Unwrapping the mystery of Separation Anxiety
First, know that you are not alone if you have a dog that has Separation Anxiety (S.A.). It is one of the most common conditions seen by animal behaviorists. Being left alone to some dogs can be a devastating experience but its symptoms can be lessened by following some of the suggestions in this article.
How do you know if it’s anxiety or just bad behavior?
Here are some clues…
If your dog chews on inappropriate personal items (your socks, your panties, your favorite chair) but only when you aren’t home it could be S.A
If you come home and discover that your dog has tried to escape (moldings around windows/doors are chewed) it could be S.A
If your dog howls/barks/scratches at the door the minute you leave it could be S.A
If you are at home but have segregated the dog to another room and he continues to act out because he can’t see you it could be S.A
Separation Anxiety happens almost always when you’re not there and your dog acts out in a stressful, destructive manner in his/her panic in response to the experience of being left alone. Excessive panting, whining, barking, crying, chewing, digging, scratching, howling, destructive behavior all are symptoms of S.A. and their degree of severity varies from dog to dog.
Typically, the longer the dog is alone, the worse his anxiety becomes and sadly, sometimes injuries occur if the dog reaches a panic state.
What causes Separation Anxiety?
No one knows for certain why some dogs develop it while others don’t. Separation anxiety occurs in homes with multiple dogs, single dogs – no one is immune! There are however, some common things which can trigger symptoms of Separation Anxiety including:
Changes in a dogs schedule
Moving to a new home
Animals with a history of abuse have a higher risk of developing separation anxiety than dogs that have had a “gentle” life.
Poorly socialized dogs frequently have anxiety issues
What you can do to make life easier for you both
Remember that Separation Anxiety is an instinctive disorder and not the result of bad training. Keeping that fact in mind will prevent you for blaming yourself for your dog’s problems. That being said, you are responsible for helping your dog adjust to your lifestyle so that you both live in a stress free, happy home. To create a warm environment that your dog feels safe in, try these suggestions.
What if it’s SERIOUS?
True separation anxiety is typically characterized by a dog that causes real property damage (chews holes in the wall, rips apart a sofa, etc). Unfortunately the dog often injures himself in the process. I once came home to a dog who had tried to claw his way out of his crate, only to rip a nail nearly out of its nail bed – very nasty and no doubt painful.
Serious separation anxiety is no joke – and often you need a professional trainer. But before doing that, please try these suggestions:
Medications that can help:
For more information and to purchase either product please visit Bama’s Natural Instinct.
For further information please consider reading one of these wonderful books that thoroughly covers Separation Anxiety and remember that if you choose to purchase these, you can help Cascade by buying through the links below!