Canine Separation Anxiety
Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
separation anxiety symptoms can manifest in many ways. Often the first
indications is negative types of behaviour from your dog.
These negative behaviors may include:
chewing, and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to escape and
reunite with their owners.
barking, and crying in an attempt to get their owner’s attention and
let them know that they need for them to return.
and defecation in various places in the house; even with housetrained
dog that exhibits these types of behaviors while his master is home, as
well as when they leave, is not suffering from separation anxiety. A
dog with separation anxiety becomes anxious specifically due to
separation from his owner. The negative and destructive behavior that
ensues is a genuine panic response from the anxious dog. A dog with
separation anxiety is not acting out of boredom or lack of training or
exercise, even though plenty of exercise can tire the dog to the point
that he is contented to be less active when the owner is away.
the distinction between a misbehaving dog and a dog stricken with
separation anxiety is very important. It is widely believed by vets and
dog behaviorists that misunderstood separation anxiety is the number
two reason for the euthanization of dogs in America. A dog that is
acting out negatively, for any number of reasons, can be punished and
trained to achieve positive results. A dog acting out due to fear and
anxiety is a different story, and requires a different approach.
owner of a dog with separation anxiety must realize that they can’t
punish away the anxiety that results from separation. The approach and
methods needed to deal with these separate behavioral issues are
exclusive to the issue, making it extremely important to ascertain
whether a dog is suffering separation anxiety or simply behaving badly
when given the opportunity.
separation anxiety: Consider these behaviours:
deciding that a dog does or doesn’t have separation anxiety, consider
these behaviors that are indicative of separation anxiety:
The dog chews on a variety of household items, often focusing
items that smell most like his owner, such as recently worn clothes.
This includes underwear or socks, which may have a stronger owner scent
that other articles of clothing.
The dog only chews these items when his owner is gone. If the
chews on his owner’s possessions even when the owner is around, there
is a different problem.
The dog tries to stay close to or lie on items that smell most of his
owner. This probably explains why an otherwise well-behaved dog
disregards his boundaries and gets on the owner’s sofa or favorite
chair when the owner is away.
The dog, although completely house broken, urinates and/ or defecates
in numerous places in the home.
The dog barks continuously during his owner’s absence; the barking is
not on-off-on-off, but consistent for the duration of his owner’s
absence. You won’t be there to hear it, but your neighbors will
probably let you know about it. Or, if you suspect that this is
happening and don’t have neighbors close enough to hear the dog
barking, you may want to leave a recording device going while you’re
away from home.
The dog always shows these behaviors when left alone, even for short
periods of thirty minutes and under.
The dog is overly excited to greet his owner and remains stressed,
anxious, and clingy for some time after his owner returns.
The otherwise well trained and obedient dog shows no shame or remorse
for destroyed and chewed items.
Destruction begins soon after the owner leaves. You can test this one
by leaving for a few minutes and then coming back home and seeing if
the dog has already started chewing, urinating or defecating, has
already been on the furniture, or engaged in other destructive
The dog cannot be isolated from his owner at any time without
exhibiting negative behavior; even in a different nearby room with the
The dog gets increasingly distressed as his owner indicates that he is
preparing to leave the home. The dog may start following you and
whimpering when you put your shoes or coat on, or grab your purse, or
take the car keys off the key peg.
The dog is constantly following his owner from room to room, demanding
attention. Every time you get out of your seat, the dog will get up and
follow you to wherever you go. If you go into the bathroom and close
the door, he may sit at the door and whine until you come back
The dog dislikes spending time outside alone, and may act like you are
punishing him when you put him outside unless you go outside with him.
the individual behaviors exhibited, if a dog is experiencing any form
of separation anxiety it is very important to investigate the cause as
well as a possible solution to the unwanted actions.
When a dog
with separation anxiety is not redirected to feel secure while alone,
his chances of remaining in a happy and healthy environment are slim.