After dog aggression issues, separation anxiety is one of the biggest dog behavior issues worrying owners..
And this can be lucrative field for many dog trainers and vets.
A dog trainer does not risk being bitter usually by separation anxiety dogs, and they can even use medicinal tricks of the trade (herbs or vet prescribed ) to get a dogs behavior sorted out. But what is this anxiety and what is the cause of it?
SYMPTOMS of dog separation anxiety
The overall symptom is disruptive or destructive dog behavior when left alone.
The following is not an exhaustive list of behavior problems associated with dog separation anxiety, but they are the most common:
- urinate/ defecate
- Excessive sustained barking and howling
- Chewing of furniture and the house items (when beyond teething and puppy age
- Pacing an area in fast repetitive movements
- Digging and attempts to escape.
These behaviors might be considered normal dog behaviors but they are sustained and distressed actions. They are often accompanies by drooling and the dog showing anxiety when the owners prepare to leave the house.
EXTREME CASES of separation anxiety
Extreme cases will usually get neighbors calling councils and noise abatement rulings but more serious to the dog are the chance of self-injury and household destruction.
Self injury is usually caused by the dog trying to figure away out of locked gates or through doors. I have personally seen doors eaten through and scratched beyond recognition. The dog ending up with bloody paws and ruined nails, wrecked teeth etc.
Separation anxiety is triggered when a dog become upset because of separation from their owners.
This kind of response is actually a very natural occurrence for most dogs. Dogs are a very social animals, pack animals, and the owner has adopted the dog so they have become the pack leader (assuming they can show leadership to the dog).
Separation anxiety is just the dog wanting to keep the pack together, but it is a sign of insecurity of the dog.
Dogs that are very independent such as some sight hounds, etc often avoid separation anxiety due to their independent nature. They were bred to identify prey and chase the down without looking back or needing assistance from the hunters.
That said I have met some very timid and anxious greyhounds that do not want to leave their owners side.
While rescue dogs can suffer greatly from separation anxiety – seeing their security leave, their rescuer leave just after they have been save, dogs that grow up as puppies to adult dogs in the same house can easily get separation anxiety.
OWNER Causes of dog anxiety
As controversial as this statement might seem. Owners babying dogs, giving excess affection and little discipline or exercise is the perfect recipe for creating a highly anxious dependent dog.
owners might think they are doing the best thing by the dog, but constant attention, touching and never leaving a dogs side is most likely going to make a very anxious dog when you leave.
Again, I have met many owners who can not see the damage they have done to their dog and that they are the cause of much of the dogs distress. They humanize the dog and then blame the dog.
They don’t realize that the dog is not their partner, it is their animal, that has animal needs and needs to be treated like a faithful dog, with a task to do for the owner, not just sitting in the house like a stuffed toy.