It is normal for dogs to get excited when their owners come home. However, some dogs carry on or act out when they are left home alone. If this sounds like your four-legged friend, it is possible your dog has separation anxiety. It is a very real problem for many pet owners and can be difficult to deal with. Separation anxiety is an intense fear of being away from someone or something they are attached to, in this case, their owner. Symptoms of dog separation anxiety can range from mild to severe, but all dog owners should know the signs and how to alleviate it before behavior issues arise.
What Causes Separation Anxiety?
There are a few common reasons for a dog to experience separation anxiety. Lack of socialization when dogs are puppies is often a factor. If they aren’t exposed to different people, places, and experiences, dogs become overly dependent on their owners. Separation anxiety can also be the result of a traumatic experience. This cause of anxiety is more common in dogs who have been rehomed, abandoned in a shelter, or boarded in a kennel during their owner’s vacation. However, a simple thing like a change in routine could disorient them and result in anxiety.
Signs Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety
The most common signs of dog separation anxiety are destructive behaviors like chewing or clawing furniture or carpeting, pacing around the house aimlessly, excessive barking, and whining when left alone. A dog that is experiencing separation anxiety may also pace incessantly or relieve itself in the house while their owners are not home. Dogs can also have difficulty settling down at night if they’re feeling anxious. Some dogs may even attempt to escape their crates in an effort to find their owners.
How to Deal With Separation Anxiety
If your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviors it’s important to take action quickly so the issue doesn’t escalate. One of the best ways to help with dog separation anxiety is to create a calming environment for your dog when you are away. This means making sure they have plenty of toys and treats that will keep them occupied, leaving on some background noise such as soft music or white noise, and ensuring they have comfortable bedding in their designated area. Taking your dog on regular walks can also be helpful as it gives them an opportunity to get out their energy before being left alone.
You can also help to decrease your dog’s anxiety about being left alone by gradually increasing periods of time away from home so that they get used to it over time. A good way to do this is to start small by going outside for a few minutes and then gradually increasing the length of time. This can be done in combination with treats so that your dog has something positive to look forward to when you are gone.
Finally, it is important to remain consistent in your dog’s training routine, as this will help them know what is expected of them. Be sure to give your dog lots of praise and rewards when they show good behavior while you are away so they don’t associate being left alone with negative feelings. With patience and consistency, dog separation anxiety can be managed effectively.
Does Your Dog Have Separation Anxiety?
If you think your dog has separation anxiety, these tips can help your furry friend feel safe and secure even when you’re not around. It’s important to recognize the signs early on so you can take steps to address them. If you have had little success trying to resolve the issue on your own, it’s time to ask for help.
Beau’s K9 Academy is here to help you properly train your puppy, adult dog, or rescue. We offer dog training services like behavior modification, in-home training, puppy training, and even advanced search and rescue training. Contact Beau’s K9 Academy today.