• Separation Anxiety

    Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

    Anxiety in dogs causes many problem behaviours in dogs.  Symptoms happen soon after the owner leaves the area the dog is in and range in severity.  It is important for owners to know, dogs with separation anxiety are acting on a basic survival instinct to stay with their family, and do not feel safe when alone.  Dogs with separation anxiety are not acting out of revenge, but are acting out of absolute panic.  Here are a few signs to look for:

    • Urination or defecation in the house 
    • Persistent barking or howling when owners leave home
    • Destructive Chewing and digging
    • Escaping
    • Pacing 
    • Panting, whining

    If one or more these symptoms occurs, then your dog probably has separation anxiety.


    WHy Do Some Dogs Get Separation Anxiety?

    While there is no known cause of separation anxiety, there are some factors that are common in dogs with separation anxiety.  These might be any of the following:

    • New family and living environment 
    • History at Shelter
    • Change in routine
    • Change in living environment
    • No/low exposure to being alone during early puppyhood
    • Change in household membership

    Treatment of separation anxiety

    Treatment of separation anxiety is aimed at reducing the anxiety, rather than just the behaviours themselves.  Patience, structured routine and compassion is key to treatment of anxiety.  We use a progressive program of counterconditioning and desensitization to help dogs learn to feel safe and relaxed at home alone.  We never use fear or intimidation to train dogs, but especially not for those suffering from separation anxiety

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