Separation anxiety is actually something that can be common in dogs of any bread. This is extremely relevant in adopted dogs. This shouldn’t scare you away from adopting a dog, as dog anxiety is treatable.
It’s a learned behavior in any dog. Even if you’ve had your dog for years, since they were a puppy, they can still develop anxiety issues.
There are a couple types of separation anxiety. One that is real anxiety and one that is a behavior your dog learned because you gave them attention when they were behaving badly. You need to know the difference. You also need to know what to do for your dog if it’s real.
Real Separation Anxiety vs Just Faking It
It might be difficult to tell if your dog is faking their anxiety. A dog that has learned this behavior simply to get more attention may do many of the same things a true separation anxiety dog does.
One of the clues is how well trained your dog is. If your dog tends to be disobedient, it’s possible that they don’t have true dog anxiety. Dog anxiety is not a case of a dog that just won’t listen.
Sometimes dogs can get attached to a specific person. When that person leaves they may exhibit symptoms of anxiety in front of other people. They might continue barking even when another person gives them attention.
While obedience training will cure the bad habits of a dog that doesn’t actually have anxiety, there are other treatments needed to treat a dog with actual separation anxiety. All dogs need obedience training. This helps them learn that you’re the boss, the leader of the pack.
Signs of Dog Anxiety
In order to understand anxiety in dogs, you need to know the signs. They include:
- Defecating or urinating when you leave them alone
- Constant barking and howling when you’re not home
- Destruction of things in the home, chewing and scratching furniture and more
Those are some of the more common behavior exhibited by dogs suffering from separation anxiety. Your dog may do these things even if you’re only gone for five minutes since they have no sense of time. They may urinate on things that smell like you, like a pile of clothing or your bed.
Dog separation anxiety could cause your dog to destroy things that are important to you. This is why it’s important to do something about it as soon as you see a problem. They chew, shred, and dig (which means that they can do damage even if you’re keeping them outside).
One thing that you may notice is watery eyes in your dog, and you’ll wonder, can dogs cry? Your dog isn’t crying because you left them behind. It’s not an emotional thing. It could be a sign of allergies (did they tear up a feather pillow), dust in their eyes, or an infection. Don’t let those tears fool you, but do get them to the vet for a checkup if their eyes are watering often.
Treating Anxiety in Dogs
If you’ve determined that your dog’s actions are a sign of dog anxiety, there are some things that you can do. First, try some steps that don’t require a visit to the veterinary clinic.
Work on obedience with your dog. Crate training them is humane and it’s a good way to keep them from destroying your home, though it won’t keep them from barking while you’re gone.
Quit making a fuss when you leave. When you make a big deal about leaving your pooch behind it gives them that sense of anxiety. They react to that.
Don’t make a big deal about arriving back home either. Ignore your dog until they calm down, and then great them. This helps instill calm behavior in them.
If training and behavioral modifications don’t work and your dog is harming themselves trying to break out of their crate, or annoying the neighbors with constant barking, you should make a vet visit. Your veterinarian may suggest obedience training, other tricks you didn’t think of.
There are other ways to treat a dog with anxiety. Dog anxiety medication can help calm your dog and keep them from stressing out. Your doctor will recommend you give it to them before you leave. Most likely it will be a similar medication that humans take for anxiety issues.
Don’t leave your dog’s anxiety issues unchecked. They could hurt themselves when they are destroying things in your home or trying to break out of the areas you’re confining them in. It will cost you less money and stress now, to help them, than it will to repair broken paws and damaged belongings.