Monday, April 15, 2024

How To Handle Separation Anxiety In Dogs

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Causes Of Fear And Anxiety In Dogs

Cesar Explains How To Fix Separation Anxiety With Your Dog

The onset of fear or anxiety issues in dogs can be prompted by a variety of things, from puppy socialization issues and age-related health conditions like dementia to traumatic experiences or genetics.

There is no catchall for the roots of these issues, but here are some of the most common causes of anxiety or fear in dogs:

  • Being forced into an unfamiliar and frightening experience

  • Being deprived of social and environmental exposure until 14 weeks of age

  • Phobias and panic: history of not being able to escape or get away from the stimulus causing the phobia and panic, such as being locked in crate

Any illness or painful physical condition increases anxiety and contributes to the development of fears, phobias and anxieties.

Aging changes associated with nervous system changes, as well as infectious disease and toxic conditions may lead to behavioral problems, including fears, phobias and anxieties.

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.

Are There Other Reasons That My Dog May Engage In These Behaviors

Dogs with separation anxiety vocalize, become destructive, or eliminate beginning either as the owners prepare to leave or shortly after departure. Destructive activity is often focused on owner possessions, or at the doors where owners depart or the dog is confined, and most often occurs shortly after departure. The vocalization is due to distress and may therefore consist of howling or whining. If the dog destroys, vocalizes, or eliminates both while the owners are at home and when they are away, other causes should first be considered. Dogs that eliminate when owners are at home may not be completely house trained or may have a medical problem. If the destruction, elimination and vocalization are more likely to arise the longer the owners are away from home, it may be that they are being left alone too long. Barking when the owners are away could be due to the sounds of strangers or other animals on the property. Some dogs will attempt to escape or become extremely anxious when confined, so that destructiveness or house soiling when a dog is locked up in a crate, basement, or laundry room, may be due to confinement or barrier anxiety and associated attempts at escape.

“…make an audiotape or movie clip of the behavior when the dog is alone.”

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Important Things To Consider Before Deciding On A Treatment Plan

Before start thinking aboutcanine separation anxiety treatment,you need to discuss the issue with your vet to rule out the possibility of any medical issues.

Hormone problems, infections, or other types of health conditions can make dogs vulnerable to accidents in the house.; Incomplete housebreaking can be a reason for a dog getting injured.

Certain medications can cause accidents. Other behavior problems to be ruled out are submissive/excitement urination, urine marking, juvenile destruction, incomplete house training, boredom, and excessive howling/barking.

You need to make sure that your dog is experiencing separation anxiety before designing a systematic treatment plan.

If The Problem Is Mild

How To Deal With Separation Anxiety In Dogs
  • Give your dog a special treat each time you leave . Only give them;this treat when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.
  • Make your comings and goings low-key without a lot of greeting. Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home.
  • Leave some recently worn clothes out that smell like you.
  • Consider giving your pet over-the-counter natural calming supplements.


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Exercise Your Dog Before Departure

A tired dog is a calm dog. Exercising at least 30 minutes before departure will relax your dog and divert its attention to food and sleep.

Below is a useful video guide for the best workouts you and your dog can do together:

If you dont have time to go outside, watch this video for tips on how to exercise your dog inside the house:

How To Handle Separation Anxiety In Dogs Calm An Anxious Dog

If your dog is dealing with separation anxiety, we know it can be stressful for everyone, not just the dog!

You wonder if your neighbors are going to complain about the barking. You worry what your dog is going to destroy next and you feel bad shes feeling so anxious.

When a dog has separation anxiety, it generally means she is anxious about being left alone or about being separated from her owners.

A lot of dogs will show mild signs of anxiety such as whining when their owners are gone or refusing to eat. But other dogs will become so anxious they try to break out of their kennels or even start digging at the door. Others will bark and bark all day long.

In this post, well go over what to do if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.

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How To Help A Dog With Separation Anxiety

Its a heartbreaking scene; after a short time away from your house, you return to a dog thats wet from drool, trembling and wide-eyed with fear. Theres a mess by the door, and the TV remote and couch cushions are chewed to bits.

Its clear that youre dealing with more than just canine mischief. This is a case of a dog with separation anxiety, which can cause stress for your pup and for you.

Heres how to help your dog with separation anxiety to ensure their safety and well-being.

Red Flags Of Separation Anxiety

How To Deal With Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

Most dogs will feel anxious the first few times they are left alone, especially if you have adopted them from a shelter. Some breeds of dogs are also more prone to separation anxiety.

In general, dogs that are more affectionate are like French bulldogs, Australian shepherd, Golden retriever, and Labrador Retriever, is more likely to experience separation anxiety.

Independent dog breeds like West Highland Terriers, Akitas, Chow chow, Irish Setters, or Japanese chins are usually calmer when left alone.

Look out for warning signs your dog may have under stress or separation anxiety:

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Engage In Appropriate Exercise Routines Before You Leave

Most dogs can benefit from increased exercise, particularly dogs suffering from a milder form of separation anxiety called separation intolerance.

Working out your dogs brain and body prior to leaving him alone might help him settle during your absence.;

Dogs dealing with mild separation intolerance can benefit from playing challenging games that stimulate their minds prior to being left alone. Finding treats that are hidden in a puzzle toy or playing a scenting game like “find the toy” can help your dog get ready to settle once you leave for the day.

Easy trick training also helps to mentally exhaust dogs. Working on something like “spin” or “high five” is more than just cute and fun; the mental stimulation will leave your dog ready for a rest.

How To Handle A More Severe Problem

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.

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How To Prevent And Manage Separation Anxiety In Dogs

  • The most common signs of separation anxiety are destruction in the home, excessive vocalization, and inappropriate elimination.;
  • Certain circumstances, like changes in schedules, can trigger anxiety in dogs who are predisposed. This is why some experts are concerned that there may be an uptick in separation anxiety among dogs as their owners return to work post-pandemic.
  • A key principle in staving off and managing separation anxiety is establishing a strong relationship with your dog and training them to be independent during the hours you are together.;
  • Create routines and boundaries so your dog experiences low-intensity separation. Crate training is recommended as a preventative measure.;
  • In treating, start small in managing separation, like training your dog to stay in another room while you leave, and then work up to leaving the house.

To live with a dog is to know with certainty that theres someone who never tires of your company. Thats part of the joy of dogstheyre always happy to see you come in the door whether youve been away for an hour or a long workday. But at what point does your dogs desire to be with you turn into a problem?;

While separation anxiety has been widely discussed over the last several decades, its become a hotter topic lately. As a global pandemic has changed our daily living and working habits, many experts and dog owners raise the possibility of a spike in rates of separation anxiety when normal schedules are resumed.;

Exercise is key

Video: Examples Of Dog Separation Anxiety

How To Deal With Separation Anxiety in Dogs  Puppy and ...

Now that weve learned how to help our dogs with separation anxiety, lets watch this video to see how this pup has overcome its lonely and stressful;situation.

In the video, the dog was kenneled and left for about 2 1/2 minutes. This may not seem like a very long time, but for dogs who suffer from severe separation anxiety, it can seem like an eternity. To avoid this during training, start with a very brief period of unkenneled time. The time will vary by pet, but try a detachment session of 5 seconds, see how your dog reacts, and then go from there.

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Behavioural Problems Or Separation Anxiety

Sometimes its can be hard to differentiate between behavioural problems and separation anxiety in dogs, this is due to the similar symptoms. There are some behaviours you need to rule out before you can be sure your dog is suffering with separation anxiety.

  • Puppies and young dogs may be destructive and like to chew. This behaviour tends to happen when their owners are at home as well as away.
  • If your dog is not fully house trained then they may go to the toilet while you are out, as they are scared of being scolded whilst you are there.
  • Sometimes dogs will urinate when they are excited or playing. Normally dogs like this will act submissively by rolling over and exposing their stomachs which will help you identify this issue.
  • Dogs marking their territory may be a reason your dog is urinating inside your home.
  • If your dog is bored this can lead to destructive behaviour as they are looking for mental stimulation. If this is the case they often wont exhibit anxious symptoms.
  • Excessive barking and howling can be triggered by many things. This behaviour occurs when the owner is at home.
  • Some dogs may have accidents in the house due to medical problems, such as hormone imbalances and infections. Alternatively some medications may cause your dog to have a weak bladder. If this is the case you should consult your vet.
  • Ways To Entertain Dogs While Youre Away

    Another way to make dogs feel more comfortable is to leave them with their favorite toys. Some playthings are made for endless hours of fun, including the GoBone, that you can control from your phone.

    You might also try turning on the television or soothing music in the background to calm their nerves and make it seem like youre home. Turn on Animal Planet or a dog-specific YouTube channel as a fun form of entertainment for them.

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    Do You Have A Specific Order

    Apart from dressing up, picking your keys, we are sure you do things in a specific order. Like you first dress up, then eat, then take the car keys and so on.

    Some pet owners feed their dogs right before they leave. This may not be the best option for a dog with separation anxiety. They start associating eating as you leaving the house. Hence they may stop eating altogether or, they may only eat when you are in the house.

    So, the best way to stop this routine induced anxiety is to break it. Instead of feeding them right before you leave, feed them half an hour to an hour prior to leaving. This will help them understand that food does not always mean you are leaving. They can eat safely.

    Another way to break the rule is to purposely challenge each rule you have subconsciously placed for yourself. So instead of taking your bag, your keys and leaving. Take your bag and sit for two minutes. Take your car keys and head back inside and then leave. You can break the routine any way you want but make sure you help them understand that your bag and keys do not always mean you are leaving your house.

    Signs Of Separation Anxiety In Dogs

    Dealing with Dog Separation Anxiety

    Dogs suffering from separation anxiety might learn their persons predeparture cueslike putting on a certain uniform, making lunch or organizing a briefcaseand begin to exhibit stress responses before their person even leaves.

    Once the dog is alone, they might exhibit any or all of the following hallmarks of separation anxiety:

    • Pacing: Dogs that are panicked by their persons departure might be unable to settle down and might resort to walking back and forth repeatedly.

    • Vocalization: Barking and howling are common canine responses to isolation, but dogs with separation anxiety might continue vocalizing the entire time theyre alone.

    • Loss of appetite: Separation anxiety can cause even the most food-motivated dog to ignore treats and bones.

    • Destruction: Many dogs suffering from separation anxiety destroy small household itemslike the remote control or pillowsor resort to large-scale destruction, like tearing through furniture, walls, doors or windows.

    • Elimination: Dogs that are house-trained might have accidents while alone, including diarrhea.

    • Drooling: Some stressed dogs drool excessively and wind up with a soaked chin and chest.

    • Escape: Dogs with severe separation anxiety might be able to escape confinement, which can result in injuries.

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    Create A Routine Give Your Dog A Safe Space

    Reduce your risk of separation anxiety by preparing your dog for home alone. Tire your dog, create a safe space, and use toys and treats.

    During the pandemic, Pet adoption rates have skyrocketed, and now that more and more people are returning to work, some dogs are being left alone for the first time.

    And while some dogs suffer from separation anxiety, many dog owners are more nervous than their dogs because of the separation.

    A survey of more than 2,600 dog owners CertaPet determines the fear rates between humans and their dogs.

    According to the survey, more dog owners believe their dogs will be more anxious, with 47 percent of Americans being scared while 76 percent of their dogs do.

    Further findings:

    • The top 10 states where dog owners have the greatest separation anxiety are Arizona, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, Alabama, Oregon, and Colorado.
    • The top 10 states where dogs have the greatest separation anxiety are Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, Washington, Indiana, and Missouri.
    • 69 percent of Americans would prefer it work from home permanently for your dog Sake.

    Courtesy CertaPet

    What Are The Signs Of Dog Separation Anxiety

    • Barking, whining and howling. Your dog may start vocalizing as soon as they see you gathering your keys and putting on your shoes and it will likely get worse once you leave. While you wont be around to hear their unhappiness, if your neighbors are home, youll probably find out about it pretty quickly.
    • Destruction of the home. Scratched walls and chewed household objects are some of the most obvious ways your dog is telling you theyre not happy youve left the house. This is problematic not only because youll need to replace items or repair the damage, but also because your pup could suffer from injuries like broken teeth and damaged nails.
    • Urinating and defecating. If your dog is usually house-trained but soils the house while youre gone, separation anxiety may be to blame especially if your dog is otherwise physically healthy.
    • Escaping. You can often tell if your dog tried to escape by examining them for broken teeth, scraped paws and damaged nails. Windows and doors will likely have scratches and chew marks as well.
    • Pacing obsessively. Unfortunately, this isnt always an obvious symptom, as many dogs wont start pacing until after their owner leaves. Some may walk in circles, while others may pace back and forth in straight lines.

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    How Does Canine Separation Anxiety Creep In

    in dogs creeps in when it is hyper-attached to the owner. When he is left alone, he gets stressed excessively.

    Its much more than an occasional mournful whimper when you go out or creating some mischief when you are away.

    Several owners easily get fed up with this kind of behavior.

    If you are a true lover of your dog, you can do many things to get rid of this situation.

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