Dog Separation Anxiety

Dogs are social animals and they love us and want to be with us all the time. Often they don’t understand that we are coming back when we leave. This is normal, however some dogs can become distressed when they are left alone, demonstrated by digging, destructive chewing, barking and howling.

Separation anxiety in your pooch can be a very challenging behaviour issue, particularly if your dog is destructive when you aren’t home but it’s important to remember that your dog isn’t trying to punish you for leaving, it’s part of a panic response and they just want you to come home!

The main goal of managing anxiety is to teach your dog to be calm and relaxed when you aren’t at home.

Here are our quick tips on managing a dog with anxiety:

  1. Leave and return home quietly, without making a fuss. Try to ignore your dog for 15 minutes before leaving and waiting until your dog has calmed down upon your return. You can practice this routine to help desensitise by only leaving for a few minutes
  2. Ensure that you are providing sufficient exercise
  3. Leave your dog with recently worn clothes that smell like you
  4. Establish a word command that you use every time that you leave so that your dog understands that you will be back
  5. There are many products that you can purchase to reduce fearfulness
  6. Create a safe place for your dog to limit the destructive behaviour while you are away
  7. Do not punish your dog for separation anxiety, this can compound the problem
  8. Visit the vet if the behaviour suddenly appears to ensure that it’s not caused by an underlying medical issue.