Dog Separation Anxiety Issues

by Anne-Marie Smith
dog separation anxiety

Dog separation anxiety has clear and obvious signs. For example, if you’ve ever come home to a ruined carpet or item of furniture, you might have a dog that has trouble dealing with separation.

Problems with dog separation anxiety come in a number of distinct forms. Irrespective of the cause, the results can be detrimental to your house and to your own pet. Understanding the character of dog separation anxiety issues can help you and your dog live a more joyful life together.

8 Most Common Behaviors In Dogs And What They Mean

What is Dog Separation Anxiety

Dog separation anxiety is a general term used to describe a number of distinct kinds of separation issues your dog might have. Some dogs suffer from simple boredom. In the wild, dogs needed a whole lot of activities to keep them physically and mentally active. They had to hunt for food and shelter. Additionally, the social structure had to be preserved in addition to the pack’s territory.

When you compare domesticated dogs to dogs in the wild, the domesticated dog’s life has become easier in many ways than the wild dog. The trouble is the domesticated dog is still genetically predisposed to be a problem solver. With most of their problems removed for them, they have little to do during the day. Exercise and play are determined by their owners, and it is typically not enough from the dog’s perspective.

Without having problems to solve, dogs can create them. Sometimes this means finding ways into closets filled with forbidden shoes, or learning how to climb on the counter for an afternoon snack of your favorite cookies.

To combat the problem of a bored dog, you will need to provide increased stimulation. Longer exercise sessions can be of benefit to them and you. When you’re gone during the day, leave behind toys that are interactive. There are toys made for just this situation. They provide a problem for the dog to solve, for example, a toy that dispenses food as the dog plays with it. The dog will need to solve the problem of how to retrieve the food.

Other Dog Separation Anxiety Issues

Another type of dog separation anxiety issue is frustration. The dog simply does not feel that its owner has the right to leave without them. This frustration leads to destructive behavior and barking. If you notice your dog trying to control the living situation even when you’re home, you may have a dog with this issue.

Ask yourself a couple of questions. Does your dog begin to bark when you’re on the phone? Does he demand attention or demand to play when you are busy elsewhere? Do you find your dog to be demanding in other ways?

If you answer yes to these questions, then the problem is with the overall relationship you have with your dog. The boundaries between humans and pets are not clearly defined or understood by your dog. Training by a professional can help you to rebuild the healthy relationship rules between pet and owner.

Natural Ways to Calm Your Dog

It can be painful to see your dog behaving anxiously, stressed-out and fearful. Your dog’s behavior when under such duress can be a source of aggravation for us, also.

When dogs are feeling unfulfilled and/or filled with anxiety they can express it in several undesirable ways: Chewing on inappropriate objects (even if they know better), clawing windows and doors, barking or whining, soiling the flooring of the home or their own crates, etc.. There are ways to bring your dog to a calm state without resorting to some severe sorts of intervention, however.


Always start by trying to find the actual origin of your dog’s agitation. The most common causes are illness, lack of exercise, a perceived lack of direction and dog separation anxiety. It’s a fantastic idea to find a veterinarian first to deal with the issue of illness. An excellent regular checkup will either identify or rule out any underlying physical issues that could be causing anxiety, fear or excitation.


If your dog is in good health but remains agitated then he may just get out and exercise more. Daily walks also afford us the chance to practice being our dogs’ pack leaders. Be the first one to leave the home and stay slightly in front of your dog as you walk to strengthen the concept that you are the leader. Your presentation of authority will guarantee him. Use quick tugs on the leash for correction if your dog attempts to take the lead, barks too much or becomes overly excited. Letting everybody else in your household enter the house first before your dog will reinforce his sense of his place within the “pack”.


If certain situations make your dog feel stressed or anxious, expose him to those adventures gradually so he can become desensitized over time. Give him praise (in a quiet and cheerful voice) and possibly a treat when he is calm. Physical reinforcements like petting, rubbing and gentle scratching work nicely too – particularly when it’s done in a way your dog especially enjoys (all canines have their favorites).


Massages can prove to be very helpful in soothing dogs. Use slow circular motions, and attempt to cover most of your dog’s body from head to foot. Additionally, there are natural herbal remedies that you can use to enhance your training efforts. Valerian root, as an instance, is a plant with calming properties that acts as a natural stimulant. Aromatherapy also exercises a calming effect upon puppies, and it may be accomplished with ingredients commonly found at a health food store. Mix 2 to five drops of essential oil with a gallon of H2O and heat it, or place the mix into a humidifier. Chamomile, Jasmine, palm tree oil, St. John’s wort and lavender all work nicely for aromatherapy.


Punishments will only feed your dog’s confusion and sense of fear. Because of this, punishments seldom solve behavioral problems. Always act calm and assertive when you’re correcting your dog’s behavior for any reason. Attempts to soothe or to shout can be mistaken as participation in unwanted behavior, especially if a dog is barking.


It can take outside professional help to retrain a dog with separation issues. It’s important to do so for the health and well being of your pet. The destruction that comes from separation problems can interfere with a happy and healthy relationship for you and your dog. The required work to retrain your pet will be more than worth it.

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