ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Effectively Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Updated on January 1, 2016
Puppyluv profile image

Serena has been working as a veterinary technician and receptionist for over 15 years.

Separation Anxiety

Many dogs end up in shelters each year because their owners can't deal with separation anxiety issues. A dog with separation anxiety will display unwanted behaviors when the owner leaves the home. These behaviors may include barking, scratching, chewing, howling and inappropriate elimination. If you're an owner experiencing a dog with this behavior, I have a few tips to help you help your dog overcome it's anxiety issues.

What is Separation Anxiety?

Your dog may have separation anxiety if you come home to find items destroyed, scratch marks on the door, urine or feces on the carpet and the neighbors are complaining about the howling and barking. Your dog will show signs of anxiety as soon as you put on your jacket or pick up the keys to leave. You've already tried putting him in a crate while you're not home, but the crate has either been destroyed or your dog has injured himself trying to escape. You've possibly even come home to find urine and feces in the crate and your dog covered in it.


Separation anxiety is a behavioral problem and it's not that uncommon. Many dog owners will make a trip to their veterinarian to find help with this issue. Luckily, there are ways to help your dog cope with the overwhelming anxiety he feels when you leave. Medications are available to help when used in conjunction with behavioral training.

The first step is to help your dog feel "okay" with the fact that you're leaving the house. Start out by putting your coat on or picking up your keys, but not actually going anywhere. This will help desensitize your pet to the "leaving routine." Once he seems to be more comfortable with the fact that the coat goes on or the keys jingle, you're on your way to success. He may even start to ignore those cues.

After he's more comfortable with you picking up your keys, start by leaving the house for very short periods of time. Start out with 15 minutes and slowly build up your trip time. When you arrive home, your dog will probably be overexcited and barking or jumping at you. Ignore him until he calms down. Walk through the door and do your thing. When he's calm, that's the time to praise and pet him.

Eventually you can leave for longer periods of time and come home to a clean house and a calm dog. Remember, this whole process takes time and patience. If used in conjunction with an anxiety reducing medication, you should soon be able to leave the house without worrying about your dog or what you'll arrive home to.

Some tips

  • Purchase a Kong toy or any other toy that makes your dog "work" for a treat. There are many toys out there that the dog needs to push around and work with before a treat is dispensed. Kongs are great and can be filled with his favorite treats or some peanut butter. This helps him keep his mind off of the fact that you've just left.
  • Don't make a big deal out of leaving and coming home. Give him time to calm down before you pay attention to him. Help him understand that leaving isn't bad and coming home isn't so out of the ordinary that he needs to throw a party every time you walk in the door.

Dogs are pack animals and need to be around their owners. This is why separation anxiety is so common in the species. Rather than giving up on your best friend and taking him to a shelter, do your best to help him overcome this behavior. You'll both be happier for it!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)