Separation Anxiety

With some dogs, the emotional stress brought on by separation anxiety can trigger hither'to uncharacteristic behavior patterns. Prevalent among these are:

  • Prolonged barking and whining
  • Destructive tendencies
  • Inappropriate elimination indoors
  • In extreme cases, some dogs resort to self-mutilation - chewing themselves raw

Contrary to what many owners may think, these dogs are not 'acting out of spite' or 'getting back' at their owners for leaving them unattended, but rather are displaying behavior that is consistent with the true cause of the problem: separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety may due to:

  • A genetic component or predisposition
  • Early imprinting, such as isolation, abandonment, or even traumatic experience
  • An over-indulgent owner who has never conditioned the puppy to spending time on his own
  • Geriatric or late-onset separation anxiety

As with all behavior issues, treatment depends on the cause and will range from:

  • Nothing more than knowing how to condition the dog to accept and be at ease in his own company. This can be achieved by a variety of means, such as a change of routine, a different approach to confinement, suitable chew items, etc
  • On the other hand, in severe cases, some dogs will need the assistance of medication to enable them to relax sufficiently to prevent them from stressing to the point of causing themselves, or their surroundings, damage
  • Occasionally, and it is only occasionally, a particular dog may benefit from the presence of a canine companion

Diagnosing the cause of the anxiety is of paramount importance. Should your dog be suffering from this debilitating condition, the first step is an evaluation.