How Does Dog Separation Anxiety Develop?

Dog separation anxiety occurs when your dog overrreacts to being left alone. It causes your dog to misbehave when you leave. Barking, howling, relieving himself in the house, and destroying your property are all some of the ways that your dog might express his separation anxiety.

Signs of Dog Separation Anxiety

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety he will display certain behaviors when you are at home as well as when you are away. He may follow you constantly, refusing to leave your side. He may constantly demand attention by pawing, barking, or nudging you. He may get upset when you leave his sight when you prepare to go out.

While you are out, a dog with separation anxiety may bark, howl, or whine ceaselessly until you return. Your dog may display signs of restlessness while you are away, including circling, pacing, pawing, panting and shaking.

Your dog may express his separation anxiety while you are out by chewing your belongings, furniture and clothing. Your dog may have accidents inside the house while you are away.

Reasons for Dog Separation Anxiety

Dogs are social animals. They must bond with a pack. Many dogs are left alone for long periods of time, especially in animal shelters. A dog that has been left alone for long periods of time begins to develop separation anxiety.

Remember, when you go out, your dog doesn't know when you're coming back. A brief period of time may seem like an eternity to your dog. A dog suffering from separation anxiety wants nothing more than to rejoin his pack. He fears being left alone. This is why dogs with separation anxiety may claw and scratch at doors and windows.

Treating Dog Separation Anxiety

The best way to treat dog separation anxiety is to acclimate your dog to the idea of being alone. Do not reward his clingy behavior; ignore him when he seeks your attention. Instead, give your dog attention only when he isn't asking for it.

Desensitize your dog to upsetting stimuli. If your dog becomes anxious when you prepare to go out, then follow this simple procedure: put on your coat, shoes, etc, as if you were leaving, but then don't go anywhere. Eventually, your dog will cease to feel anxious when he sees you getting ready to go out.

Don't make a big fuss about greeting your dog when you return home. Behave as if returning home were a pefectly ordinary event, and eventually your dog will understand that there is no need to fear that you won't return.