Dogs are known to be loyal to their fur parents. However, there are instances when they become too clingy due to their loyalty, resulting in separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious matter because it can significantly affect their health and their relationship with the people they live with.
If you are interested in understanding how separation anxiety manifests in dogs, you are on the right page. Continue reading below for more valuable information.
How Separation Anxiety Manifest in Dogs
One manifestation of the behavioral impact is separation anxiety in dogs. Separation anxiety is triggered whenever the dogs perceive that their owners are leaving based on how they act.
Dogs who experience this anxiety tend to act around whenever their owners are not around them. They may behave differently, like destroying stuff and showing distress. Your neighbors may hear noise caused by your dog from your house whenever you’re gone.
These are the possible causes of separation anxiety:
- Change of family/owner
- Change of household member/s
- Change of house/residence
- Change in routine
- Change in socialization
In a current situation where people are returning to work, pets can experience separation anxiety because people have mostly been stuck in their homes due to the quarantine. With this, it is important to be aware and know what to expect whenever this happens.
Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Most signs of separation anxiety in dogs are manifested whenever the owners are about to leave. It is important to remember that these destructive behaviors are beyond the dog’s control:
- Destroying and chewing stuff
- Barking and whimpering
- Pacing and drooling
- Indoor accidents
- Harming self like scratching the skin
- Peeing and defecating
In addition, dogs may urinate or defecate around the house whenever their owners are not around the house. However, if they do this even if the owners are around, then separation anxiety may not be the cause.
Although indicators of anxiety, some of these signs might signify something else. Leaving your dog indoors for too long might cause them to pee or defecate inside because they could no longer hold it in. Chewing and pacing might be a result of boredom and lack of exercise. It is advisable to install indoor cameras to check what really triggers these behaviors.
How to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety puts so much stress on dogs. It may affect them long-term and result in hurting themselves. This is why it’s important for the owners to know how to help dogs with separation anxiety.
In order to do so, we should understand that dogs don’t act around by choice whenever they’re stressed. Punishing them for destroying stuff or causing disturbance can possibly worsen their stress. As dog owners, you should be aware of these approaches in order to help your dog with separation anxiety:
A Safe and Comfortable Place
Your dog should be able to go to a space where he/she would feel comfortable and at ease whenever he/she is alone. Pick a spot in your house and train your dog in settling in this space.
As an example, you can teach your dog to go to the living room sofa. Whenever your dog is on the sofa, you can give him/her distinct special attention. This would allow your dog to associate that affection with being on the sofa. It would let her feel that he/she is secured on that sofa.
Using a crate is also an effective method. You can leave treats and toys in his/her crate. Chewing and interactive toys can keep your dog entertained while alone. This lets your dog know that it is a safe place that he/she can stay when alone.
Daily training can help your dog build self-confidence. Teach your dog basic tricks and commands like sit and roll-over and give a reward whenever successful. Receiving rewards would help your dog gain self-confidence.
In addition, letting your dog socialize with other animals will also help their self-confidence.
This training is recommended for dogs who constantly follow their owners. The approach here is to break this routine to stop your dog from getting used to it. Training your dog to be independent should be gradual.
You can have your dog stay in a spot through commands with a treat and slowly back away. You can do this multiple times as you add more distance between you and your dog. If your dog starts getting upset, then move a little closer to him/her until he/she stops being anxious. Resist yourself from petting your dog during this training because this may reinforce the anxiety.
Proper Habits During Departure
If your dog experiences separation anxiety, keep the goodbye greetings short. Prolonging these would feed into your dog’s anxiety.
Suppose you have a routine before leaving the house; you may do that even if you’re not leaving. In this case, this would allow your dog to get used to this routine and will get less anxious as time passes by.
As an example, if you pick up the keys, put on shoes, and check yourself in front of the mirror before you leave, do these on repetition even if you’re not leaving.
Tiring out your dog before you leave can help minimize the fuss they make. If they are tired from physical activities, then your dog would likely settle down and take a rest and not notice that you have left.
Dealing with the separation anxiety of your dog can be pretty challenging. However, you must recognize its signs so that you can do something immediately.
Once you have assessed that your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, you can deal with it accordingly. You can make use of the different approaches mentioned above. They are easy to follow, and they are also effective as long as you are consistent.
Dogs are naturally loving and loyal, but there should be a perfect balance to avoid separation anxiety.