Puppy Looking Through a Window

7 Tips for Dealing with Dogs Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs can be a serious problem that causes stress to both you and your dog. If left untreated, it can also start to cause serious health problems as some of the destructive habits they develop as a result of separation anxiety can cause real damage to them.

Learning how to properly deal with separation anxiety and treat the root of the problem is the best way to make both your and your dog’s life happier and healthier. Read through our quick guide to get some tips on how to manage the problem.

#1 Recognize the Problem

Some owners will mistake the symptoms of separation anxiety as simply the behavior of a disobedient or uncontrollable dog. It’s important to recognize what you are dealing with so that you can begin working with your dog to treat it.

Dog Destroyed Walls Because of Separation

Treatment of separation anxiety is far more effective than simply punishing your dog every time you come home to a mess or a complete disaster.

The symptoms of separation anxiety include:

  • Urination or defecation. When left alone, some dogs will go to the bathroom in places they know they shouldn’t. If they are doing this while you are home, it is more likely a sign that they still need potty training or lack bladder control but if it is happening while you are away, it could be separation anxiety.
  • Destructive behavior. While you’re away, they may start chewing things they shouldn’t chew or digging and scratching at doors and furniture. They may get into the trash and spread it around or cause other destruction.
  • If your dog barks and howls every time you are leaving and doesn’t seem to be triggered by anything else, it could be a symptom of separation anxiety.
  • Getting out. Some dogs with separation anxiety may try to escape the home or the area they are confined to while you’re away.

#2 Crate Train Your Dog

Effectively crate training your dog is a good way to both teach your dog how to accept being alone sometimes and prevent destructive behavior from causing damage in your home. Make sure you don’t leave him in the crate too long however as this can lead to worse problems.

Shiba Inu Sleeping on a Blanket in a Crate

#3 Mix Up Your Routine

The symptoms will usually start when your dog recognizes the routine you normally do before you leave. If you mix up your routine each day, it will be harder for him to recognize. Exit through different doors. Leave your key and coat in different places. Don’t allow him to follow you everywhere as you go about your activities in the house.

#4 Give Him the Confidence to Be by Himself

Start in small ways to make him more comfortable with being by himself. When you are home, don’t allow him to follow you around all the time. Try to be in separate rooms for some time.

This will allow him to feel more secure because he knows you are still in the house so it will be easier for him to tolerate being by himself.

#5 Obedience Train Your Dog

Obedience training is one of the most important things you can do to make separation anxiety easier to treat. If your dog doesn’t obey basic commands like stay or come, you’ll have a difficult time implementing many of the strategies for dealing with separation anxiety.

Dog Being Praised and Given a Treat

The process of obedience training will also give your dog confidence and assurance because they will know exactly what they can do to please you.

#6 Provide Toys

Toys (especially treat filled toys) are a good way to keep your dog occupied and entertained while he is by himself. The more things he has to keep himself busy while you’re gone, the more he will start to enjoy his alone time. Do what you can to make this time by himself a positive experience rather than something to be nervous about.

#7 Consider Medication

If the problem continues to worsen despite your best efforts, medication may be the right choice. You can talk to your vet about getting a medication that will calm your dog. But this should not be used as a permanent solution. Use medication as a tool to help make training more effective.

Leave a Comment: