Dealing with Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

by Doris Donnerman
(last updated November 13, 2009)

Typically, most dogs can be left alone for some time, usually no more than eight hours, without exhibiting any troubling behavior. There are those dogs that do not handle being alone for any amount of time whatsoever, even if at one time they did. Coming home from a night out to having your house trashed is not an act of revenge by your pet. It is actually an action of panic that your pet is going through. Punishing Fluffy for being scared or tearing up your house will not help, either.

This panic can come from a variety of reasons or sources. Typically it is due to a traumatizing event in the dog's life. Such events can include spending time at a shelter or kennel, one of the family members leaving and not coming back (such as someone going to college, or someone leaving due to a divorce), or simply the pooch has gotten used to having everyone around because of a long trip such as a vacation. Dogs are social animals. This means that they will not handle being alone for long periods well.

Knowing what is causing your pet's behavior is only the first step in learning to deal with it, though. There are some things that you can do to change the troubling behavior exhibited by your dog. Most of these are going to fairly simple, if a bit repetitious.

Each time that you leave your home, use the same low-key actions. Do not make a big deal of your going out, or a production of coming home. This will help reassure the pet that you are predictable and not subject to change. Repeat this every time, otherwise the effect will be lost.

If this doesn't work, or your dog has a more severe case of separation anxiety, be prepared to practice small steps prior to the above. Use the same actions, but simply step outside the door for a moment or two, then come back inside. This will help your small friend make the cognitive leap in understanding that you will be coming back, and that you are not abandoning them.

This procedure will take time. A dog's separation anxiety is not something that will be cured overnight. Be prepared for up to three months of practice before Fluffy truly understands what you're trying to teach her. In the event that this does not take care of the problem though, meaning that there has not even been a small increment of improvement after about six weeks, you may want to consider a visit to the vet. The behavior may be indicative of another, more physical problem.

Author Bio

Doris Donnerman

Doris is a jack of all trades, writing on a variety of topics. Her articles have helped enlighten and entertain thousands over the years. ...


Decorating with Wallpaper

Wallpapering a room has long been a tricky prospect. Using these tricks of the trade, you are going to be able to do as ...

Discover More

Clumber Spaniel

The Clumber Spaniel is the easiest to train of the Spaniel family. He has an excellent nose and is ideal for leisurely ...

Discover More

Commercial Kitchen Cleaning

To ensure the best food quality and service, a commercial kitchen must be properly cleaned and maintained. Each day, ...

Discover More
More Pet Tips

No Leash to Walk Your Dog?

If you have a dog, chances are you'll need a leash to walk it. However, if you don't have a leash on hand, there are a ...

Discover More

Washing Your Dog

Washing your dog, while an adventure, does not have to be a painful experience for either of you. Stop spending money to ...

Discover More

Protect Your Furniture from Dog Slobber

Dogs are great, but sometimes they're not so great for your furniture. Here are a couple of tips you can use to save your ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine more than 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)