Separation anxiety

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Separation Anxiety Part 1

This is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. 

Separation anxiety arises when a dog becomes upset because of separation from their humans.

The behaviour that we see can range from extreme to relatively mild but at both ends of this range the dog is not in a good place.

It is not unusual for a dog to start displaying its anxiety even before it is alone. As we prepare to depart the dog will often start stressing, with barking and running around and this may continue after our departure. On our return the dog will act like it has been months since we left. A quick look around the house and in the absence of a trail of destruction we often conclude the dog got on fine. This unfortunately is not always the case. 

The dog may have barked endlessly and may have cried and whimpered for some time. The dog may even have refused food and water left out for it. Sometimes this is difficult for us to see and we feel a cuddle on the couch, a few games or a walk with us and our dog will be fine. Sometimes we misinterpret what is going on for the dog, the depth of distress, and we think it is cute how much our beloved dog missed us.

It is so much easier to come home to a dog that has eaten half the couch, chewed every cushion and piddled on every chair or table leg. We are in no doubt that something is going on and we will be much more driven to find a solution. 

It is not always separation anxiety that causes a dog to be destructive. Often pure boredom can cause this behaviour but a combination of both is not uncommon.

In these crazy times we are living in our dogs cannot believe how great life is. We are around our dogs far more than usual and in a lot of households they can find company 24/7. This however is likely to change as our work reopens or we return to working away from home again. Children will be returning to school and a real possibility will arise when our dogs will be left alone. Older dogs familiar with different routines may adjust faster but younger dog may have no experience in their short lives of being alone.

We have a window of opportunity to address this now. We cannot leave it to the last moment when there has been no opportunity for our dogs to adjust.

So, what do we do.

The goal is to resolve any underlying anxiety that may emerge by teaching our dogs to enjoy or, at a minimum, be able to cope with being left alone.

Tomorrow I will post the methods and techniques we can use to assist our dog but in the meantime, this is a list of symptoms to look out for.

  • Toileting in the house
  • Barking and howling
  • Chewing and destruction
  • Pacing
  • Escape attempts
  • Eating its own faeces

In terms of things that can cause a dog to suffer separation anxiety high on the list is Change in Schedule and this I believe is what we are likely to be confronted with.

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Separation anxiety

Separation Anxiety Part 1 This is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.  Separation anxiety arises when a dog becomes upset because of separation