One of the most common problems pet parents face is when their dog appears overly stressed out and agitated whenever they leave home, leave the room or you are simply out of sight. This is a little something called separation anxiety in dogs, and it isn't uncommon for pet parents to deal with.
"Separation anxiety is an anxiety provoked in dogs by separation or threat of separation from their owners."
What is separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety is an anxiety provoked in dogs by separation or threat of separation from their owners. It can also be provoked at the idea of your dog being left alone.
How do I identify this?
Does your dog begin to freak out whenever he sees you preparing to leave home? Is he always barking, whining, or yelping when he can't see you/you're gone? Do you arrive home and find him destroying/causing damage to things and furniture in your house? Is he house-trained yet seems to forget that he is whenever you're not around?
If you've answered yes to all, or even some, your dog probably experiences separation anxiety. But there are symptoms that may also indicate such.
Intense barking and whining. Your dog will become very noisy whenever you leave home. His barking and whining is constant and does not appear to be triggered by any stressors or outside factors except you not being with him and him being all by himself.
Causing destruction in the house. It is normal for your dog to chew on things whenever he seems bored but it's not normal for him to chew on everything he comes across - window frames, door frames, carpet, destroying other objects at home.
This behavior in your dog will eventually result in cut paws, broken teeth, and god knows what.
Pooping/Peeing on inappropriate places. Even when your dog is potty-trained/ house-trained, if he has separation anxiety, he will "take a break" anywhere he wants to and will soil your whole house. He may also experience coprophagia. This is when your dog eats his poop (yuuuuuck!)
Has strong urge to escape. With separation anxiety, your dog will try to escape from where he's confined. He'll attempt to bite off his crate. Or if he's just left inside your house, he'll probably chew his way out of the house.
How can I manage my dog's separation anxiety?
Take your dog for a short walk before you leave. Start your day by taking your dog to a walk to warm up for the day ahead. Make the walk a little bit intense by adding on some weights. Reward your dog after and give him enough food and water. The goal is to put him in resting mode while you're away.
No physical contact. Petting, touching, making eye contact will only increase his anxiety. Avoid doing these things when you're leaving. This will tell your dog that it's a normal day and being apart from each other is something he should not worry about and that it's going to be okay.
Start out by leaving him a few minutes. Leave your dog/be out of his sight for a few minutes then gradually increase the time.
Continue doing this everyday so he's able to adjust and get used to the time you're going to be away from him.
Use pee pads and dog diapers. Pee pads and dog diapers are such great help for your dog who has anxiety. These are great for preventing your dog from pooping/peeing in places in your house or where he's confined to. Diapers also prevent him from eating his poop, which I know you would never want to happen.
Separation anxiety can be overcome but with patience, time and consistent training from you and your dog. Remember that consistency is key in everything you (and your dog) do.
"Petting, touching, making eye contact will only increase his anxiety. Avoid doing these things when you're leaving."