If your dog seems to worry when you're heading out, destroys stuff when you leave the house, follows you from room to room when you're home, goes berserk when you come back and seems to be eyeing you suspiciously even before you leave—you may be dealing with a case of separation anxiety.
Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problems when they're left alone. Some of the most common ways are:
What causes separation anxietyIt's not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others don't. But remember, your dog's behaviors are part of a panic response. Your dog isn't trying to punish you! They just want you to come home!
These are some of the scenarios that can trigger separation anxiety:
How to treat minor separation anxiety
How to handle a more severe problem. Use the techniques outlined above along with desensitization training. Teach your dog the sit-stay and down-stay commands using positive reinforcement. This training will help them learn that they can remain calmly and happily in one place while you go to another room.
Create a "safe place" to limit your dog's ability to be destructive while you’re away. A safe place should:
How to cope while your dog learns to be calm. It can take time for your dog to unlearn their panic response to your departures. To help you and your dog cope in the short term, consider the following interim solutions:
If you need more assistance resolving your dog's issues, consult a professional animal behavior specialist.