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Seperation Anxiety occuring in Dogs

Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit extreme behavior problems when they are left alone. The most common behaviors are destruction of property (sometimes injuring themselves in the process), especially around doors or windows, howling and barking, and urination and defecation from distress. The destruction and house soiling is not an attempt to seek revenge on the owner for leaving, but is actually a panic response.

Separation anxiety sometimes happens when

Dogs that exhibit separation anxiety follow their owners around from room to room and become anxious even if a closed door separates them from the owner. They dislike spending time alone outdoors. They act depressed or anxious to your getting ready to leave the house.

For minor separation anxiety problems the following may be helpful:

Punishing a dog for destructiveness is not effective and may actually make things worse, since it could increase his anxiety.

Severe cases require systematic desensitization to being alone. This can take a long time. Sometimes veterinary prescribed drugs are used as a temporary measure along with the behavior modification program. Because a dog with severe separation anxiety can do damage to himself and/or your home, you may have to figure out some interim measures, such as leaving the dog at a daycare facility, or with a neighbor or family member.

Suggested reading: THE DOG WHO LOVED TOO MUCH by Dr. Nicholas Dodman
I'LL BE HOME SOON by Patricia McConnell PhD.

Copyright Pat Scott