Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety

What is Separation Anxiety, and How Do I Fix It?

If you have a loving, trusting, and positive relationship with your dog. He will probably be sad to see you leave the house without him. Just as we miss our family members and friends. It is normal for your pup to miss you when you are gone. Signs of sadness like a  bit of barking and whining. Or watching you from a window as you leave the house are all totally normal dog behavior. Destroying the house, extended periods of whining and barking, and frequent inside accidents are not. If your dog is doing these things, he may be suffering from separation anxiety. Nobody wants their pet to feel stress, or come home to a destroyed home. So it is important to identify and help stop separation anxiety as soon as possible.

Suffering from Separation Anxiety

If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, most of the symptoms will appear after you leave the house. However, sometimes stressful behavior is apparent even while you are with your pup, or preparing to leave the house. If your dog regularly begins whining and barking when you show signs of leaving, he is likely suffering from separation anxiety. A very clingy pup who regularly follows you from room to room, and appears to have trouble staying anywhere alone is also likely suffering from separation anxiety.

At Any Time

Separation anxiety may develop at any time in your dog’s life, and for a variety of reasons. There may not be any specific thing that causes your dog to become anxious in your absence, but common triggers can include major changes to every day life. If someone in the house suddenly is absent or outside of the house for long amounts of time, this could trigger separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is different for all dogs. Some dogs may show their anxiety by having accidents in the house, others may chew things up or destroy furniture in attempting to get out of the house. If your pup appears to suffer from mild anxiety, ignoring him for a couple of minutes when you arrive home may help him to realize that your absence is not such a stressful time.

With Separation Anxiety

Usually there isn’t much of a behavior difference if you are gone for a long or short time. Unfortunately any absence is likely cause your pup to exhibit symptoms of anxiety. Luckily there a several different things you can do to ease your dog’s anxiety symptoms. Try making your pup a “safe place” like an enclosed room with a window. Make the room comfortable for your dog, and leave his toys and something that has your scent on it. This may help to calm him down. You can also distract him with a time consuming toy. Give the toy to him when are you are leaving, and take it away as soon as you return. Doing this consistently will get him to associate your absence with his fun toy, thereby lessening the stress of your absence.

Never Punish

Although it may be frustrating to arrive home to a messy house and a distressed dog, never punish him for his anxiety. Punishing your pup for his anxiety will likely just result in exacerbating the problem. Also refrain from putting a dog with separation anxiety in a crate. This may be a tempting idea to avoid doggy home destruction, but your pup could end up seriously injured by trying to escape the crate. Doing this will also cause your pup to fear his crate, and have anxiety about it even when you are home.

Final Though

In severe cases of separation anxiety it may be a good idea to alert your vet. Especially if you are afraid your dog will hurt himself. However, most cases of separation anxiety do not become that severe. Usually with these tips, some patience and time your pup will be able to control his anxiety.

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