Look, we really like our humans. We like you guys so much that we don’t enjoy being away from you for even a second. Some of us get real bummed out and pout, waiting at the door and willing it to swing open so we can see you again. Other dogs go wild when their parents leave and spend the day in anguish, causing them to act out in ways their parents don’t appreciate so much.
Have you ever come home to “accidents” in the house, chewed-up furniture, or complaints from your neighbors that your dog has been barking all day? Maybe you’ve come home to an over-excitable, but visibly stressed-out four-legged friend. If this is the case, you might be dealing with separation anxiety in dogs.
Don’t ignore signs of distress. If you aren’t sure whether or not your dog is experiencing anxiety, here are some common signs we give humans to let you know that we’re really wound up!
We Pee or Poop Where We Aren’t Supposed To:
If your four-legged friend is well potty trained, yet still relieves himself in the house when you’re not home, there is a good chance he’s stressed out. Urinating or defecating in the house is a sign of separation anxiety in dogs. We don’t like to pee in the house (we really do prefer real grass!), but sometimes we just get so stressed that there is no other option. Trust me, we don’t like to pee or poop in the house, but it happens.
We Bark So That You Can Hear Us:
This sign of separation anxiety in dogs is one I’m very familiar with. Sometimes at work, my parents will run an errand and leave me with my other co-workers. Now, I work with a great group of people, but I still get so bummed out to see my parents go. So I watch the door and whine. It usually starts off pretty quietly, but sometimes I’ll sing an emphatic song requesting my parents’ return. The good news is generally that my co-workers are fun and they’ll throw the ball around to distract me. This usually helps relax me and forget about the fact that my parents are gone. For a little while, anyway.
The Path of Destruction:
Some dogs really freak out when their owners leave. They destroy anything that comes in their path, those blinds or curtains blowing in the breeze are going to get torn down or chewed up. Doorframes will be scratched, pillows bitten and broken. It isn’t just your belongings that get ruined, your dog could be seriously injured in his destruction phase. If your dog is generally well-behaved when you are around, these behaviors when you’re gone are definite signs of separation anxiety.
Your Dog, the Escape Artist:
Separation anxiety in dogs can also exhibit when your pooch is crated or confined to a certain area; he may even try to escape his confines. Because your dog might try biting or scratching his way out, there is a serious chance for tooth, paw, and nail injuries. If you ever crate your dog while at home and this behavior doesn’t happen, but it does happen when you’re away, there is a good chance your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety isn’t something to ignore. Regular training with your young puppy will assure them that you’ll return, and calm any fears they may have when you leave. If your adult dog begins to experience any separation anxiety symptoms, immediately take steps to reassure him and desensitize him to your leaving. When dealing with mild separation anxiety in dogs, consider giving them a treat or toy that will really capture their attention and distract them from your departure. When handling more severe separation anxiety in dogs, consider working with a professional for training and behavior modification to keep your dog, and your belongings, safe!
What have you done to calm your dog for transitions and times you’ll be away? Share your tips in the comments section below!
Side note: Do you run a business in the pet industry? Would you like to drive more traffic and sales to your site through a search-optimized pet blog? Get in touch with my office-mates at Lantern Content Marketing!