Separation anxiety is a very common behavior that is expressed when a dog is left alone. Usually, it is a severe contrast with his normal behavior when he is around people. A dog with separation anxiety may be destrucive, potty in the house, cry, bark, yelp, slobber and pace. It can begin as young as 9 months of age and is also common in older dogs who are losing their sight and hearing and are more dependent on their owners. Your veterinarian can easily diagnose this behavioral disorder after ruling out possible medical causes.
The anxiety level can vary as well as the intensity of unwanted behaviors. Signs of a dog with separation anxiety are:
- The dog remains close to the owner at all times and will follow them from room to room.
- As distance from the owner increases, the dog becomes more distressed.
- The dog shows signs of depression or restlessness as the owner prepares to leave.
- The dog greets the owner excessively when they return home.
- The dog refuses to eat when the owner is away.
Crate destructive dogs when you are not home to prevent them from causing harm to themselves or damage to the house. Adopting a second pet as a companion is usually not effective. There are effective ways to modify unwanted behavior:
- Before you leave, give your dog a treat that takes a while to eat.
- Do not punish the dog. This only creates more anxiety.
-Don't allow your dog to always be in your lap or touching you.
- Avoid playing with the dog right before you have to leave.
- Pretend you're leaving several times a day. Get your keys, put on your shoes, etc.
- Teach your dog to sit & stay when you leaving.
- Step outside the door for a few moments. Gradually increase the time you are outside.
- The goal is to teach your dog to be calm in your absence.