Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is a common problems with dogs. Defined as a state of intense panic brought on by the dog’s separation from her owner. This anxiety disorder may tip your dog into a state of nervous anxiety in situations such as when you leave for work in the morning,

Dogs need plenty of company and social interaction to keep them happy and content. They are social animals who don’t liketo be left alone for a long time. Some dogs do not cope as well as others, they are most prone to separation anxiety.

There are a number of contributing causes to the condition:

Genetic predisposition towards anxiety and insecurity.

  • Something you should consider when deciding which breed you want, particularly if you’re going to be absent for long stretches of time. Weimaraners, Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, and Airedales can all suffer from separation anxiety.

Many dogs from shelters develop separation anxiety.

  • Most rescue dogs have had significant trauma in their lives. Abandoned by their previous owners they have little reason to think that their new owner (you) isn’t going to pull the same trick.

Dogs that were separated from their mothers too early.

  • Are especially prone to separation anxiety. Early weaning, coupled with the lack of exercise and affection can be psychologically traumatic for any dog. Pet shop pups are a perfect example of this: taken from their mothers, usually well before the earliest acceptable age of 8 weeks, confined to a small box in the pet shop for up to two months, it’s not wonder they have trouble trusting.


  • The number-one cause of separation anxiety in dogs. If you’re away more than you’re present in your dog’s life, separation anxiety is pretty well inevitable. All dogs need company, affection, and attention in order to be happy and well adjusted.

Symptoms of separation anxiety:

  • Your dog will soon know the signs you’re about to leave. She will become anxious when she sees you pick up your bag and keys or put a coat on. She may follow you from room to room, whining, trembling, and crying or even become aggressive, in an attempt to stop you leaving.
  • After you’re gone, her anxious behaviour will rapidly get worse until it peaks usually within half an hour. She may bark incessantly, chew inappropriate items, scratch windows and doors trying to escape and reunite with you, even urinate and defecate inside the house. In extreme cases, she may engage in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, like spinning and tail-chasing. Some dogs have been known to lick or chew skin until it’s raw.
  • Upon your return, she’ll be delirious with joy, and will leap around you in a frenzy of delight for much more than the 30 seconds to one minute of a happy, well-balanced dog. Some owners, not recognising this exaggerated greeting actually signifies a psychological disorder, actually encourage their dog to get more and more worked up upon their return.

If you’re behaving in this way with your dog, please stop. It’s very easy to do, she’s so happy to see you, what harm can it do to show her you love her just as much? Really, though, you’re just feeding her belief that your return is the highlight of her day. She’s as happy as Larry when you return – but, next time you go out her now-exaggerated happiness at your presence is threatened, and she thrown into a pit of despair when you walk out that door.

Fortunately, you can minimize your dog’s tendency towards anxiety.

Read a  a short list of Do’s and Don’ts here.


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