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What is separation anxiety in a dog?

Lead You suspect your four-legged friend may be suffering from separation anxiety? If you do not know how you can recognize it, I have prepared a factual explanation of this problem, especially for you, what it manifests itself, what it results from, and how you can help your pet deal with it.

a dog on the pink dog bed

Separation anxiety is a disorder that can affect your dog. If your dog demolishes the apartment in your absence and constantly barks and howls, he likely suffers from separation anxiety. That means more than a simple longing for an absent caregiver. Separation anxiety is a severe problem.

What will you learn from this article?

  • Separation anxiety in a dog is a severe problem
  • Your dog can’t handle separation anxiety on its own
  • You may recognize your dog’s separation anxiety from demolishing the house and vocalizing, among other things

Separation anxiety in a dog

Do you know what separation anxiety means for a dog? You may not even realize how many quadrupeds around us must contend with this. The bond between the dog and his guardian is powerful. You are the world to your doggie. When you are not around, he feels sad and longing.

Sometimes, however, these feelings are so strong that spending time alone at home dramatically affects the dog. It’s not only waiting for the guardian to return. Separation anxiety is a very unpleasant feeling for a dog, so it is crucial to help your pet in this situation as much as possible.

If you are taking your dog under your care, he wants to advise you on how you can reduce the risk of your dog developing separation anxiety.

What is separation anxiety in a dog

At the outset, I want to explain to you what separation anxiety is in a dog. It is a type of disorder that can affect your pet as well. When the dog is left alone, it experiences extreme fear and panic. Isolation from people makes such a dog feel downright terrified.

I want to alert you that separation anxiety is more than a dog’s usual longing for its guardian. Yes, many dogs feel sad when they have to stay home alone. However, separation anxiety is a very unpleasant sensation for a dog, well beyond the scope of its usual longing.

The strong emotions the dog experiences when left alone also affect his well-being later. Even if he is already among people close to him, each time spent alone is a massive blow for such a dog, after which he can recover for a long time.

puppy lying on the grey dog bed

What does separation anxiety manifest in a dog?

You’re probably wondering how you can distinguish your dog’s usual dissatisfaction with being alone from separation anxiety. Although in both cases, the cause of such behaviour is the same situation, i.e. leaving the house unattended, the dog’s behaviour in these cases will be very different.

Demolition of the house by a dog

When my dog stays home alone, he does something wrong from time to time. Sometimes he will pull something off the table; other times, he chews on a shoe, and sometimes the victims of his dissatisfaction are toys, which he then spoils. Unfortunately, I have to say that this is normal, of course, if it happens occasionally.

However, if your dog experiences separation anxiety, then the destruction of things is much more severe. First, you’ll notice that this happens when your dog stays home alone.

A dog suffering from separation anxiety can do significant damage in your absence. In extreme cases, our puppy can simply demolish the house. Dogs have a lot of strength, especially when under stress and high anxiety.

In such a situation, dogs can chew on mouldings, doors, furniture, and personal belongings. They do it without thinking. Only after some time do they realize that they have done wrong. This moment is a crucial point.

A doggy with separation anxiety, he acts when he longs instinctively. He goes into a kind of frenzy where he destroys things. When destructive emotions subside, he will know that he is doing something wrong; and will feel guilty. It’s also not a pleasant experience for a dog.

This situation is why a dog’s separation anxiety problem is so severe. It takes place on several different levels, making your pet feel bad.

A dog left alone at home howls

What other behaviour often accompanies a dog suffering from separation anxiety when alone at home? Dogs in this situation can be very loud. Dogs then howl, bark and squeak.

Dog vocalizing can be tedious for your pet and the neighbours living around. Dogs very often squeal right after leaving the caregiver’s home. Usually, however, it takes quite a short time, and the dog takes care of himself and his affairs.

In case of separation anxiety, the dog may howl and bark for long hours. This behaviour is one of the most prevalent symptoms of this dog problem.

What’s more, it is worth paying attention to the fact that in this situation, the problem is not only the loud behaviour of the dog. In such a situation, the dog expresses negative emotions, such as stress, anxiety, and fear. By howling or writing, your dog signals his feelings very wrong. He wants to attract attention at all costs.

How to advise to help your dog with separation anxiety

Separation anxiety in a dog will require working with the dog. It is a process, not a one-time training session. Therefore, first, you need to be patient. It is essential to help your dog suffering from this problem. You cannot expect your pet to cope on its own.

Don’t make your dog feel anxious

If, when returning home, you focus all your attention on the dog first, pet him and comfort him, you will strengthen his belief that his fear was correct. Remember that you are a role model for your dog. If he knows you care about the situation, he will also feel the same emotions.

Therefore, when you go home, act as if everything is fine. I know it can be challenging because you realize that your absence from the dog was tough to bear. However, this way, you will not empower your pet to believe that your absence is something that should disturb and stress him.

Do the same when you leave home. Try to act as if this is a perfectly normal situation. Don’t say goodbye to your pet too much. He may take this as a signal that his fear of you leaving is valid.

This behaviour makes your four-legged friend believe that your absence is no big deal. Although such an attitude may be complex for you because I understand you are worried about your dog, such action primarily aims at his well-being.

Get the dog’s attention

If the dog focuses his attention on something and not on your leaving home, it will be easier for him to cope with this lonely time. In such a situation, accessories designed to stimulate the dog to action are excellent. And what is the best way to motivate our dogs? Food and all kinds of delicacies.

Therefore, prepare an olfactory mat for your dog with your favourite flavours or a conga filled with delicious food when you leave the house. However, it is essential to give your doggie these things when you are at home as well.

You can also give your dog other toys that engage him, which you know will keep his attention for a while.

Otherwise, your pet may associate these things with the moment you leave him alone at home, and he will instinctively feel dread and fear. So it may be counterproductive.

dog resting on the dark dog bed

Gradually extend the time you are away from home

While you are focusing on helping your doggie with separation anxiety, you need to adapt your daily schedule to him at this point entirely. It can be not easy at first as your exits from the house will be tailored to your dog.

First, leave the dog in one room and lock yourself in the other room. Keep it short at first, and gradually try to extend it. If your dog can spend an hour alone, you can move on to the next stage.

Your task will be to leave the house and leave the dog alone. Of course, remembering the tips, I told you about earlier. Start by being absent for 5 minutes and increase this time gradually, very slowly.

It is essential to act in tiny steps. If you have separation anxiety, leaving your dog alone for long periods can ruin your work.

Separation anxiety in a dog

I think that no canine guardian can pass by the problem of his dog indifferently. Separation anxiety is xxx, which your pet can’t cope with without your help. Therefore, I hope my tips will make this difficult task easier for you.

Do you suspect your dog has separation anxiety? Please write to me in the comments about how he behaves when left alone at home.

If you have any questions or want me to discuss a topic in the next post, share it with me in the comments section.

Author: Klaudia, great dog lover

The dog by my side teaches me to enjoy every moment and to perceive each subsequent day as a chance for a new, wonderful adventure. While looking for my soul mate, I found it in a dog's wise eyes.

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