Monday, November 28, 2022

Do Dogs Have Separation Anxiety

Don't Miss

What Causes Separation Anxiety In Puppies And Dogs

Why Does My Dog Have Separation Anxiety? | Cesar 911

Its unclear why some puppies are more prone to separation anxiety than others. McConnell theorizes there may be several reasons, including never previously being left alone and traumatic separation, such as would be seen in some abandoned shelter dogs. Even a single traumatic event in the owners absence, like the house being robbed, can lead to SA. Finally, she suggests that personality can play a role, with clingy dogs perhaps being more at risk than independent ones.

Other triggers to watch for involve life changes like a sudden switch in schedule, a move to a new house, or the sudden absence of a family member, whether its a divorce, a death in the family, or a child leaving for college. Recent research has even pointed to a lack of daily exercise as a possible cause. Because there are so many potential triggers for SA, its essential to work on prevention and start treatment at the first sign.

What Should Be Done Before Departures

Before any lengthy departure, provide a vigorous session of play and exercise. This not only helps to reduce some of your dogâs energy and tire her out, but also provides a period of attention. A training session can also be a productive way to further interact and âworkâ with your dog. For the final 15 to 30 minutes before departure, your dog should be ignored. It would be best if your dog were taken to her rest and relaxation area with a radio, TV, or video playing . You can then prepare for departure while your dog is out of sight and earshot. At this point, provide your dog with some new motivating toys to keep her occupied and distracted before and during your departure. The key is to avoid as many of the departure cues as possible, so that your dogâs anxiety doesnât heighten before you leave. Brushing teeth, changing into work clothes, or collecting keys, purse, briefcase or school books, are all routines that might be able to be performed out of sight of the dog. You might also consider changing clothes at work, preparing and packing a lunch the night before, or even leaving the car at a neighbor’s so your dog wouldn’t hear the car pulling out of the driveway.

“Avoid saying goodbye since this will only serve to bring attention to the departure.”

Desensitize To Actual Departures

Once the dog has responded well to simulated departures and changes in departure cues, owners can begin working on desensitization to actual departures.

  • At first, departures should be brief and the owner should not leave. The door can be approached, touched, opened slightly, and closed. The duration of departure should be determined by videotape. For example, if the owner leaves for 5 minutes but the dog is calm for only 3 minutes, 5 minutes is too long and the time should be shortened.
  • Depending on the dogs tolerance, the first actual departure may last from a few seconds to a few minutes the length of each subsequent departure should be gradually but randomly increased by a few minutes.
  • It is important to realize that breaks in the dogs calm behaviorrising, approaching the door anxiously, vocalizing, and/or acting nervousindicate the desensitization session has moved along too quickly end the session after a few successful but shorter departures.
  • In subsequent sessions, the dog should participate in less challenging exercises that it can successfully tolerate.

If desensitization-to-departure techniques are performed too soon or without regard for the dogs reactions, they can backfire by sensitizing the dog and increasing its distress.

Recommended Reading: Does Dehydration Cause Anxiety

Frisco Road Trip Puzzle Dog Toy

Sullivan sees puzzle-type toys as a boon for bored pup at home alone. We think an adorable suitcase stuffed with crinkly, squeaky clothes fits the bill. Your dog will have a ball getting each piece of their vacation wardrobe out of the hole. Its big enough to be frustration-free yet small enough to be a bit of a challenge.

Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety

Why Do Rescue Dogs Have Separation Anxiety?

There are many forms in which separation anxiety is exhibited. It is vital for the owner to ensure that the dog that suffers from the separation anxiety never does anything harmful on purpose or avenges, even though this is what most owners think unfortunately.

Destroying house equipment

Dogs most commonly destroy things that are connected to the person who they are close to beds, couches, books, bags, shoes, clothes or kitchen items. They often destroy walls and floors around windows and doors by intense pawing and scratching.

Attempts to escape

The dog is relentlessly trying to escape, so it keeps scratching and biting the door and window frames. It can also try to dig under the fence or gnaw through a wire fence. The dog chews and bends bars of the crate, jumps or climbs over tall fences and walls or tries to jump through a closed window. There is a high risk of serious injuries occurring in the course of these desperate acts.

Barking and howling

It mostly begins immediately after the dog is convinced that the owner has left. A door closing or a departing car work as signals. With small pauses for listening whether the owner is coming back, the dog is able to bark and howl for many hours. It is not unusual for the dog to do it the entire time the owner is not at home.

The dog does not do this to spite you, as many angry dog owners claim it is simply an involuntary reaction of the dog’s body triggered by the fear.

Impulsive excretion
Strong salivation

Recommended Reading: What Pristiq Is Used For

Comfort Place And Attention

Your dog needs to have a place to go when you leave where she feels safe and secure. Start teaching her a go to your bed command and praise and reward her when she does. Give her lots of attention and love when she is lying in her bed. In fact, you should make this the only place where she gets this kind of attention . She will soon find it very reassuring to be in her bed.

Resist giving your dog attention whenever she demands it. Ignore her when she comes to you and nudges your hand to be petted. Give her attention on your terms, not hers.

Keep Comings And Goings Uneventful

Many owners lavish their dogs with affection and attention right before you leave home and immediately when you walk in the door. Unfortunately, this can contribute to your dog’s anxiety. To prevent this, the best thing you can do is to ignore your dog before you leave and for several minutes after your return. This is your way of demonstrating to your dog that your comings and goings are really no big deal.

Teach your dog that calm and patient behavior is rewarded. This means attention comes when they are settled and relaxed. If a dog engages in quiet behavior on its own it should be rewarded with attention or a treat.

For mild to moderate cases of separation anxiety, these small changes may be enough to reduce your dog’s anxiety. In more severe cases, you will need to do some extra work.

Read Also: Phobia Def

Why Do Some Dogs Develop Separation Anxiety

There is no conclusive evidence showing exactly why dogs develop separation anxiety. However, because far more dogs who have been adopted from shelters have this behavior problem than those kept by a single family since puppyhood, it is believed that loss of an important person or group of people in a dogs life can lead to separation anxiety. Other less dramatic changes can also trigger the disorder. The following is a list of situations that have been associated with development of separation anxiety.

Change of Guardian or FamilyBeing abandoned, surrendered to a shelter or given to a new guardian or family can trigger the development of separation anxiety.

Change in ScheduleAn abrupt change in schedule in terms of when or how long a dog is left alone can trigger the development of separation anxiety. For example, if a dogs guardian works from home and spends all day with his dog but then gets a new job that requires him to leave his dog alone for six or more hours at a time, the dog might develop separation anxiety because of that change.

Change in ResidenceMoving to a new residence can trigger the development of separation anxiety.

Change in Household MembershipThe sudden absence of a resident family member, either due to death or moving away, can trigger the development of separation anxiety.

Is That Different With A Puppy

Does your dog have separation anxiety? – New Day NW

Whenever you have a new puppy, it is a good idea to get them used to short periods of time on their own from a young age. This can only be to leave them in a separate room and with toys to encourage self-entertainment. Dont forget to reward them when they do this well and be patient when they dont. It will take time.

If you do crate training then practice the same with a reward if they get it right this will encourage repetitive behavior. In addition to rewards, it is important to be calm and consistent in your approach.

Gradually build up the amount of time your pup is left alone, rather than immediately having long periods of leaving the house. How you manage to do this in your puppys first few months is key to developing a healthy, happy dog that can get along without you all the time.

Read Also: Pristiq Anxiety Worse

Give Your Dog A Safe Comfortable Space Of Their Own

Make sure you leave your dog in a safe area of the house so if they do try to chew or destroy anything they cant be injured. Make sure its the right temperature and they have a safe comfortable bed to relax in.

Some dogs will happily use a dog flap to get out into a secure garden if they need the toilet. If a dog flap isnt suitable for your home, someone will need to come and let them out regularly so they can have a toilet break.

When I Need To Leave What Can I Do Immediately To Prevent Damage

This is an extremely difficult question. The goal of treatment is to reduce your dogâs level of anxiety by training her to feel comfortable in your absence. This can be a long process.

“Most owners will need to deal with the damage or vocalization immediately.”

Yet, most owners will need to deal with the damage or vocalization immediately. During initial retraining it may be best to hire a dog sitter, take your dog to work, find a friend to care for your dog for the day, board her for the day, or arrange to take some time off from work during retraining. Crate training or dog proofing techniques may work for those dogs that already have an area where they are used to being confined. For dogs with separation anxiety, crates should be used with caution because they can promote intense escape attempts and may result in fairly serious injuries. It is important to choose a room or area that does not further increase your dog’s anxiety. Your dog’s bedroom or feeding area may therefore be most practical. Booby traps might also be used to keep the dog away from potential problem areas. For vocalization, anti-anxiety drugs and pheromones may also be useful for short-term use, until the owner has effectively corrected the problem.

Also Check: What Is The Fear Of Darkness Called

Understanding Canine Separation Anxiety

Canine separation anxiety, or CSA, is a very real issue plaguing many dogs throughout the world. CSA is rearing its ugly head more and more these days as dog parents leave their furry companions behind to go back to work for the first time in months.

For years, canine separation anxiety was mistaken for bad behavior in otherwise well-behaved dogs. Ripped furniture, urination, defecation and obnoxious behaviors greeted many dog owners returning home from work. Some of these pet parents immediately assumed their dogs were mad at them for leaving and that is why they were behaving negatively.

Since many of us have a tendency to humanize our dogs, its normal to feel this way. However, you should know this is not the case at all. As we learn more about our canine counterparts, we have discovered that dog psychology is a bit less complicated than our own. In fact, dogs dont hold grudges, are not vindictive or vengeful, and arent out to punish us when we leave them for extended periods of time.

Instead, dogs who exhibit undesirable or negative behaviors upon being left alone are more likely suffering for canine separation anxiety.

Canine separation anxiety is exactly what it sounds like: it is stress, worry, and fear that settles into your dog once you leave. Any dog can suffer from separation anxiety whether youve had that dog from puppyhood and trained them vigorously or whether youve rescued a dog who spent the first few years of his life on the streets.

How To Handle A More Severe Problem

Does My Dog Have Separation Anxiety?

Use the techniques outlined above along with desensitization training. Teach your dog the sit-stay and down-stay commands using positive reinforcement. This training will help them learn that they can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another room.

Exercise and mental stimulation are critical to reducing anxiety and stress. Be sure your dog receives adequate exercise before you leave. Walking the same city block each day wont reduce anxiety, but sniffing and exploring new places will.

Create a “safe place” to limit your dog’s ability to be destructive while youre away. A safe place should:

  • Confine the dog loosely .
  • Contain busy toys for distraction.
  • Have dirty laundry to lend a calming scent cue or other safety cues.

Don’t Miss: What Is The Phobia Of Bees

Common Symptoms Of Dog Separation Anxiety

If you treat your pet well, he or she should never develop anxiety. Separation anxiety is a fear of being abandoned, and enough stimuli can reduce it. The 23 dog breeds on this list are a testament to this fact. However, if you fail to properly care for your dog, he or she may still develop anxiety.

Separation anxiety in dogs affects how they react to you. For instance, your pet may learn and show stress during your daily schedule. Your pet may pick on your pre-departure clues such as putting on certain clothing or packing a briefcase and start whining.

Anxious dogs may also:

  • Bark and howl until you return
  • Lose their appetite
  • Destroy furniture, walls, and small household items
  • Develop urinary and bowel problems including diarrhea
  • Excessively drool
  • Try to escape their confinement

The Most Common Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety In Dogs

Before you diagnose your dog with separation anxiety, take a moment to assess his behavior so you can be sure you are in fact dealing with separation anxiety. Treating canine separation anxiety and helping your dog cope with it will only work if the anxiety is directly related to actually being left alone.

Some of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include:

Whining, Barking, Howling and Pacing

This can occur just before you get ready to go and continue on after you leave the house. Dogs are experts at reading our behaviors and picking up on patterns, and most of us have routines we follow before we leave the house.

For example, many of us wake up to an alarm, take a shower, pick out an outfit and make a coffee before we leave in the mornings. If your dog has separation anxiety, this anxiety can begin creeping in from the moment your alarm goes off.

As you go about your schedule and prepare to leave, your dog is anticipating being left alone. If he has negative feelings about what is to come once you head out the door, chances are your routine actions of getting ready to leave are triggering some anxious feelings before you even grab the car keys.

Destructive Behaviors That Only Occur After You Leave

Some dogs can be destructive out of boredom, and this can occur whether or not you are home. But for dogs who are anxious and dont do well with being left home alone, this behavior will only happen within 20 minutes of your departure.

Escape Attempts

Don’t Miss: Phobia Of Throw Up

My Dog Starts To Get Anxious Even Before I Leave What Can I Do

There are a number of activities that we do consistently prior to each departure. The dog soon learns to identify that these cues or signals mean imminent departure. On the other hand, some dogs learn that other signals indicate that you are not planning to depart and therefore can help the dog to relax. If you can prevent your dog from observing any of these anxiety inducing pre-departure cues, or if you can train your dog that these cues are no longer predictive of departure, then the anxiety is greatly reduced. Even with the best of efforts, some dogs will still pick up on “cues” that the owner is about to depart. Train your dog to associate these cues with enjoyable, relaxing situations rather than the anxiety of impending departure. By exposing your dog to these cues while you remain at home and your dog is relaxed or otherwise occupied, they should no longer predict departure. This entails some retraining while you are home. Get the items that normally signal your departure, and walk to the door. However, do not exit the house. The dog will be watching and possibly get up, but once you put everything away, your dog should lie down. Then, once your dog is calm, this is repeated. Only 3 to 4 repetitions should be done in a day and the dog must be calm and quiet before presenting the cues again. Eventually, your dog will not attend to these cues because they are no longer predictive of you leaving. Then, your dog will be less anxious when you do leave.

More articles

Popular Articles