Separation anxiety

A dog gets deeply and quickly attached to humans. Therefore, it is not surprising that separation from his family causes anxiety. Problems related to separation are barking, destruction (of objects) and defecation. Dogs have a tendency to destroy objects on which the master's scent is predominant. A good idea is to take a bone or a toy, manipulate it so that your scent impregnates the object. This will appease most dogs. For some, however, this tactic will rove insufficient to quell the excessive stress experienced by a dog suffering from severe separation anxiety

What separation anxiety is: Separation anxiety regroups a set of canine behavior patterns which are unpleasant far a human. It is linked to many forms of separation from the master, such as the master’s absence, vacation periods, night time, or lack of proximity.

It is important to identify the signs of stress caused by separation anxiety. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the dog display signs of anxiety shortly before your departure? Does he bark, run around, cry and follow you everywhere?
  • When you return, does he overreact when he welcomes you?
  • Do his strong feelings make the dog urinate and stay agitated a few minutes after you have arrived?
  • When you are absent, does he destroy everything he can reach? Does he bark in the house? Do these problems occur only when you are not in the house? Does he do it behind your back when you are there but out of sight?

If you have answered 'yes' to most of the above questions, your dog suffers from separation anxiety. The dog believes that when you leave the house, you will never come back. The problem can be triggered by a change in the master's schedule, which can cause the dog to be left alone for long periods of time. Typically, a few minutes after you leave, the dog will start to wail, destroy, and defecate; in extreme cases, the dog will be at grips with diarrhea, will hyper-salivate or worse, mutilate himself.

A dog shows his anguish many different ways; for example:

  • As soon as the master leaves, wailing, moaning and barking sounds which denote anxiety can be heard.
  • The dog displays behavior involving urination and defecating.
  • The dog will begin destroying his surroundings by clawing at the doors (especially the exits), digging under the fence, or gnawing on objects.
  • The dog can become aggressive. * Sometimes, the dog will vomit or have diarrhea.

Separation anxiety is due to the dog's excessive attachment to his master which in turn is caused by constant, prolonged contact, or again a change in surroundings. The behavior is triggered when the dog is isolated from his social group after a period of social interactions, such as getting attention before the master's departure, vacation time, fluctuating schedules, holidays, maternity, unemployment, retirement, and many more. A dog predisposed to this behavior (an active defense mechanism and emotional instability) shows an exaggerated need for attention by looking for permanence in visual or physical contact with his master, following him everywhere, and attempting to sit on his master's lap. When he greets his master, he does so by jumping, barking, wailing and panting. He hates being left alone outside, and looks for opportunities to lie down near his master

This condition originates from separation or distancing from the master. Separation anxiety does not discriminate as to the age or the dog's sex. Improving this condition does not necessarily require obedience. Beforehand, whatever the nature of the separation may be, the dog must be brought to spend his excess energy, Then, leaving a bone or a Kong (with your scent on it) will give your dog an outlet to his anxiety, thus discouraging barking or destruction. Since this problem ranks among those most difficult to counter, be patient, and have confidence in the rewards which result from persistence.

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