What is Separation Anxiety

 

Separation Anxiety

 

Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit behavior problems when they’re

left alone. Typically, they’ll have a dramatic anxiety response within a

short time (20–45 minutes) after their owners leave them. The most

common of these behaviors are:

 

Digging, chewing, and scratching at doors or windows in an attempt to

escape and reunite with their owners.

 

Howling, barking, and crying in an attempt to get their owners to return.

 

Urination and defecation (even with housetrained dogs) as a result of

distress.

 

Why Do Dogs Suffer from Separation Anxiety?

 

We don’t fully understand why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety

and, under similar circumstances, others don’t. It’s important to realize,

however, that the destruction and house soiling that often occur with

separation anxiety are not the dog’s attempt to punish or seek revenge

on his owner for leaving him alone. In reality, they are part of a panic

response.

 

Separation Anxiety Sometimes Occurs:

 

When a dog accustomed to constant human companionship is left

alone for the first time.

 

Following a long interval, such as a vacation, during which the owner

and dog are constantly together.

 

After a traumatic event (from the dog’s point of view), such as a period

of time spent at a shelter or boarding kennel.

 

After a change in the family’s routine or structure (such as a child

leaving for college, a change in work schedule, a move to a new

home, or a new pet or person in the home)

 

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Separation Anxiety?

 

Because there are many reasons for the behaviors associated with

separation anxiety, it’s essential to correctly diagnose the reason for

the behavior before proceeding with treatment. If most, or all, of the

following statements are true about your dog, he may have a separation

anxiety problem:

 

The behavior occurs exclusively or primarily when he’s left alone.

 

He follows you from room to room whenever you’re home.

 

He displays effusive, frantic greeting behaviors.

 

The behavior always occurs when he’s left alone, whether for a short or

long period of time.

 

He reacts with excitement, depression, or anxiety to your preparations

to leave the house.

 

He dislikes spending time outdoors by himself.

 

 

 

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