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May 13, 2010 at 2:20 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

How to Recognize Dog Separation Anxiety

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Your dog watches intently as you get ready for the day. Her eyes grow wider as you find your briefcase, and she begins to whimper as you reach for your briefcase. You know what is coming as you pat her head and pick up your keys. She starts barking and running about frantically. You try to reassure her that you will only be gone for a short time, but nothing eases her stress. As you shut the door, she paws at it wildly. Walking toward your car, you can still hear her howling, and it breaks your heart again. For many dog owners, this scene is an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, the dog's anxiety does not end once her master's car has disappeared. Your dog is so overwrought, that she may continue to claw at windows and doors in an attempt to be reunited with beloved owner. In extreme cases, this may continue until the dog's paws are bloodied! Some owners may return to find that their dog has relieved himself on the sofa, after chewing up their favorite shoes and the doorframe. The poor dogs described here suffer from Dog Separation Anxiety. These needy canines are so completely bonded to their owners, that they begin to dread their mom or dad's departure as soon as they sense the leaving the home routine.

Does My Dog Suffer from Separation Anxiety?

If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, odds are high that your canine friend has separation anxiety when you are apart from them.

  1. Does your dog feel the need to be next to you, or have an eye on you throughout the day?
  2. Does your dog follow you as you go from room to room?
  3. Is your dog excessively happy when you return, behaving as though you have been gone forever?
  4. Does your dog whine, howl or whimper when you leave her alone?
  5. Have you arrived home to find your possessions chewed up?
  6. Does your dog relieve him/herself in the house?

Don't get anxious about your dog's separation anxiety just take the steps to educate yourself and work with your dog to develop healthy life patterns.

How Did My Dog Develop Separation Anxiety?

Most dogs enjoy routines: From the first early morning walk to a late night cuddle, they can almost predict what each day will bring. Any drastic change in their routine can bring about this behavior. Have you recently moved to a new location? Is there a new pet or baby in the home? Have you switched shifts or drastically changed your work schedule? Has your dog ever been lost and then brought to a rescue shelter, even for a short period of time? All of these events and many more are extremely traumatic in the eyes of a canine. Even a once stable dog can begin showing destructive behavior and suffer from separation anxiety.

What Can I Do to Help My Dog?

Several desensitizing exercises can help you work with your dog. These will gradually help your dog understand that you will not be gone forever and that everything will be okay. In extreme cases, it would be beneficial to seek out the help of a dog behavior expert and get the training to help relieve your dog's separation anxiety issues. Be cautious when using prescription medication to treat anxiety and destructive behavior. Many medications may leave your dog with worse problems than separation anxiety. Some studies have shown that owners of anxious dogs may see drastic improvement when natural remedies are used, so look for an herbal remedy that it is all-natural with no side effects. If you take the steps to treat your dog's separation anxiety, you should be able to leave the house without a fuss in no time!

Photo Credit: cobalt123

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