Separation anxiety in dogs is not simply the result of being left home alone. There are usually other underlying reasons for the problem behaviors that occur when an owner walks out the door.
Once these are discovered, preventative measures can be put in play.
One thing to note: The dog may not be the only one with a problem!!
But let's start at the beginning.
Separation anxiety in dogs is generally expressed in one or more problem behaviors that occur when they are left home alone. Here are some of the more typical signs you may see when getting ready to leave the house:
What is going on here?
Many of these behaviors are a result of the stress he is experiencing. When Rover has no social outlet for long periods of time, he can feel confused, isolated, and literally have a panic attack.
Looking at it from a dog's point of view, dogs love company. They are very social beings. Remember they had a lot of company in their original pack environment. The man/dog relationship can be so close that the dog never wants to leave your side.
Here's an example of a scenario that could trigger separation anxiety in dogs:
Now You See Me, Now You Don't...
No, it's not hide and seek - it's Monday - as in back to work! Rover doesn't realize it yet. He's bouncing around and ready to have some more fun. Until he notices some familiar signs that you're getting ready to leave - without him!!!
So off you go, leaving your dog behind to while away the many hours until you return.
Many a pet reacts to this state of solitary confinement by becoming stressed, anxious,
bored and depressed which can lead to destructive activity, barking, urinating and even chewing themselves.
Studies reveal that dogs get depressed just as we do and it is one of the symptoms very often connected with separation anxiety. Under these conditions dogs may become more aggressive, or just the opposite - become more quiet and withdrawn.
While we can't say specifically what's causing your dog's anxiety, here are a few possibilities :
So, what can we do to reduce Rover's stress and help keep up his spirits while we are away? Give him his own job for one thing, as in something to occupy his time alone, including mental stimulation.
Here are some other ideas to diffuse your dog's anxiety:
One of the holistic pet treatments for separation anxiety in dogs is acupuncture . Most holistic veterinarians
offer this type of treatment and it is said to be very effective.
A favorite tip of ours that can really help an anxious dog stay calm, is to play music. You've probably experienced the calming effect music can have on your own emotions. And it works for dogs too.
Studies done in several animal centers in England have confirmed that soothing music, has a positive effect in calming our canine friends in situations when they are feeling anxious or stressful. This can be from the stress and isolation home alone dogs feel, or other triggers such as strange or loud noises in the neighborhood, thunderstorms, other dogs barking, mailmen ringing the doorbell etc.
Many veterinarians, animal experts and doggie daycare centers are now
endorsing this information and using music to help doggies be more
relaxed and lose the blues. You can try it too if you are dealing with
separation anxiety in dogs. Give it a try with your home alone dogs.
We'd like to hear from you if this article has been of help to you and any other topics you'd like us to cover.
NOTE: It is always a good safety measure to test toys under your supervision before leaving your dog alone with them.