Many pet parents are uncomfortable with leaving the house without their furry friends, and this is normal because of the bond between them. In the same vein, it’s not uncommon for dogs to miss their human bestie and want you to come home as soon as possible. However, not all dogs handle separation from their owner well, and this could cause problems for your couch, shoes, tables and so on.
Separation anxiety is a disorder in dogs that makes them nervous and super-stressed when left alone by the people they’re attached to. As soon as their owner leaves, these dogs become extremely anxious and show distressed signals like excessive barking, home soiling, and destructive behaviors.
What are the signs of separation anxiety?
If you’re a new dog owner, keep an eye out for the following signs of separation anxiety in your doggy pal:
- Excessive howling or barking
- Home soiling
- Indoor accidents
- Frantic panting
- Repetitive pacing
- Clingy behavior
- Chewing up things
- Trying to escape
What dog breeds have the worst separation anxiety?
Although separation anxiety is a condition common to all dogs, they are usually more common in some breeds than others. Dog breeds with lots of separation anxiety include Labrador Retriever, Border Collie, German Shepherd, Jack Russel Terrier, Australian Shepherd, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bichon Frise, and German Shorthaired Pointer.
How to help dogs with separation anxiety
You don’t need a medical professional to help treat your pet’s anxiety as you can do it yourself using the following tips:
1. Train your dog to be alone
Most dogs with separation anxiety are just not used to staying alone; so one of the first things you must do is to help him adjust to loneliness in the house. The most effective solution is to have your dog stay in a room alone while you go to a different part of the house. Once the dog can stay in the room without you, things can go better.
2. Change your ‘going away’ signals
Chances are good that your pet knows your ‘going away’ signals and will become anxious whenever he senses it. Instead of putting on your coat, taking your keys and dashing for the door, you can leave your keys in another direction and use a different door. You can even do all of these and then sit on a chair for 15-20 minutes so your dog can start disassociating these actions from your departure.
3. Avoid cuddly goodbyes
There’s no better way to trigger your pooch’s separation anxiety than getting emotional when you’re leaving and showing too much excitement when you return. By doing this, you’re reinforcing your pet’s fear of your absence, and this may worsen the issue.
4. Exercise your dog before departure
As you might know, a tired dog is a calm, focused and well-behaved dog. The goal here is to tire your dog out so he will relax and divert his attention to food and sleep. Try scheduling some exercises at least 30 minutes before your departure to burn off your dog’s energy.
5. Relax with music
Some dog owners think any sound might trigger their dogs in their absence, but this is not always true. Playing some background music to help calm your dog’s nerves is one of the most common solutions worldwide, and it might be helpful in treating your dog’s separation anxiety.
Finally, although separation anxiety is a disorder that makes them nervous and super-stressed when left alone, using the steps listed above can help reduce this form of anxiety radically.