Is it Just Loneliness or is My Dog Suffering from Separation Anxiety

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Is it Just Loneliness or is My Dog Suffering from Separation Anxiety

by Kristi Patrice Carter

As any animal lover knows, dogs are social, loving creatures that form strong bonds with the members of their pack, regardless of whether those members are human or canine. Unfortunately, some of these bonds become a little too strong and the dog becomes distressed when left alone for any period of time. Since there are other reasons for a dog to exhibit behavior similar to that of separation anxiety it?s important to correctly diagnose the problem before deciding how to treat it. Here are the answers to some questions frequently asked regarding dog separation anxiety.

Why might a dog suffer from separation anxiety?

If a dog forms too strong of an attachment to any one person, he may experience separation anxiety. If the dog is allowed to follow his owner constantly, even in the car, he may experience distress when the owner has to leave without him. Dogs may also suffer from the condition after being separated from their mother and littermates.

What are the common signs that a dog has separation anxiety?

?Forgetting? that they are housebroken: Dogs that are suffering from separation anxiety will often urinate or defecate in the house within 30 minutes of the owner?s departure. And in extreme cases, a dog may even vomit or have diarrhea due to the high level of stress they are experiencing.

Destructive behavior: In addition to relieving themselves, dogs with separation anxiety will also usually destroy something that has their owner?s scent such as shoes or furniture. Barking, howling and digging are also common responses to stress, and some dogs may even become aggressive or exhibit hyperactive behavior as a response to their anxiety.

It?s critical to remember that your dog is not doing any of these things as a way of ?getting even? with you for leaving him. These are merely responses to his stress and tension and the dog should never be punished for displaying signs of separation anxiety. Punishing him is cruel and will confuse your pet, making matters worse.

How can I be sure my dog isn?t just lonely or if it really is separation anxiety? Does the behavior occur when the dog is left alone regardless of the amount of time? Does he or she constantly follow you from room to room? Does he display exuberant, frantic behavior upon your return? Does your dog react with depressed or anxious behavior when noticing you are preparing to leave? If you?ve answered yes to most of these questions, it?s likely your dog has separation anxiety rather than a simple case of loneliness.

How can I treat my dog?s separation anxiety? While there are several methods that have been shown to be successful when treating a dog?s separation anxiety, the most important ingredient that should always be used is patience. As with correcting any type of undesirable behavior, it?s going to take time to undo whatever it was that caused the problem to manifest in the first place.

Here are some methods that are commonly used to treat dog separation anxiety:

- Obedience training
- Ignoring the dog when leaving, low-key returns
- Mixed cues such as leaving through a different door
- Practicing ?false? departures, gradually increasing the time of absences
- Medication in severe cases, although drugs won?t cure the problem, they may decrease the anxiety enough for retraining

Is your dog traumatized when you leave him alone? Don?t get mad or frustrated. He may be suffering from dog separation anxiety. Learn proven and humane tips to help him overcome dog separation anxiety once and for all! Visit today!

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