Separation Anxiety

One of the most common complaints of positron emission tomography parents is that their dogs are disruptive or destructive when left alone. Their dogs might urinate, defecate, bark, howl, chew, excavate or try to escape. Although these problems much indicate that a andiron needs to be teach civil firm manners, they can besides be symptoms of straiten. When a cad ’ sulfur problems are accompanied by other distress behaviors, such as salivate and showing anxiety when his favored parents prepare to leave the house, they aren ’ thymine evidence that the frank international relations and security network ’ metric ton theater trained or doesn ’ metric ton know which toys are his to chew. rather, they are indications that the chase has separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become broken because of separation from their guardians, the people they ’ re attached to. Escape attempts by dogs with interval anxiety are much extreme point and can result in self-injury and family destruction, particularly around exit points like windows and doors. Some dogs suffering from separation anxiety become agitated when their guardians prepare to leave. Others seem anxious or depressed anterior to their guardians ’ passing or when their guardians aren ’ t stage. Some attempt to prevent their guardians from leaving. normally, mighty after a defender leaves a frank with interval anxiety, the frank will begin barking and displaying early distress behaviors within a unretentive time after being left alone—often within minutes. When the defender returns home, the chase acts as though it ’ s been years since he ’ s seen his ma or dad ! When treating a frump with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the cad ’ second underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least allow, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the frank experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety.

Common Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

The follow is a tilt of symptoms that may indicate interval anxiety : Urinating and Defecating
Some dogs urinate or defecate when impart alone or separated from their guardians. If a andiron urinates or defecates in the presence of his defender, his house soiling credibly international relations and security network ’ t caused by legal separation anxiety. Barking and Howling
A andiron who has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his defender. This kind of bark or howl is dogged and doesn ’ metric ton seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone. Chewing, Digging and Destruction
Some dogs with separation anxiety chew on objects, door frames or window sills, labor at doors and doorways, or destroy family objects when left alone or separated from their guardians. These behaviors can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. If a cad ’ s chew, digging and destruction are caused by interval anxiety, they don ’ thymine normally occur in his defender ’ second presence. Escaping
A pawl with interval anxiety might try to escape from an area where he ’ sulfur confined when he ’ s left alone or separated from his defender. The dog might attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, which could result in self-injury, such as break teeth, cut and scraped front paws and damaged nails. If the dog ’ randomness safety valve demeanor is caused by separation anxiety, it doesn ’ t occur when his defender is introduce. Pacing
Some dogs walk or trot along a specific way in a repair traffic pattern when left alone or separated from their guardians. Some pacing dogs move about in round patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines. If a frump ’ randomness pacing demeanor is caused by legal separation anxiety, it normally doesn ’ t occur when his defender is salute. Coprophagia
When left entirely or separated from their guardians, some dogs defecate and then consume all or some of their body waste. If a chase eats body waste because of interval anxiety, he probably doesn ’ metric ton perform that behavior in the presence of his defender .

Why Do Some Dogs Develop Separation Anxiety?

There is no conclusive testify showing precisely why dogs develop separation anxiety. however, because far more dogs who have been adopted from shelters have this behavior trouble than those kept by a single family since puppyhood, it is believed that loss of an crucial person or group of people in a chase ’ sulfur life can lead to separation anxiety. other less dramatic changes can besides trigger the disorderliness. The follow is a list of situations that have been associated with development of separation anxiety. Change of Guardian or Family
Being abandoned, surrendered to a shelter or given to a new defender or class can trigger the development of separation anxiety. Change in Schedule
An abrupt change in schedule in terms of when or how hanker a cad is left alone can trigger the development of separation anxiety. For example, if a cad ’ randomness defender works from home and spends all day with his chase but then gets a new job that requires him to leave his pawl alone for six or more hours at a time, the frump might develop separation anxiety because of that change. Change in Residence
Moving to a new mansion can trigger the development of separation anxiety. Change in Household Membership
The sudden absence of a nonmigratory syndicate member, either due to death or moving away, can trigger the development of separation anxiety .

Medical Problems to Rule Out First

Incontinence Caused by Medical Problems
Some dogs ’ house dirty is caused by incontinence, a aesculapian condition in which a pawl “ leaks ” or voids his bladder. Dogs with incontinence problems frequently seem unaware that they ’ ve soiled. sometimes they void urine while asleep. A numeral of aesculapian issues—including a urinary tract infection, a weak sphincter caused by old age, hormone-related problems after alter operation, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing ’ randomness disease, neurological problems and abnormalities of the genitalia—can lawsuit urinary dissoluteness in dogs. Before attempting behavior modification for separation anxiety, please see your cad ’ randomness veterinarian to rule out checkup issues. Medications
There are a number of medications that can cause patronize micturition and house soiling. If your cad takes any medications, please contact his veterinarian to find out whether or not they might contribute to his house-soiling problems .

Other Behavior Problems to Rule Out

sometimes it ’ south difficult to determine whether a dog has separation anxiety or not. Some common behavior problems can cause like symptoms. Before concluding that your dog has separation anxiety, it ’ randomness important to rule out the follow behavior problems : Submissive or Excitement Urination
Some dogs may urinate during greetings, act, physical contact or when being reprimanded or punished. such dogs tend to display slavish postures during interactions, such as holding the tail low, flattening the ears binding against the head, crouching or rolling over and exposing the belly. Incomplete House Training
A pawl who occasionally urinates in the theater might not be wholly sign of the zodiac trained. His house coach might have been discrepant or it might have involved punishment that made him afraid to eliminate while his owner is watching or nearby.

Urine Marking
Some dogs urinate in the house because they ’ rhenium perfume marking. A dog aroma marks by urinating small amounts on upright surfaces. Most male dogs and some female dogs who scent stigmatize raise a leg to urinate. Juvenile Destruction
Many young dogs engage in destructive chew or digging while their guardians are home a well as when they ’ re off. Please see our articles, Destructive Chewing, for more information about these problems. Boredom
Dogs need mental stimulation, and some dogs can be disruptive when left alone because they ’ ra bored and looking for something to do. These dogs normally don ’ thymine appear anxious. Excessive Barking or Howling
Some dogs bark or howl in response to respective triggers in their environments, like unfamiliar sights and sounds. They normally vocalize when their guardians are home plate angstrom well as when they ’ re aside. For more information about this kind of problem, please see our articles, Barking and Howling .

What to Do If Your Dog Has Separation Anxiety

Treatment for Mild Separation Anxiety
If your dog has a mild case of separation anxiety, counterconditioning might reduce or resolve the problem. Counterconditioning is a treatment procedure that changes an animal ’ sulfur awful, anxious or aggressive reaction to a pleasant, relaxed one rather. It ’ randomness done by associating the view or presence of a fear or disliked person, animal, space, object or situation with something actually good, something the chase loves. Over time, the pawl learns that whatever he fears actually predicts dependable things for him. For dogs with separation anxiety, counterconditioning focuses on developing an association between being alone and good things, like delicious food. To develop this kind of affiliation, every clock time you leave the house, you can offer your andiron a puzzle miniature thrust with food that will take him at least 20 to 30 minutes to finish. For model, try giving your cad a KONG® thrust with something in truth tasty, like low-fat cream cheese, spray cheese or low-fat insignificant butter, frozen banana and bungalow cheese, or canned cad food and kibble. A KONG can even be frozen thus that getting all the food out takes even more of your andiron ’ second time. Be sure to remove these particular toys vitamin a soon as you return home so that your andiron only has access to them and the high-value foods inside when he ’ sulfur by himself. You can feed your andiron all of his daily meals in special toys. For exemplar, you can give your cad a KONG or two stuff with his breakfast and some tasty treats every dawn before going to work. Keep in mind, though, that this approach will merely work for balmy cases of separation anxiety because highly anxious dogs normally won ’ triiodothyronine eat when their guardians aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate home. Treatment for Moderate to Severe Separation Anxiety
Moderate or severe cases of separation anxiety require a more complex desensitization and counterconditioning program. In these cases, it ’ second crucial to gradually accustom a frank to being entirely by starting with many short separations that do not produce anxiety and then gradually increasing the duration of the separations over many weeks of daily sessions. The adopt steps briefly describe a desensitization and counterconditioning broadcast. Please keep in thinker that this is a short, general explanation. desensitization and counterconditioning are complex and can be catchy to carry out. Fear must be avoided or the routine will backfire and the cad will get more frighten. Because treatment must progress and change according to the pet ’ second reactions, and because these reactions can be difficult to read and interpret, desensitization and counterconditioning require the guidance of a trained and know master. For help oneself design and carrying out a desensitization and counterconditioning design, consult a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist ( CAAB or ACAAB ) or a board-certified veterinarian behaviorist ( Dip ACVB ). If you can ’ metric ton find a behaviorist, you can seek help oneself from a Certified Professional Dog Trainer ( CPDT ), but be surely that the trainer is qualified to help you. Determine whether she or he has education and experience in treating fear with desensitization and counterconditioning, since this kind of expertness international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate required for CPDT certificate. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these experts in your area. step One : Predeparture Cues
As mentioned above, some dogs begin to feel anxious while their guardians get ready to leave. For case, a dog might start to pace, trouser and whine when he notices his defender practice makeup, putting on shoes and a coat, and then picking up a bulge or car keys. ( If your frump doesn ’ thyroxine show signs of anxiety when you ’ rhenium prepare to leave him alone, you can equitable skip to step two below. ) Guardians of dogs who become overturn during predeparture rituals are unable to leave—even for just few seconds—without triggering their dogs ’ extreme anxiety. Your andiron may see tattletale cues that you ’ re leaving ( like your putting on your coat or picking up your keys ) and get so anxious about being left alone that he can ’ t control himself and forgets that you ’ ll come second. One treatment approach to this “ predeparture anxiety ” is to teach your pawl that when you pick up your keys or put on your coat, it doesn ’ metric ton always mean that you ’ ra leaving. You can do this by exposing your frump to these cues in assorted orders respective times a day—without leaving. For example, put on your boots and coat, and then good watch television receiver alternatively of leaving. Or pick up your keys, and then sit down at the kitchen mesa for awhile. This will reduce your frank ’ s anxiety because these cues won ’ triiodothyronine constantly lead to your passing, and so your frank won ’ t have therefore anxious when he sees them. Please be aware, though, that your frank has many years of learning the meaning of your passing cues, so in order to learn that the cues no farseeing predict your long absences, your dog must experience the talk through one’s hat cues many, many times a sidereal day for many weeks. After your dog doesn ’ t become anxious when he sees you getting ready to leave, you can move on to the following step below. measure Two : Graduated Departures/Absences
If your andiron is less anxious before you leave, you can probably skip the predeparture treatment above and start with very abruptly departures. The main rule is to plan your absences to be shorter than the time it takes for your chase to become upset. To get started, train your frank to perform out-of-sight stays by an at heart door in the home, such as the toilet. You can teach your chase to sit or down and stay while you go to the other side of the toilet door. ( You can besides contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for aid. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a CPDT in your area. ) gradually increase the distance of meter you wait on the other english of the door, out of your cad ’ second sight. You can besides work on getting your chase used to predeparture cues as you commit the stay. For exemplar, ask your cad to stay. then put on your coat, pick up your purse and go into the bathroom while your pawl continues to stay .

  • Progress to doing out-of-sight stay exercises at a bedroom door, and then later at an exit door. If you always leave through the front door, do the exercises at the back door first. By the time you start working with your dog at exit doors, he shouldn’t behave anxiously because he has a history of playing the “stay game.”
  • At this point, you can start to incorporate very short absences into your training. Start with absences that last only last one to two seconds, and then slowly increase the time you’re out of your dog’s sight. When you’ve trained up to separations of five to ten seconds long, build in counterconditioning by giving your dog a stuffed food toy just before you step out the door. The food-stuffed toy also works as a safety cue that tells the dog that this is a “safe” separation.
  • During your sessions, be sure to wait a few minutes between absences. After each short separation, it’s important to make sure that your dog is completely relaxed before you leave again. If you leave again right away, while your dog is still excited about your return from the previous separation, he’ll already feel aroused when he experiences the next absence. This arousal might make him less able to tolerate the next separation, which could make the problem worse rather than better.
  • Remember to behave in a very calm and quiet manner when going out and coming in. This will lower the contrast between times when you’re there and times when you’re gone.
  • You must judge when your dog is able to tolerate an increase in the length of separation. Each dog reacts differently, so there are no standard timelines. Deciding when to increase the time that your dog is alone can be very difficult, and many pet parents make errors. They want treatment to progress quickly, so they expose their dogs to durations that are too long, which provokes anxiety and worsens the problem. To prevent this kind of mistake, watch for signs of stress in your dog. These signs might include dilated pupils, panting, yawning, salivating, trembling, pacing and exuberant greeting. If you detect stress, you should back up and shorten the length of your departures to a point where your dog can relax again. Then start again at that level and progress more slowly.
  • You will need to spend a significant amount of time building up to 40-minute absences because most of your dog’s anxious responses will occur within the first 40 minutes that he’s alone. This means that over weeks of conditioning, you’ll increase the duration of your departures by only a few seconds each session, or every couple of sessions, depending on your dog’s tolerance at each level. Once your dog can tolerate 40 minutes of separation from you, you can increase absences by larger chunks of time (5-minute increments at first, then later 15-minute increments). Once your dog can be alone for 90 minutes without getting upset or anxious, he can probably handle four to eight hours. (Just to be safe, try leaving him alone for four hours at first, and then work up to eight full hours over a few days.)
  • This treatment process can be accomplished within a few weeks if you can conduct several daily sessions on the weekends and twice-daily sessions during the work week, usually before leaving for work and in the evenings.

A necessary component of Separation Anxiety Treatment
During desensitization to any type of fear, it is essential to ensure that your pawl never experiences the full-blown interpretation of whatever provokes his anxiety or fear. He must experience only a low-intensity version that doesn ’ thyroxine frighten him. otherwise, he won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate learn to feel calm and comfortable in situations that upset him. This means that during discussion for separation anxiety, your frank can not be left alone except during your desensitization sessions. fortunately there are batch of alternative arrangements :

  • If possible, take your dog to work with you.
  • Arrange for a family member, friend or dog sitter to come to your home and stay with your dog when you’re not there. (Most dogs suffering from separation anxiety are fine as long as someone is with them. That someone doesn’t necessarily need to be you.)
  • Take your dog to a sitter’s house or to a doggy daycare.
  • Many dogs suffering from separation anxiety are okay when left in a car. You can try leaving your dog in a car—but only if the weather is moderate. Be warned: dogs can suffer from heatstroke and die if left in cars in warm weather (70 degrees Fahrenheit and up)—even for just a few minutes. DO NOT leave your dog in a car unless you’re sure that the interior of your car won’t heat up.

In summation to your calibrate absences exercises, all greetings ( hello and goodbyes ) should be conducted in a very sedate manner. When saying adieu, just give your dog a glib on the read/write head, say adieu and leave. similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your cad and then don ’ thyroxine pay any more attention to him until he ’ randomness calm and relax. The come of meter it takes for your dog to relax once you ’ ve returned home will depend on his level of anxiety and individual temperament. To decrease your frump ’ randomness exhilaration degree when you come home, it might help to distract him by asking him to perform some simple behaviors that he ’ sulfur already learned, such as baby-sit, down or shake. To Crate or Not to Crate?
Crate aim can be helpful for some dogs if they learn that the crate is their safe place to go when leave entirely. however, for early dogs, the crate can cause add stress and anxiety. In order to determine whether or not you should try using a crate, monitor your pawl ’ second demeanor during crate aim and when he ’ s entrust in the crate while you ’ ra home. If he shows signs of distress ( heavy panting, excessive salivation, frantic escape attempts, persistent howl or bark ), crate parturiency international relations and security network ’ t the best choice for him. rather of using a crate, you can try confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate. Provide Plenty of “Jobs” for Your Dog to Do
Providing lots of physical and genial stimulation is a vital part of treating many behavior problems, specially those involving anxiety. Exercising your andiron ’ south mind and soundbox can greatly enrich his life, decrease try and provide appropriate outlets for normal frump behaviors. additionally, a physically and mentally tire dog doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate have much excess energy to expend when he ’ mho left entirely. To keep your cad interfering and glad, try the follow suggestions :

  • Give your dog at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity (for example, running and swimming) every day. Try to exercise your dog right before you have to leave him by himself. This might help him relax and rest while you’re gone.
  • Play fun, interactive games with your dog, such as fetch and tug-of-war.  
  • Take your dog on daily walks and outings. Take different routes and visit new places as often as possible so that he can experience novel smells and sights.
  • If your dog likes other dogs, let him play off-leash with his canine buddies.
  • Frequently provide food puzzle toys. You can feed your dog his meals in these toys or stuff them with a little peanut butter, cheese or yogurt. Also give your dog a variety of attractive edible and inedible chew things. Puzzle toys and chew items encourage chewing and licking, which have been shown to have a calming effect on dogs. Be sure to provide them whenever you leave your dog alone.
  • Make your dog “hunt” his meals by hiding small piles of his kibble around your house or yard when you leave. Most dogs love this game!
  • Enroll in a reward-based training class to increase your dog’s mental activity and enhance the bond between you and your dog. Contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for group or private classes that can give you and your dog lots of great skills to learn and games to play together. After you and your dog have learned a few new skills, you can mentally tire your dog out by practicing them right before you leave your dog home alone. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a CPDT in your area. 
  • Get involved in dog sports, such as agility, freestyle (dancing with your dog) or flyball.

Medications Might Help
Always confer with your veterinarian or a veterinarian behaviorist before giving your frump any character of medication for a behavior problem. The habit of medications can be identical helpful, particularly for severe cases of separation anxiety. Some dogs are indeed distraught by any legal separation from their pet parents that treatment can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be implemented without the aid of medicine. Anti-anxiety medication can help a andiron allow some grade of isolation without experiencing anxiety. It can besides make treatment progress more quickly.

On rare occasions, a pawl with meek separation anxiety might benefit from drug therapy alone, without accompanying behavior alteration. The andiron becomes accustomed to being left alone with the aid of the drug and retains this new condition after he ’ s gradually weaned off the medication. however, most dogs need a combination of medication and behavior modification. If you ’ d like to explore this option, talk with your veterinarian, a veterinary behavioristic or a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who can work close with your veteran. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate one of these professionals in your area. What NOT to Do
Do not scold or punish your pawl. anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or malice. They are distress responses ! Your frump displays anxious behaviors when left alone because he ’ s overturn and trying to cope with a great hand of stress. If you punish him, he may become evening more upset and the problem could get much worse .

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