dog separation anxiety

Helping Dog’s Separation Anxiety – How to Teach a Dog to Stay Home Alone

My mini doxy, Taz, breaks my heart into a million pieces every time I leave the house. Sometimes she’ll actually try to sit on my feet while I’m putting my shoes on. I hate to leave her, especially since she seems to have a harder time of it now that she’s getting older. Finding tips for helping with dog’s separation anxiety has become more and more of a priority for me as Taz ages.

Helping Dog's Separation Anxiety Separation anxiety can be defined with behavior such as drooling, barking, whining, destroying items in the house, scratching at walls, doors and floors, and attempting to escape from the crate or room. Fortunately for me, Taz’s symptoms aren’t as severe as these, but do include pacing and panting and of course, the sad, breaking-mommy’s-heart face.

Causes of Dog Separation Anxiety

I’ve learned that I sometimes unknowingly encourage Taz’s separation anxiety. I make a big fuss when I leave or come home, and in doing so I think I make her think it’s a big deal. What I mean is, because Mommy’s concerned that she’s leaving/absent, then Taz is concerned. But it’s hard to just unceremoniously walk out the door, you know? I’m always practicing not making such a big deal every time I leave.

I’ve also observed that a change in Taz’s routine makes separation anxiety worse. She’s always thrived on routine – it’s like she’s more secure if she knows what to expect next. I try hard to make her little doggie days as routine as possible.

Also, I know Taz does way better with anxiety in general when she has regular exercise/walks. A couple of days without walkies, and Taz is pacing the floors! If I have a day when we can’t go for a walk, I try to at least spend few minutes tossing the tennis ball around in the living room for her to chase.

How to Prevent and Reduce A Dog’s Separation Anxiety

I think this starts when they’re a puppy. I think, for example, that when we bring our puppy home, and they’re in their little bed at night and start crying/whining, we automatically go and pick them up and give them comfort. Tempting, I know, but what it actually does is reward that behavior. We need to focus on teaching the puppy to be quiet and settle down for increasing periods of time. We need to teach them patience and calmness – rewarding them when they are calm, not when they are crying/whining. And even when they’re back out of bed, or back out of their crate, we shouldn’t attempt to give them constant attention . They need to learn to entertain themselves with their toys.

The Importance of Giving Your Dog Confidence

I’ve learned that I have to stop doing so much for Taz. It’s my natural inclination to help her whenever I can, especially if I see she’s having difficulty. But doing everything for her only decreases her confidence. If she can walk from the back yard back to the house, then I should let her – not carry her. If she can find her food or water bowl and help herself, I need to let her do that – not take her to the bowl or bring food/water to her. I need to give her the freedom to interact with guests, neighbors, and even other dogs in the neighborhood without my intervention. In other words, I need to let Taz do for herself – so that she feels CONFIDENT.

Providing Comfort for Your Dog

My dad always used to make fun of me for this, but I often leave a radio on for my dog when I leave the house. I think it achieves two things: one is that it’s a familiar sound which I hope provides a sense of security, and the other is that it helps to muffle sounds of horns beeping, cars going by, etc.

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyTry Adaptil

I recently came across a product called Adaptil. It mimics a female dog’s pheromones, and the scent provides calmness and reassurance for dogs.   It comes in a collar (Taz wears one), a spray (like to spray their beds, the car for trips, etc), and also a room diffuser. The room diffuser is meant to help with overall anxiety and especially separation anxiety. Simply plug it in a few minutes before you leave, and the scent will help keep your dog calm while you’re gone.

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyTry PetCalm

PetCalm is a safe, non-addictive, natural remedy containing 100% homeopathic ingredients especially selected to temporarily relieve symptoms of nervousness, helping to calm your pet and promote a balanced mood.


Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyFor More Help

For more help training your dog and dealing with common dog behavioral issues, visit this fantastic video based dog training website!  This website recommends learning How to Become a Pack Leader to treat separation anxiety and many other behavioral issues.

Helping Dog's Separation Anxiety

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyI recently came across Cesar’s Way, a website created by Cesar Millan, the professional dog trainer who had that TV show, Dog Whisperer (love that guy!)  I’ve just started checking this site out – I’ll keep you posted on what I learn from Cesar!

I hope this article has given you some ideas to help your dog. And please, if you have other ideas and techniques that have worked, share them in the comment section below! Thanks so much.  Debra  🙂

Helping Dog's Separation AnxietyI Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!

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Hi Everyone,My name is Debra and I’ve been a pet lover for as long as I can remember! I’ve had dogs and cats all my life, beginning with our family’s first pet, a poodle puppy named Pepi (try saying that three times fast!) we got when I was in about fourth grade. He brought so much joy to our family – he made me an animal lover! I’m 47 now and I’ve had lots of pets over the years. Every time a pet passes away, I find I’m so guilt stricken that I swear I’ll never get another. Then of course…I suddenly find myself cuddling yet another little furry friend. I just can’t say no!Unfortunately, part of being a pet owner is having to pay for their medical expenses. I have had thousands of dollar’s worth of pet expenses over the years – not just vet bills, but medications. I’ve spent so much time looking for the BEST prices on pet supplies, that I wanted to make the sites I’ve had the best luck with available to others. And of course it’s not just medical supplies – I’m also guilty of spending tons of money on the fun stuff too! My current pet, a miniature doxy named Taz, has an entire wardrobe, two baskets full of toys and at least four doggie beds!MOST IMPORTANT: You’ll see on my home page that this website donates a portion of all sales to the ASPCA and other pet charities. I’ve donated to various pet charities for years and years. There have been times I could only donate $5 here and there, and other times when I’ve been financially able to donate more. But it’s always been a priority to give as much as I can to help animals. So I decided to start this website as a way to give MORE, via the commissions I make from sales from this website. I am in the process of creating a spreadsheet, which I will make available on this website, containing the names of all pet charities this website is donating to, along with a column for each charity showing how much money has been donated to date. Stay tuned for that – I’m so excited and hopeful we’ll have huge numbers! I really want to make a difference for all the animals who so desperately need our help.Thanks so much for visiting my website and please, if you’d like to leave feedback or give me ideas on how I can make this website better, comment down below. I welcome suggestions! :)Sincerely,Debra

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