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Separation Anxiety In Dogs

Separation anxiety in dogs is a common but really serious behavioral problem. It upsets the dog as well as your life. If destroying things is among your dog's symptoms of distress that could cost you a lot of money too!

The truth is that dogs are very social creatures and always seek for our companionship. They simply cannot live alone.

  • Living alone is sad
  • But leaving a dog alone for a few hours, in the comfort of your house, shouldn't be that difficult.

What Is Separations Anxiety In Dogs?

In a few words, we could say that dogs with separation anxiety are so attached to their owners that they go under extreme stress every time they are left alone. Some of the main symptoms of this behavioral disorder are described bellow.

Dog sitting on her dad's boots so that he stays home.Please, please, please daddy don't go to work and stay with me.

- The dog becomes extremely distressed as you prepare to leave the house. Just seeing you picking up your keys or wearing your jacket and ... the party begins. Your dog starts running up and down, panting, whining, yawning.

- Even when you are at home the dog refuses to stay in a different room with the door closed. She or he will start scratching the door, whining and barking to get close to you.

- The dog barks constantly during your absence.

- While you are away, the dog pees  or poops in the house.

- Vomiting is one more symptom of dogs with separation anxiety.

- The dog chews and destroys things  (furniture, carpets, remote controls, clothes     that have your smell on).

- When you return home your dog goes crazy, acting as if you were gone for years.


Of course, every dog is different and not all dogs with separation anxiety appear to have the same symptoms. It's always wise to watch your dog and correct any unwanted behavior as soon as possible.

A little puppy that runs all over the house and tries to jump on you might be cute and funny. But, things change when a strong adult dog is doing the same. Think about that. 

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What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

  • Dog owners whose dog has become their shadow. Sounds familiar? If you are so attached to your dog that s/he spends all day and all night next to you then it’s only natural that the dog suffers from separation anxiety when you are not there.
  • Who is more upset about leaving the house? You or the dog? Don’t make a big fuss over going out or coming back home. Dogs can sense our nervousness and react accordingly.

  • If it is a puppy with separation anxiety that’s probably because it was taken away from his mother too soon. All puppies should be at least two months old before given to their new homes.
  • If your dog is a rescue it is possible that an old traumatic experience is the root of the problem. Your dog might fear that is being abandoned again every time you leave the house.
  • Do you leave your dog alone for too many hours? Maybe the distress is justified and you should examine some adjustments to your daily program or the idea of getting some help (from a friend, a relative or a professional).

Big dog with sad expressionWhen are they coming back home...

Separation anxiety in dogs can appear for a number of different reasons.Try to understand what's making your dog anxious and fix the problem as soon as you notice the first signs.

How To Deal With Separation Anxiety In Dogs

    Now, it's time to see what you can actually do to deal with the problem of separation anxiety in dogs.

  • Start by teaching your dog to spend some time alone, while you are in an other room. Give her a chewing toy or a special treat. If the dog ignores the toy and comes to you demanding your attention,don't give in. Take her back and return to what you were doing. It will take some time and many repetitions but it is really important that the dog learn to spend time alone.

  • When you are ready to leave the house don’t talk, don’t touch , don’t even look at your dog. Just walk out the door calmly.
  • Do the same when you come back. If the dog tries to jump on you turn your back. Don’t stand and look at her, don’t talk to her. Just get in your house, staying calm and assertive. 

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  • Never reward what you don’t want. Seeing your little baby crying when you are getting ready to leave is really heart breaking. But you must realize that you only make things harder if you start petting her and “explaining” that you’ll came back soon. Dogs are not children, they don’t understand what you are saying. And believe me, their feelings don't get hurt if you don't say goodbye. But they can sense when their pack leader (that’s you!) is feeling anxious and , in their mind, that is very upsetting.
  • Do some practice. Start out by leaving the dog alone in the house for five minutes. Once you understand that she is feeling comfortable with that, gradually increase to ten or fifteen minutes. The purpose of this exercise is for your dog to feel comfortable with you leaving the house and realize that you always come back. Of course, you shouldn't expect that to happen in one day. Remember, persistence and repetition are the key words when dealing with separation anxiety in dogs.
  • Before you leave, make sure that your dog has anything she needs (fresh water, toys to play with, a comfortable place to sleep).

  • Take your dog for a long walk (30 minutes to an hour) every morning. If you have the opportunity to let him/her run, that’s even better. A tired dog is always a good and calm dog!
  • If the dog doesn’t have access to the yard, make sure that you have taken her outside to relieve herself before you leave.


Separation anxiety in dogs is the cause of many other behavioral problem that make a big number of people to abandon their dogs .

No matter how flattered you may feel by your dog's attachment to you don't make the mistake to see that as a proof of her love. Because it is not. Dogs with separation anxiety really suffer every time their owner is away, so make sure that your dog is not one of those dogs.

When we got our dog, Roza, (a rescue) she used to go crazy and jump on us every time we returned home. Luckily, that was her only symptom of separation anxiety but since she is a big, strong dog with really sharp nails we had to correct that immediately. Following the advice mentioned above, we did.

As soon as Roza hears her dad's car engine she goes to the door and waits for him.But she doesn't jump on him any more

Now, ten years later, she just comes to the door, wags her tail and... that's all. Some other times she doesn't even bother to come. But... that's OK.


More pages on happy-lucky-dog.com about other dog behavioral issues :


All About Barking Dogs

How To Prevent Dog Bites

What To Do With Dogs That Beg For Food

Do You Have A Dog That Wets The Bed?



> > Separation Anxiety In Dogs



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