seconds, then a few minutes, then half an hour, and slowly build up your time away. Separation anxiety can be treated by changing the puppy’s expectations of how long you will be gone, and when you’ll return. When they see your returning each time, you’ll be able to extend how long your able to be away.

You Are Not Being Mean
Some people feel that the techniques to stop anxiety in puppies is insensitive. The reality is that you’re actually allowing your puppy to relax and recognize that you’re not just returning home, but that you’re also in control of the house. As a result, they have no reason to feel anxiety. Reducing your pet’s anxiety is good for their health – both physically and mentally.

If your puppy has continuous, distressing problems surrounding its anxiety, it’s vital to deal with it straight away. Even if your puppy simply gets upset, rather than destroying everything when you leave, you can significantly minimize their feelings of loneliness if you help them to learn not to relate your leaving and returning with the pack order and their survival.

Pet separation anxiety is a serious problem. If not dealt with right away it can lead to aggression and trust issues later in life. Watch the video below to learn more about puppy or dog separation anxiety:

Please share this post

Tags: , ,