Ask Away...: Caring For A Dog That Has Separation Anxiety

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Caring For A Dog That Has Separation Anxiety

Did you know that animals can suffer from anxiety, specifically dogs? Just like humans can suffer from anxiety, dogs can too. Separation anxiety is the main form of anxiety seen by dog owners, and it all stems down to dogs feeling unsafe when left alone by their owners. The issue with separation anxiety is that it can cause dogs to act out in all sorts of ways, from chewing the furniture and damaging soft furnishings to barking and howling. Although these kinds of behaviors can simply mean that the dog is in need of additional training, often they are linked to anxiety and other problems.

Separation anxiety is triggered by a dog feeling upset and scared when their owner leaves them. Often the cause of the anxiety is fear that their owner will not be coming back, which causes the dog to become scared and distressed, hence the bad behavior. The key to dealing with separation anxiety effectively is to treat the anxiety itself as well as to train the dog to stop misbehaving when left alone. The question is, how can you go about doing that?

Observe your dog’s anxious behavior

You’ve been told by your neighbors that your dog barks and howls when you’re out and throws themselves at the window as people go by, but you’ve never seen their behavior for yourself. The best way to determine exactly what is going on is to invest in a recording device that will live stream from your home to your smartphone so that you can observe your dog’s behavior. You may hear him barking and whining; you may see him chewing the furniture, you may notice him walking around in an agitated way - there are various symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs.

Take your dog to training classes

Once you’ve determined what your dog does when they are anxious, the next step is to take them to training classes. Even if they have attended training classes before, it’s a good idea to take them again, to see if you can train their bad behaviors out of them. Say, for instance, your dog barks and howls when left home alone, the trainer may be able to recommend toys for preventing this, or they may recommend using a bark collar, like the ones on Training classes may not be able to solve the underlying issue that’s causing the anxiety, but they can help to encourage your dog to behave better.

Be kind, caring and reassuring

When it comes to dealing with your dog’s anxiety, the most important thing is to be kind, caring and reassuring. Don’t tell them off for acting up or punish them, show them that you care about them and are there to support them. For ideas of ways to do that, resources like can be useful. The fact is that one of the best ways that you can deal with separation anxiety in a dog is to take things one step at a time, moving slowly to help make dealing with being left alone easier for your dog. Aim to leave them for short intervals first to help them adjust to being left alone, and then begin leaving them for slightly longer periods.

Knowing how to help your dog that is suffering from separation anxiety isn’t always easy, but hopefully, by taking note of the tips and advice above, you can help your dog to learn to be comfortable when left alone.

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