Dogs are mammals - they have feelings. It should come as no surprise that they feel fear, anxiety, happiness, loneliness, and the whole gamut of emotions we have as humans. If you have a dog suffering from separation anxiety, there are many things you can do to help them. You can reduce excessive barking and destructive behavior in dogs with the tips provided.
What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Dogs worry that their owners will not come back. When separation anxiety in a dog presents itself, it is often because this dog is a rescue or has received some abusive behavior in its life. It can also occur in dogs that are never left alone, except for short periods of time. If you feel anxious your dog will notice this and mirror your emotions. An unhappy dog, like humans, will display behavior that you will not appreciate, such as barking, pacing, heavy breathing, and urinating inside the house. It is essential that you understand the symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs, as well as other reasons for these behaviors.
For example, a puppy can hold its bladder for up to an hour in the first month of life and up to two hours for next two months. Eventually, by eight months to a year old, a pup can hold it in for eight hours. So, urinating in the house may be their bladder capacity at its limit combined with excitement over seeing you again. Its important to have a full physical done on your dog to eliminate possible health issues. Your vet can help you figure out if your dog has separation anxiety.
Barking comes from a desire to get out of their crate and to move around the house in search of you. When a dog has separation anxiety, the barking may not stop for several minutes after you leave; it may continue the entire day.
You have two options to help with barking. You can decide to send your puppy to daycare when you leave for the first time. Daycare gives your dog attention from the people at the center and helps him or her play with other dogs. But, this can be expensive, so you may wish to solve the problem at home.
You will want to have the best crate for a dog with separation anxiety. The best crate is the one that gives the most space for your dog. It will give your dog an area to lay down, a little room to play with a favorite toy, and space for food and water. Dogs do not pee or defecate in a place they sleep, so you do not want the crate too large to create a situation where they feel they can go without messing their sleeping area.
Your dog needs a toy that it cannot destroy, but one that entertains them.
Urinating Inside the House
Peeing inside the house means they are nervous, excited, or they are not getting out often enough. Yes, it can be an issue with separation anxiety; however, if you work on a routine and frequently toileting your dog, then you will reduce the problem. When you wake up, the first thing to do is take your dog out. When you return home, let your dog out. Every hour, let your dog out until they are old enough to tell you they must go. Watch for the signs - sniffing and circling, and you can get your dog outside before they urinate. When a fearful situation is arising, such as your leaving, sit with your dog, play with him or her, and let him or her outside, then reward your dog with a treat.
Pacing and Heavy Breathing
Separation anxiety is often something you do not see because you are not there to witness it. But you can work on the symptoms when they appear before you leave the house. Some dogs anticipate when you will be leaving, and begin to pace and breathe heavily. There needs to be a calming ritual implemented, because your dog will know your routine. They know when you must leave and that they do not want you to go. Attention is necessary. Too much attention can have the wrong effect, which is why you’ll need a routine with a little playtime, eating time, and cuddling time. The best thing you can do is provide a toy and a treat. A Kong is excellent if your dog will not destroy it. The Kong offers a treat and a toy. Kong allows him to have breakfast and a little peanut butter while you are away.
A dog in a happy crate, with entertainment, will wear out, fall asleep, wake up, play, and suddenly realize you are home again to let them out. A bored dog will feel anxiety and worry. If you find the anxiety is too much, your vet can prescribe medications. You can also work on desensitization by leaving your dog in one room and going into another for a while. Showing that you come back each time is a good thing.
Check out our E-Book on Methods for Separation Anxiety for Your Dog!