How to Deal with Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Nervous dogs, or those which have had a history of abuse, often exhibit anxiety when left alone. This can manifest itself as barking or whining, chewing furniture or simply cowering away somewhere it feels more protected. The general term is separation anxiety, and can affect many animals and even humans  So, you may wonder “How do I deal with a dog with separation anxiety?” For most dogs it is easy to cure. Separation anxiety is something we work with daily at our facility in Northern Virginia.  Generally caused in most cases by the dog not being confident that it is an accepted part of your ‘pack’. In our Northern Virginia dog training sessions we can show you how to gradually correct separation anxiety and in the process make a happy, well adjusted dog which is a pleasure to own instead of a liability.

If a dog is properly trained from birth, then you are unlikely to have any problem with separation anxiety. It is a learnt behaviour, although sometimes particular breeds are more prone to it at birth (Malinois, GSDs, etc).. As such, and as with any learnt behaviours, it is possible to correct if you are prepared to put in the effort. In our Northern Virginia dog training courses we have specialists who are very experienced with separation anxiety cases. We will work with you to show you that it is not difficult to correct, as long as you have patience.

Take small steps and never allow your dog to become stressed.

Every dog is slightly different and requires slightly different approaches to the separation anxiety problem. Some dogs get anxious as soon as the owner is out of their line of sight. Some are OK as long as there is a person somewhere in the house. Still others only become stressed after a certain time of separation. The symptoms of separation anxiety also vary widely, as discussed above. In all cases, though, the same basic principles apply, though the way they are best applied require expert assessment. This is why you need advice from experienced trainers such as those at our Northern Virginia dog training courses.

Rescue dogs seem to suffer from the symptoms of separation anxiety more than most, probably because of some past physical/mental or being bounced around numerous homes. This should be born in mind when taking on a rescue dog. Furthermore the behaviour of the owner when leaving can significantly stimulate anxiety. Consequently, eliminating this problem is as much about training owners as it is about dog training.

Generally, dogs with separation anxiety need more separation.  Meaning, you should put them in their crate or in another room all throughout the day, even when you are still home.  Just to get them accustom to being alone and separated throughout the day while you are still in the home.  Also, try to make it a positive experience, such as giving them a favorite toy or treat.

Nick White

Off-Leash K9 Training

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