The Facts on Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a common problem among dogs. Separation anxiety is when a dog negatively reacts to being left alone. If not managed or treated, severe separation anxiety can cause destructive behavior in your dog. To keep your dog from developing a fear of separation, you can crate train it, so that it will learn how to be independent at times. There are no direct causes of separation anxiety. Most of the time, the fear of separation only develops as the puppy is growing up. Separation anxiety is most common among dogs that are used to being with its owner. Some dogs can also be extremely sensitive, and can develop separation anxiety issues when some changes within the household occur, like when one of the owners move away or goes away for a long time.
Telltale Signs of Separation Anxiety
Sepation anxiety signs center on destructive behavior, heightened during the first few hours after the dog is left alone. Leave a dog with separation anxiety issues alone and it will do any one of the following: barking or making a lot of noise, crying, digging, scratching on doors, urinating or defecating in uncontrolled places, and other abnormal behavior that exhibits distress. A dog suffering from separation anxiety can do much damage to your house and your furniture. If you have no way of knowing if your dog shows such behavior after you leave, try to look for other signs as well. Other separation anxiety signs include the dog's tendency to remain in your presence when you are home, or frantically jumps on you as soon as you get home. If your dog also seems apprehensive or scared about being outside, or being left in his crate, it may have separation anxiety issues.
Treat Separation Anxiety
There are different ways to treat separation anxiety. Since the fear of separation occurs differently and in varying degrees from one dog to another, the separation anxiety treatment that your dog needs depends on the severity of the case. One common separation anxiety treatment used by most dog owners is desensitization. This is the act of desensitizing your dog to the idea of being alone. Desensitization is a lengthy process. To administer this, you need time and patience. Take your dog repeatedly through the process of you leaving the house until its responses becomes calmer. When you feel that your dog is ready, start practicing his independence through short absences first then lengthening it as time passes. Desensitization can be a very challenging process at first, but as your dog warms up to the idea of being left alone, you will be able to manage its separation anxiety better. For dogs that show extremely destructive responses to separation, consult your veterinarian for drugs that can treat separation anxiety.