Dog Breeds, Health, Training & Nutrition

Dealing With Separation Anxiety In Dogs

separation anxiety

You come back home after a long, tiring day at work to a swirling and jumping whirlwind of energy.

You enter your living area just to find out that your little pooch has chewed on your favorite pair of shoes.

And suddenly, you listen to your neighbor telling you that your dog has been driving the whole neighborhood around crazy by persistently barking and howling while you were not home.

Does it sound familiar? Well, if yes, then your dog might be suffering from the problem of separation anxiety.

Dogs usually end up exhibiting destructive behavior when they do not find their guardians around.

And this, of course, happens because they are social animals and find it hard to stay away from any social group (especially their owners) for a more extended period.

If you confront different or destructive behavior of your dog, then it becomes essential for you to understand that he is acting up because he feels anxious when left alone.

And, if you punish him for such behavior, then it might worsen the situation.

You have to understand the fact that his behavior is not under his control, and if you deal with him with love, care, and patience, things might get better.

If you have been suffering due to the disruptive behavior of your dog for a long time now, then do not lose your calm.

This article will guide you through the most effective ways to teach your dog to stay calm while you are not around.

So, without any further ado, let’s roll.

1. Take Your Dog for a Walk

walking with dog

One of the best things you can do is taking your dog for a walk before you leave the house.

You may consider using a dog backpack to make the trail more rigorous for him.

The idea behind taking your dog for a walk is to get him tired and leave him in quiet, resting mode while you are not around.

You may also get your dog involved in various physical and mental exercises to tire him out.

Read more about five indoor dog exercises during winter by clicking on the following link:

2. Low-Key Departures and Arrivals

Dogs with separation anxiety usually make a big deal when they see their guardian leaving the house.

And guardians do the same by paying a lot of attention to their pooch, generally saying, “don’t worry, baby, mommy will be back soon.”

Guardians also do the same (pay excessive attention) when they arrive back home.

When you act in such a way, you make it difficult for your pet to stay back home without you.

Therefore, it is recommended that you do not involve in bidding long goodbyes to your dog before leaving the house or attend them right after you get back.

3. Train Your Dog to Enjoy Time Alone

dog playing with his toys

Consider putting your dog in his crate or in a room and then leave the room for a while, locking the door from outside.

Start doing this for a few seconds, and then slowly increase the time to 15-30 minutes.

Give him a stuffed/chewy toy to play with before you leave the room.

This will eventually help him learn to enjoy time alone when you are not around.

4. Habituate Your Dog to Departure Cues

If your dog starts behaving awkwardly while he gets a cue that you are about to leave the house, start by listing all the things you do before leaving.

Once you get an idea about the things you do, that makes your dog anxious, begin performing the same tasks time and again, without leaving the house.

Consider doing a task at a time, and, till the time your dog no longer reacts to the same. This technique will keep your dog calm when you are getting ready to leave the house.

5. Provide Independence Training to Your Dog

dog in stay command

Dogs with separation anxiety are usually called velcro dogs because they tend to follow their human friends everywhere, all the time. Well, it is crucial to break the bond a bit.

Now, it might sound a bit difficult to do the same, but always remember that you are doing this to help your dog get rid of anxiety.

So, discourage your dog from following you by teaching him down/stay command and letting him stay in another room when you are home.

Let him learn down/stay command and do not get back to him if you see him getting uncomfortable.

Instead, try staying away from him for as long as possible.

Prefer reading: Ultimate guide on how to train a puppy.

Worth Considering

dog sitter

The tips, as mentioned above, might not go well with you at first, but you have to understand that it is essential (both for you and your pooch) to let your dog learn to stay without you.

You may also seek assistance from a dog sitter or leave your dog at doggy-day-care and work on the above-stated tips on weekends or in the evening.

If you can’t seek help from a doggy sitter or leave your dog at day-care, then make sure that you leave your dog in a small area, away from doors and windows, where he can do limited damage while you are away.

Also, we like to hear from you, so if you have a success story about getting your dog through the painful separation anxiety, feel free to share the same in the comment box below.

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