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Dog Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs may be due to improper handling of this same behaviour when the dog was still young.

Dogs with separation anxiety may cry, howl, bark and scratch at the door or windows when they are separated with the owner. Such dogs will be very destructive when left unsupervised in the house.

Older dogs may also display separation anxiety since they may suffer from conditions that make them insecure.

For example, loss of hearing and the need to constantly be with their master who can take care of them. Dogs that are strongly attached to their owners are also likely to display separation anxiety.

Abnormal behaviour on the dog’s part does not necessarily point to separation anxiety. Therefore, before dealing with the problem ensure it is there in the first place. You can start by ruling out other causes of the abnormal behaviour.

The dog learns to recognize and react to cues for leaving the house such as putting on shoes or picking a particular bag. The dog will respond to these cues by starting to whine or following you wherever you go so that they are not left behind. A dog suffering from separation anxiety is also more likely to become injured as they try to free themselves in order to be where you are.

Dealing with separation anxiety is not the easiest thing to do. It requires commitment, time and a lot of patience

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Give the dog a piece of clothing with your scent that will remind them of you. This will help lessen their anxiety while you are away.

Do not make a big deal out of leaving the house

If you remove the cues the dog uses to know you are leaving, then it will be easier for you to leave the house. This ensures that your dog does not have time to think about the fact that you are leaving him alone and thus the dog is less anxious.

Avoid getting into routines such as coming down the stairs, grabbing a plate of breakfast, putting on shoes and picking up your keys. You can change your routine every once in a while.

- For some dogs, it helps to have some other form of company whether it’s another animal or someone else coming to check on them. These people may not be you, but they help ease the dog’s loneliness.

Understand where your dog is coming from

As your dog grows older and some of their senses become weaken they will increasingly depend on you for protection, comfort and a sense of security. Your dog therefore, may be justified to not want to be away from you, you can ease the anxiety of such dogs by placing them in a crate where they will be surrounded and protected from some things that may startle them

- Your dog will no doubt be excited to see you when you come back. They will be standing at the door and the minute you open the door, the dog is all over you. To elevate such bad behaviors, when you first get home do not pay the dog a lot of attention, wait till the dog has had a chance to calm down and then you can go greet him.

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