This usually involves a vet being called in, because the do is doing self harm, and at the least if it doesn’t get resolved neighbors will complain and authorities will take your dog off you.
Mild to severe means that the dog might even have tipped over to aggression or red zone behaviour, because its condition has been ignored for too long. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Some texts talk about counter conditioning in that give the dog something more exciting and captivating to do like solving a food puzzle will make all the bad things go away, but for severe dog anxiety, just like human depression or anxiety attacks, simple tricks are not going to be a long term solution.
A cautionary note suggests that whatever technique you use, don’t make the dog more scared or more fearful. did you know even by patting a dog while in a anxious state can increase anxiety?
Yes a dog behaviorist might help, but here is where common sense needs to be applied beyond all medical jargon and expensive vet fees.
As pharmaceutical companies have reached a saturated human market they are marketing and manipulating the vet profession far more than is ethically right.
Many vets will now suggest to you that firstly you chain your dog up, then you medicate them with anti depressants. This long term solution alters brain chemistry forever, does not make a dog happier, just kills their spirit and in many cases makes a dog more anxious as it loses the ability to function normally.
ONLY in exceptional one in a million cases should this kind of harsh drug medicine be used on dogs.
The solution for severe separation anxiety dogs is the same as for mild ones – your dog is not balanced and not getting what it wants in life. It is a pack animal, it wants to be with other dogs and it wants to be on simulated hunts (dog walks in a direction). You might not be able to know this, because a rescue dog that has not been socialized is usually very fearful of all dogs, and fear results in aggression, which is mis-read by novice vets as something that needs a drug treatment.
To be fair they are often telling owner what they want to hear. Pay money and the problem will go away. You won’t have to sacrifice any of you own valuable time on fixing this issue, let’s make it someone else’s problem. Go back and enjoy your work, restaurant or golf. whatever you do, don’t walk your dog.
Other times people who don’t know the science behind dog walks think that its just an occasional treat. And because they never taught their dogs respect or recall, they don’t let them off lead, so the dog doesn’t burn that much energy and the park might actually be a fearful rather than fun experience.
If you have a highly anxious dog that might only last the first month or so of visits to the dog park. If it is submissive walk it on lead. If it is anxious but potentially aggressive / fear biting, use a bite muzzle. walk in parks with few dogs and people until you are both confident. keep the muzzle on until you are confident. work on your recall so you know that even when released off lead, with muzzle on, that they will still come back.
At home at night let your dog in the lounge area with you, but don’t over stimulate it and don’t over pat it, let it have space and learn that it can be a quite happy member of the pack.
It will take time to bring a dog back from the brink, but its worth having the dog of your dreams !