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How To Deal With Dog Separation Anxiety

Updated on September 21, 2014

What Is Dog Separation Anxiety?

You leave and your Dog howls. Not just for a moment, but seemingly forever. When the howling finally abates, it is replaced by a whine.

When you return, you find your home a mess — he has engaged in destructive behavior that is completely out of character.

Dogs love their owners and develop a very close relationship with them.

Sometimes the closeness of that relationship can leave them confused and frightened when the owner is gone. Thy dog may seem confused, angry or sullen when the owner leaves and may appear to "lash out" against being left alone by ruining furniture, creating messes or otherwise acting in ways wholly inconsistent with his training.

Your dog has a real problem: dog separation anxiety.

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Why Do Dogs Have Separation Anxiety?

Dog Separation anxiety is relatively easy to diagnose: an otherwise well-adjusted dog seems to transform into a monster when left alone. Unfortunately, it is not always quite as easy to treat the disorder.

Helping a dog to overcome problems with separation anxiety is a process, just like other aspects of training, it takes time and repetition to be truly successful.

The idea of "training away" separation anxiety seems unlikely-how can you address a behavior when you are not present to see, prevent or correct it? Fortunately, there are actions one can take to decrease dog separation anxiety and to prevent your dog's frustrated behavior from spiraling out of control during your absence.

I'll be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety.
I'll be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety.
Learn all you need to know about the signs and symptoms of dogs with real separation anxiety versus those who are just experiencing behavioral issues. I'll Be Home Soon: How to Treat and Prevent Separation Anxiety includes 38 insightful pages packed with great ideas on how to treat minor to severe dog anxiety every time your dog is left "home alone". You'll soon be able to leave your home feeling reassured that your house is safe and your dog is happy.

Deal With Dog Separation Anxiety Books and Guides

Sometimes leaving your dog home alone or with another person can be quite nerve wrecking for everyone involved. It's sort of like a new parent leaving their newborn baby for the first time with a babysitter or the grandparents.

Fortunately there are many great resources out there that teach you how to deal with dog separation anxiety; this goes for both the owner and their dog.

The following are some books that present you with great tips and strategies on what to do when you have to separate from your pet for a period of time, no matter how long or short.

Don't Leave Me! Step-by-Step Help for Your Dog's Separation Anxiety
Don't Leave Me! Step-by-Step Help for Your Dog's Separation Anxiety
With over 100 pages of awesome advice and amazing tips on how to deal with separation anxiety in pets, you'll quickly become an expert in many ways. No longer will you have to leave your house with feelings of worry. You'll read and learn about how to build your canine's confidence, come up with creative solutions and how to incorporate step by step behavior modification protocols as well as use the aide of alternative therapies and pharmacological intervention when necessary. Don't Leave Me is a valuable tool that owners with separation anxiety can greatly benefit from.
Dog Training Tips To Help Dog Separation Anxiety: An In-Depth Look At Fear In Dogs, Dog Stress, Dog Behavior Problems, Dog Sedatives And How To Cure Anxiety In Dogs
Dog Training Tips To Help Dog Separation Anxiety: An In-Depth Look At Fear In Dogs, Dog Stress, Dog Behavior Problems, Dog Sedatives And How To Cure Anxiety In Dogs
Everything you need to know about your dog's separation anxiety can be found within the pages of this book. With over 100 pages of useful information and helpful advice, you're one step closer to curing your dog's separation anxiety. You'll learn to distinguish signs of distress versus bad behavior and how to deal with the issues at hand so that

Dog Separation Anxiety and Preparing Your Dog For Your Departure

Prepare the dog for your departure. Many people have a tendency to lavish attention on their dog before leaving. They may take extra time to play with the dog or find other ways to try to squeeze in a little extra "quality time" with their canine friend.

Though well intended, this only makes the owner's departure even more noticeable and worrisome for the dog. Instead of petting and kissing the dog goodbye, owners dealing with separation anxiety should take measures to correctly prepare the pet for their absence.

This can be done by intentionally decreasing interaction with the pet prior to leaving. Although one may want to spend extra time with a pet before leaving him alone, the best practice is to actually come close to ignoring your pet for several minutes prior to leaving. This will make your departure less jarring and should serve to decrease the dog's level of anxiety.

If you are leaving for an extended period and feel the need to connect with your pet and to enjoy their company, find ways to do so earlier in the day. Resist the urge to say "goodbye" before actually leaving.

Dog Separation Anxiety: How to Detect, Cure and Prevent
Dog Separation Anxiety: How to Detect, Cure and Prevent
Once you've gone through the words of wisdom found in this book, you'll be able to detect, cure and prevent your dog's separation anxiety. There are a lot of symptoms of separation anxiety that your dog may be displaying, but without a good background or proper knowledge on the subject, you can easily misinterpret it as plain bad behavior. This book can help both you and your dog achieve a more happy, healthy and reassuring relationship.

Dog Separation Anxiety - Distracting Him As You Leave

Provide an immediate distraction for the dog. Right before leaving, it is desirable to provide the pet with some sort of distraction. A new toy, for instance, may serve to occupy his attentions, allowing for a smoother transition to his “alone time.” Whatever immediate distraction is provided, make sure it is something that is likely to interest the dog for several minutes. The objective, after all is to maintain his attention on something other than your absence for as long as can be reasonably expected.

This technique has the added benefit of teaching your pet that his time alone will result in a pleasurable experience. He will begin to connect your departure with a fun toy or diversion instead of feeling it will only bring anxiety and loneliness.

One should also provide a more lasting distraction. Dogs crave human contact and will unavoidably miss it while alone. However, maintaining something of a human element to their surroundings can decrease the separation anxiety the feel when left without company.

Many have experienced success by keeping a radio or television tuned to programming featuring a great deal of dialogue. The dog will hear human voices and although he certainly won’t be fooled into believing he is in the company of human friends, the sound is still soothing and can reduce feelings of stress and loneliness.

Separation anxiety can be an absolutely befuddling issue for a dog owner. Even the most well-mannered and well-trained dogs can suddenly transform into destructive troublemakers as a result of separation anxiety.

Training away this difficulty can be hard, especially when a dog feels very connected to his owner. However, by preparing your dog and utilizing appropriate immediate and lasting distractions, one can reasonably expect to reduce the anxiety experienced by their dog.

© 2007 pkmcr

Dog Owner Feedback - Dealing With Dog Separation Anxiety

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    • BowWowBear profile image


      6 years ago

      Some may find it helpful to speak of their dog having "anxiousness" rather than trying to diagnose a psychological condition of "anxiety" in an creature who cannot describe the "why's" o their behavior to you. The conditioning you describe to make one's absence more of a pleasurable time for your dog is very on target. Thanks for sharing!

    • AnxietyAttackEx profile image


      7 years ago

      I must get my friends to read this lens, they have a mini schnauzer and you have described the sequence of events to perfection!

    • alexandradouglas profile image

      Alexandra Douglas 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Very useful info here! THank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I rescued a 7 yr old shi tzu from a puppy mill in January. We had no idea, but then in February she blessed us with 3 little girls! We are keeping them all, however, Mama Olivia is having separation anxiety and I am afraid that it is rubbing off on the girls. Olivia will bark for an hour and a half and longer even when I go upstairs to bed. I can't take them all up there yet, the stairs are a hazard for them. I come downstairs and my house is trashed. I hate that she is feeling like this but I have no idea what to do for her.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      our newly aquired bichon/poodle is okay when I leave, but goes into a high pitched barking frenzy when I come back. She will do this even if I have only been away for 2 mins. getting the mail, using the washroom ect.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      We are experiencing this right now, however all of what you have suggested we have been doing since the beginning and in the last month she has become very anxious to the point of shaking when we leave. Now escaping from the yard or getting destructive inside the house... at a loss with this sudden change in behaviour. Help anyone?

    • zblessedlife lm profile image

      zblessedlife lm 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for the information, Very useful!

    • CHalloran LM profile image

      CHalloran LM 

      9 years ago

      One of my dogs had this. Nothing we did worked on her. The only time she felt better was when one of her puppies that we kept was with her alone in the house. We used to also put the things she used to like eating here and there in the house so she would find them walking around the house when we were gone. It seemed to keep her busy.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wish I would have found your lens a couple of years ago when my dog became crippled, she went through severe separation anxiety because she could not walk. We have it under control now up it was tough. Great info.

    • jolou profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a very real problem with dogs, but I believe cats can have it also. Before my elderly cat died, he seemed anxious when he knew I was leaving, and would follow me to the door. It's hard to deal with as we don't want our pets upset. The information you have provided is very helpful for pet owners.

    • pkmcruk profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Thanks for the kind comments and I hope that readers are finding the information useful

      Take care


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      11 years ago

      My golden retriever has SA, and in her senior years has started destructive chewing, Someone suggested boredom might be involved. So I have begun to leave her a large donkey kong toy stuffed with different favorite treats. It takes her several hours to get all the treats out and my home remains intact. Important information.

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 

      11 years ago

      I lost my beloved Tobie (Old English Sheepdog)last November. She was my best friend. She would stare at the t.v. if she heard a dog on it and stare at airplanes in the sky, as if to wonder what they were. She hated to be out of my sight and was afraid of thunderstorms.See my lens at DoAnimalsGoToHeaven.

    • lens4Him profile image


      11 years ago

      I always leave the TV on tuned to Animal Planet when I go out and leave our dog on his own. I don't know why, it's not as if he can understand it!

    • alslad profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks for adding this helpful lens to the Gone to The Dogs group. Some breeds are more likely to develop separation anxiety, typically those that are more biddable like Border Collies, Labs and Golden retrievers, so it is important for potential owners to thoroughly research any breed they are thinking of bringing into the family


    • profile image


      12 years ago

      You see this a lot with sighthounds. My whippet has mild SA. But some dogs have it really bad. Nice lens!

    • profile image


      12 years ago


      I like your lens, some good info.

      Did you know that people with a dog phobia can use self help hypnosis to overcome fear of dogs?

      Feel free to visit my Lens: Dog Phobia

      You can also visit my site: e-books about dogs .

      Adrie Rackers

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      I'm sorry, the correct link for the group is Dog Health Care.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Great Lens! I'd like to invite you to join my new group Dog Health. A group that is specifically and only for information and resources for dog health.


    • Karendelac profile image


      12 years ago

      Love the lens. I have 4 dogs and can't stand being away from them.

      Thanks for putting together such a great lens!

      Keep up the great work! All the Best, Karen at Karen's Kinkade Art Store

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Hey I like your lens on dogs check out my lens -> Dog behavior training

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Hi pkmcr, Thanks for this important info! Gayle, author of How to Stop a Dog Fight.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      great lens on dog care..Mas from how to make puppy chow

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      great lens on dog care..Mas from how to make puppy chow


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