How to Help a Dog with Separation Anxiety

Most people get a dog with the expectation that it will be a family member and companion. Some dog owners aren’t prepared to deal with some of the more complex behaviors that come with a new dog. One issue that some dogs face is that they don’t want to be away from their owners.

Separation anxiety can quickly turn into a challenging situation. It’s important that all dog owners find out how to address this matter so they can take care of it before it gets out of hand.

What Are the Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Dogs can display a variety of signs that they’re experiencing separation anxiety. These often manifest as behavioral issues. These include things like eating feces, ignoring food and greeting you with a lot of energy when you get home. Some of those symptoms of separation anxiety don’t bother owners much, but some dogs that have separation anxiety will become destructive. This can include trying to dig within the home, scratching at furniture or chewing things.

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

There are many factors that can cause separation anxiety in dogs. These can vary considerably from one case to the next. People tend to think that it only happens because the dog misses their humans. This is far from the only reason.

Dogs need to have confidence in themselves and their humans. When either of those are faltering, there’s a greater chance that severe separation anxiety will occur. Changes in patterns that the dog is accustomed to can lead to this. Moving to a new home, not having proper training, the loss of another pet and boredom are also causes of separation anxiety in dogs.

One of the most important things that pet parents can do to help their furry family members deal with separation anxiety is determine the underlying cause of the dog’s behavior. This isn’t always easy, but looking at how things have changed for the dog recently might give you a clue if your dog is exhibiting the problematic signs of separation anxiety.

How to Help a Dog with Separation Anxiety

When you’re trying to figure out how to help a dog with separation anxiety, you have to figure out what’s triggering the behavior. This might be a challenge, but you can narrow things down by paying attention to what sets the dog off. You can try these tips to see if they help alleviate the behaviors.

  • Consider another companion pet: Many dogs enjoy the companionship of another dog. Having a buddy can alleviate any anxiety when you’re away simply because they have their own best friend to enjoy the day with.
  • Try to downplay the greetings: If you have a habit of making a big deal out of the goodbyes, the dog might get nervous. When it’s getting attention for being hyper when greeting you, it will take that as a sign that it should continue the behavior.
  • Exercise your dog before you leave: This might help the dog exert the energy it needs to become destructive. Going for a walk with your dog can also help reinforce the trust between you and the dog. Consider going to a dog park if you can. This can give your dog exercise as well as socialization with other dogs, which can boost confidence for your dog.
  • Work your way up to longer periods of time: Try leaving the dog alone for a few seconds or minutes at a time. Slowly increase that amount of time until they’re comfortable being without you for the normal time you’ll be gone on a regular basis.
  • Give your dog its own space: This gives it a place where it can feel secure. You can try using calming treats in that area to help it remain calm.
  • Turn on the music: Having noise in the background may help the dog to feel better when you’re gone.
  • Leave comfort items around the house: This might be a shirt that has your scent or a favorite (safe) chew toy. Consider adding toys, such as puzzle toys, that provide mental stimulation.
  • Consider taking your dog to doggie daycare: This might help it to remain enriched so it doesn’t have time for destructive chewing and other behavior problems. Some doggy daycares might even have programs to train your dog while you’re gone. This might help with treating separation anxiety. Be sure you’re prepared to reinforce these skills at home.

Additionally, it might be helpful to call in a dog trainer to help you figure out how to help your dog. A professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist can talk to you and give you suggestions that are targeted to your dog. They may be able to help you through individual training sessions with the dog. If you do this, be sure you keep up with the suggestions they offer. Some of the training points are cumulative, so the dog will only respond to them if you keep them up.

Contact Us with Questions

When you adopt a puppy from us, our communication doesn’t stop when you bring your new family member home. At Puppies St. Pete, we have years of experience and are happy to help you to support your puppy. You can contact us at 727-216-6110 if you have concerns about what’s going on with your puppy. We want you and your new furry family member to be as happy as possible.

2024-05-22T14:36:07-04:00January 21st, 2024|

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