Dog Separation Anxiety: How to Solve an Epic Problem
Has your dog’s separation anxiety become a major cause for concern in your household?
When your dog is destructive or poorly behaved, particularly when you’re away, separation anxiety is often the cause – but not always. So how do you know what is really behind your pet’s bad behaviors?
What Are the Symptoms of Separation Anxiety?
If you return home from work or date night to find your home looking like a crime scene, separation anxiety may or may not be to blame. The symptoms of this behavioral challenge can look very much like boredom or bad manners.
So how do we tell the difference?
The most telltale symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs involve extremes. Your pet may try so hard to escape that he harms himself physically. You won’t find a single shoe with gnaw marks on it, or a tipped-over garbage can. Instead, your pet will tear at walls, doors and floors near doors and windows.
Dogs with extreme anxiety may urinate or defecate in the house, despite being impeccably housetrained.
You can also watch for your pet to exhibit growing signs of stress or panic as you prepare to leave the house. He may also be overwhelmingly excited and effusive upon your return, even if you only went out to grab the mail or take out the trash.
Why Does Dog Separation Anxiety Occur?
In some cases, dogs may develop extreme levels of anxiety after a traumatic experience. Others may have been improperly socialized or raised in a setting such as a puppy mill, where multiple animals had to compete for resources.
In other cases, however, your pet can develop severe anxiety for no apparent reason.
Whatever the cause, it is important for you to understand that your pet is not trying to make a point or punish you. Before you and your family reach your wit’s end, it’s crucial that you seek professional advice and assistance.
How Should You Handle Your Dog’s Anxiety?
You can certainly start with a visit to your veterinarian, to eliminate any potential physical issues. However, don’t be too quick to medicate your pet.
Although medication is often used as a first line of defense in anxious dogs, this approach alone does nothing more than address the symptoms of the problem. Behavioral modification and training, alone or in combination with medication, are the only ways to correct the underlying problem itself.
At Innovative K9 Academy, separation anxiety is one of the most common complaints we hear from our clients. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for pet owners to diagnose this condition without the assistance of experienced dog training professionals.
If you are experiencing behavioral issues with your dog, contact us today to discuss the problem. Our first priority will be to identify and understand what exactly is going on with your pet, and then determine the best approach for training and intervention. We will also work with you, so that you can reinforce our professional training at home.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, Innovative K9 Academy offers evidence-based puppy and dog training as well as puppy school and boot camps programs. Contact us today to learn more about behavioral problems and separation anxiety in puppies and dogs.